History of Institute of Biochemistry 

The Institute of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry was born out of the division of the Institute of Biochemical Technology, Food Chemistry and Micro­chem­istry of the former School of Technology Graz. Together with all the other chemistry institutes, it was located in the old Chemistry Building on Baron Mandell's ground at the corner Technikerstraße-Mandellstraße.

1929    The Institute of Technical Biochemistry and Microbiology moved to the building of the Fürstlich-Dietrichstein-Stiftung, Schlögelgasse 9, in which all the biosciences were then concentrated.

1945        Georg GORBACH - initially in the rank of a docent and soon thereafter as a.o. Professor - took over to lead the institute. The institute was renamed Institute of Biochemical Technology and Food Chemistry.

1948        G. GORBACH was nominated full professor and head of the institute. In succession of the famous Graz School of Microchemistry founded by PREGL and EMICH, Prof. GORBACH was one of the most prominent and active leaders in the fields of microchemistry, microbiology and nutritional sciences. After World War II, questions of water quality and wastewater disposal became urgent; hence, the group of Prof. K. STUNDL, which at that time was part of the institute, was gaining import­ance. In addition, a division to fight dry-rot supervised by Dr. KUNZE and after his demise by H. SALOMON, was also affiliated with the institute.

1955    In honor of the founder of microchemistry and former professor at Graz University of Technology, the extended laboratory was called EMICH-Laboratories. At the same time, the institute was renamed Institute of Biochemical Technology, Food Chemistry and Microchemistry.

1970    After the decease of Prof. GORBACH, Prof. GRUBITSCH was appointed head of the institute. Towards the end of the sixties, the division for water and wastewater disposal headed by Prof. STUNDL was drawn out of the institute and established as an independent institute. Prof. SPITZY was nominated professor of general chemistry, micro- and radiochemistry.

1973      vision of the Institute for Biochemical Technology, Food Technology and Microchemistry took place. At first, biochemical technology together with food technology formed a new institute now called Institute of Biotechnology and Food Chemistry headed by Prof. LAFFERTY.

1973    Dr. F. PALTAUF from the Karl-Franzens-University Graz was appointed professor and head of the newly established Institute of Biochemistry. The interest of Prof. PALTAUF to study biological membranes and lipids laid the foundation for the future direction of research. G. DAUM, S. D. KOHLWEIN, and A. HERMETTER joined the institute and were given the opportunity to carry out postdoctoral research in renown laboratories in Switzerland and the USA: G. DAUM with the groups of G. Schatz (Basel, Switzerland) and R. Schekman (Berkeley, USA), A. HERMETTER with J. R. Lakowicz (Baltimore, USA) and S. D. KOHLWEIN with S. A. Henry (New York, USA). Independent research groups in cell biology (G. D.), biophysics (A. H.) and molecular biology (S. D. K.) were established, with the group of Prof. F. PALTAUF still focusing on the chemistry and biochemistry of lipids.

1990    The institute moved to a new building at Petersgasse 12. The move was accompanied by the expansion of individual research groups and the acquisition of new equipment essential for the participation in novel collaborative efforts at the national and international level. Thus, the Institute of Biochemistry, together with partner institutes from the Karl-Franzens-University was the driving force to establish Graz as a center of competence in lipid research.

2001    After Prof. PALTAUF’s retirement, in September 2001, G. DAUM was elected head of the institute. S. D. KOHLWEIN was appointed full professor of biochemistry at the Karl-Franzens University Graz.

2003    P. MACHEROUX was appointed full professor of biochemistry in September 2003 and head of the Institute of Biochemistry in January 2004. His research interests revolve around topics in protein biochemistry and enzymology.

2007    K. ATHENSTAEDT, a long-time associate of Prof. DAUM, received the venia legendi for biochemistry. Karin is the first woman to complete the traditional habilitation at the Institute of Biochemistry!

2009    The Institute of Food Chemistry and Technology was disbanded and the research group of Prof. M. MURKOVIC joined the Institute of Biochemistry.

2013    As a result of inter-faculty reorganization, the research group of Prof. J. BOGNER-STRAUSS (formerly at the Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics) joined the Institute of Biochemistry. Her main interests revolve around the development and metabolism of adipocytes.

2014    A. WINKLER, who was one of the first students to receive his PhD in the DK “Molecular Enzymology” in 2009, returned to the institute after conducting postdoctoral research with Prof. Schlichting at the Max-Planck-Institute of Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany for five years.

2015    After more than 40 years of service for the Institute of Biochemistry Prof. HERMETTER retired on September 30. Albin started as a graduate student in Prof. PALTAUF’s group and moved through the ranks to become an associate professor at the institute. As an active member of the institute he published more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and graduated 25 PhD students.

2016    A. WINKLER was appointed assistant professor at the institute to establish an independent research group on photoreceptor science.

2017    G. DAUM, who had been at the institute for almost 45 years, retired at the end of the academic year. Günther was one of the leading scientists in the field of yeast lipid research in Graz enjoying worldwide recognition for his seminal achievements. Günther was also a very enthusiastic academic teacher supervising significant number of PhD students and acting as director of the Doctoral School for Biosciences.

2017    J. BOGNER-STRAUSS left the institute to start a political career first at the federal government ant then at the Styrian state government as Councilor for Research, Society, Health and Care.

2019    G. OBERDORFER, who received an ERC Starting grant in 2018, was appointed assistant professor at the Institute of Biochemistry to establish an independent research group in the field of protein design and engineering further strengthening the focus of the institute on protein biochemistry. 

2021    A. WINKLER receivd his venia legendi in Structural Biochemistry and was appointed associate professor at the institute.


Institute of Biochemistry             Petersgasse 12/2, 8010 Graz                

Phone: (+43) (0)316 873 6451              E-Mail: office.ibcnoSpam@tugraz.at