Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS)/ Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)

Managing Director, Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS)
Head of Deptartment, Microbial Natural Products (MINS)
Full Professor, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Saarland University (UdS)

Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS)
Microbial Natural Products (MINS)
Saarland University, Campus Building E8.1
66123 Saarbrücken

+49 681 98806 3000



Background and expertise of the representative

Rolf Müller is involved in several national and international research networks and collaborations with the primary aim to identify novel bioactive natural products, to analyze their structures and to develop their biological and physico-chemical properties towards novel (pre)clinical lead candidates. In particular, within the panel “Infection research” of the German Helmholtz Association, Rolf Müller is the Speaker of the Topic “Anti-infectives”, which includes about 15 research groups at HZI/HIPS and associated universities and focusses on discovery of novel bioactive compounds either by natural products research or target-based rational drug design. Furthermore, Rolf Müller is the coordinator of the Thematic Translational Unit “Novel Antibiotics” within the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF). This unit includes research groups from HIPS/HZI as well as from several further partner sites and focusses on the identification of novel antimicrobial hit compounds and their development into new lead candidates that are tested in (pre)clinical studies. A primary focus of the department Microbial Natural Products (MINS), which is supervised by Rolf Müller at HIPS, is the expansion of the known biodiversity of myxobacteria by worldwide sampling and genome sequencing of isolated strains from novel species, genera and families. Myxobacteria are a yet underexplored and phylogenetically diverse group of microorganisms with high potential in harboring biosynthetic genes for the production of novel, uncharacterized secondary metabolites. The group also studies the potential of biosynthetic engineering of natural compounds and their target interactions (mode of action). Rolf Müller has a track record of about 400 publications in the field of natural products research with a current h-index (scientific research impact) of 56.

Organisation profile

The Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), which was founded in 2009 by the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and Saarland University (UdS), is the first public research institute in Germany that is explicitly devoted to the pharmaceutical sciences within a vibrant interdisciplinary research environment close to the border of France. It is part of the Helmholtz Association and a branch of the HZI, which examines the mechanisms of infection diseases and their defenses. The HIPS currently hosts four main research groups dealing with Microbial Natural Products, Drug Design & Optimization, Drug Delivery and Drug Bioinformatics. Further, several Junior Research Groups are associated with HIPS, and the institute currently employs more than 140 people. Within the “Health” Program of the German Helmholtz Association, and more specifically the sector of “Infection Research” of HZI, research at HIPS focuses primarily on the development of novel anti-infectives and further bioactive compounds. In several multi-collaborative projects, HIPS scientists identify and characterize new drug candidates and ways for their application in the clinic. Based on its scientific foci the HIPS is a key player in the field of “Health Research”, steadily expanding its mission to re-fill the antibiotic drug pipeline. This is also fostered by closely collaborating with national health networks like the DZIF, European and global health foundations like IMI/ENABLE or GARDP, and in partnership with pharmaceutical industry like Evotec and several SMEs.

Contribution to the network

Rolf Müller will be responsible for the coordination of IRAADD. He will guide all main activities of the network and its partners and will be responsible for the final realization of its strategies and aims. Furthermore, he will provide scientific experience according to his longstanding professional career in natural products research. He is founder of the HIPS myxobacterial strain collection and coordinator of the HIPS/HZI/DZIF Natural Compound Library, which currently includes more than 3,000 bioactive culture extracts and about 1,000 purified bioactive compounds. Rolf Müller will contribute to the building of a cooperative research platform, which shall become a central aspect of the IRAADD network.