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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle

Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Internal Senior Fellow
October 2016 - July 2017


Oliver Einsle (b. 1970) studied Biology in Konstanz, Germany, and then moved to the Max- Planck-Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, to work with Robert Huber and Peter Kroneck on cytochrome c nitrite reductase. In 2001 he joined the laboratory of Douglas Rees at Caltech, USA, to study nitrogenase, and in 2003 he was appointed junior professor for protein crystallography in Göttingen, Germany. Since 2008 he is full professor of Biochemistry in Freiburg, Germany, and director of the Institute of Biochemistry in the faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy. His group has made seminal contributions to the structural and functional characterization of various metalloproteins, including nitrogenase and nitrous oxide reductase, but also multiheme cytochromes c. A second line of research is centered on the study of integral membrane proteins, in particular bacterial transporters and channels.

Selected Publications

  • Hermann, B., Kern, M., La Pietra, L., Simon, J. & Einsle, O. (2015) The octahaem MccA is a haem c–copper sulfite reductase. Nature, 520, 706-709.
  • Spatzal, T., Aksoyoglu, M., Zhang, L., Andrade, S.L.A., Schleicher, E., Weber, S., Rees, D.C. & Einsle, O. (2011) Evidence for Interstitial Carbon in Nitrogenase FeMo Cofactor.  Science334, 940.

  • Du, J., Say, R.F., Lü, W., Fuchs, G. & Einsle, O. (2011) Active site remodeling in the bifunctional fructose-6-bisphosphate aldolase/phosphatase. Nature, 478, 534-537.

  • Pomowski, A., Zumft, W.G., Kroneck, P.M.H. & Einsle, O. (2011) N2O binding at a [4Cu:2S] copper-sulphur cluster in nitrous oxide reductase. Nature, 477, 234-237.

  • Lü, W., Du, J., Wacker, T., Gerbig-Smentek, E., Andrade, S.L.A. & Einsle, O. (2011) pH-dependent gating in a FocA formate channel.  Science332, 352-354.

FRIAS Project

Chemical Epigenetics

Epigenetics is one of the major topics of modern biomedical research and is already a major focus in the Freiburg research landscape with international visibility. We will establish a Research Focus on Chemical Epigenetics that deals with epigenetic mechanisms on a molecular level using our combined expertise in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry, structural biochemistry and bioinformatics to address this topic in a highly synergistic manner. The main scientific focus of our project will be acetyl and methyl lysine binding proteins, so called histone code readers. Structural analyses provide the basis for identification and optimization of new chemical ligands for these proteins in a rational, bioguided fashion. This will lead to new chemical tools that will allow dissecting cellular pathways involving these proteins as well as the analysis of their suitability as targets in drug discovery. The structural aim of this project is the preparation of a proposal for a structured PhD programme in Chemical Epigenetics with a strong international education perspective.