langowskiJörg Langowski

Jörg Langowski, former Staff Scientist and Group Leader at EMBL Grenoble, passed away on 6 May 2017 in Heidelberg aged 61.

We are mourning the loss of Jörg Langowski who died 6 May 2017, aged 61, in a glider accident close to Heidelberg, Germany. Jörg was an internationally recognised biophysicist at the DKFZ in Heidelberg, who worked on the three-dimensional structure of DNA and chromatin and their spatial organisation within the nucleus. However he started his independent career at EMBL Grenoble.

Jörg studied biochemistry at the University of Hannover and during his PhD thesis and postdoctoral training in Seattle worked on protein-DNA interactions mainly using biochemical approaches. Over the years, Jörg became increasingly interested in using biophysical and modeling approaches to study DNA and chromatin conformational dynamics. These interests also attracted him to EMBL Grenoble in 1986, where, first as staff scientist and then from 1991-1994 as group leader, he investigated the conformational dynamics of DNA using photon correlation spectroscopy and small angle neutron scattering. He continued this line of research when he became a Professor at the University of Heidelberg and Head of the Division, Biophysics of Macromolecules at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

Jörg was an active member of the biophysical life science research community. He maintained a large network of local, national and international scientific collaborators and friends with whom he communicated in German, French, English and Hungarian, but also regularly invited them from all over the world to his private home in Heidelberg. Jörg was a fervent supporter of EMBL and of the ”EMBL spirit” and he kept close contacts with EMBL by serving on various thesis advisory committees, collaborating (and publishing) together with EMBL scientists and generously providing access to his biophysical equipment. Jörg also regularly attended the EMBL Science & Society seminars, and he was a very active member of the EMBL Alumni Association.

The Heidelberg research community and EMBL are deeply saddened by the loss of a passionate and brilliant scientist, an open, always honest and sometimes outspoken colleague, and a warm-hearted, supporting and inspiring friend. Jörg leaves his wife Kati and his two daughters, Judith and Eva, behind. We will always remember Jörg as he is presently shown on the photograph on the top banner of the alumni webpages: Flying in his beloved glider with a broad smile far above the French Alpes.

by Christoph Mueller