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Josef Penninger

Director of Life Sciences Institute, The University of British Columbia

Josef Penninger, MD was formerly a lead researcher at the Amgen Research Institute in Toronto. Since 2002 Josef Penninger was the founding and scientific director of the newly established Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Austria. In 2018 he accepted the appointment as Director of the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada.

As a trained immunologist, Dr. Penninger’s research has had a huge impact in many disease areas, and in some cases opened entirely new fields of research. With particular relevance to the current pandemic, Dr. Penninger, has played a singular role at essentially all stages of Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) research, from its discovery to a rapid fundamental understanding of COVID-19 pathology and, translation of an ACE2 based drug to a highly promising, rational treatment for COVID-19.

Josef Penninger’s major awards include the Descartes Prize, the Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Federal Government, the Ernst Jung Prize for medical excellence, an AAAS Award, the Innovator Award from Era of Hope/U.S. Department of Defense and a second ERC Advanced grant.