Tobias Aurelius Knoch
Born in the Rhein-Neckar region Mannheim/Heidelberg, Germany, Dr. Knoch studied Physics, Mathematics, and Biology at the University of Heidelberg. In 1998, he graduated in (bio-)physics with “Three-Dimensional Organization of Chromosomes domains in Simulation and Experiment”, followed by his dissertation “Approaching the Three-Dimensional Organization of the Human Genome“ both at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, in 2002. In 2002/2004 Dr. Knoch founded his group Biophysical Genomics located at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, University of Heidelberg, and until today at the Cell Biology Department, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. His work is focusing on the determination and understanding of genome organization from the DNA sequence level to the entire nuclear morphology. Therefore, approaches from theoretical physics have been combined with molecular biology in highly interdisciplinary projects ranging from advanced DNA sequence analyses, parallel high-performance computer modelling of genomic architectures, and new image analysis methods, to advanced fluorescence in situ hybridization and high-resolution chromatin conformation interaction genome mapping. Major achievements have been: an artefact-free in vivo labelling method of nuclear chromatin, the first system-biological genome browser (GLOBE 3D Genome Browser), the set-up of one of the largest desktop computing grids, and last but not least the final determination of the general structural organization of higher mammalian genomes leading to a consistent systems genomics view of genomes from genotype to phenotype. All this has resulted in patents, publications, the foundation/coordination of international interdisciplinary cooperative networks, and consortia. He also (co-)founded many initiatives improving institutional/university study and management performance including the science outreach to the public and industry. Besides, he also conducts environmental and human ecology research, has achieved law-changing contributions in the human-rights sector, is an increasingly recognized artist in the fine arts, and last but not least has founded and is running two companies in the renewable energy production and development sector. His achievements have resulted in prestigious scholarships, awards, and prices as early as 1983.