Hillen, Hauke, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Protein Biochemistry

  • 2007 – 2013: Studies of biochemistry at the University of Tübingen, Research student at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) (Lab of Jennifer Doudna, PhD)
  • 2013: Diploma in Biochemistry at the University of Tuebingen
  • 2013 – 2017: Graduate studies in biochemistry at the Gene Center of the University of Munich (LMU)
  • 2017: PhD in biochemistry at the University of Munich (LMU)
  • 2018 – 2020: Project leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen
  • Since 2020: Professor of protein biochemistry at the University Medical Center Göttingen (W1 tenure track W2) and Independent Research Group Leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen

Major Research Interests

Our research is aimed at understanding the structure and function of molecular machineries in eukaryotic cells and organelles. For this, we combine structural biology methods such as single-particle cryo-electron microscopy, X-Ray crystallography and cryo-electron tomography with biochemical and biophysical approaches to unravel the mechanistic basis of cellular processes.
A particular focus of our research lies on mitochondria. These subcellular organelles maintain their own genome, which encodes for essential subunits of the respiratory. The mitochondrial genome is expressed by evolutionarily unique dedicated machineries, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Our goal is to obtain a molecular understanding of how the human mitochondrial genome is expressed, how this process is regulated and coordinated, and how it is embedded in a cellular context. To achieve this, we use in vitro (single-particle cryo-EM, X-Ray crystallography) and in situ (cryo-electron tomography) structural biology as well as biochemical methods to dissect molecular processes from the atomic to the organellar scale. In the long term, this will provide important molecular insights into mitochondrial function in human health and disease.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Bonekamp NA, Peter B, Hillen HS, Felser A, Bergbrede T, Choidas A, Horn M, Unger A,di Lucrezia R, Atanassov I, Li X, Koch U, Menninger S, Boros J, Habenberger P, Giavalisco P, Cramer P, Denzel M, Nussbaumer P, Klebl B, Falkenberg M, Gustafson CM and Larsson NG (2020) Highly Specific Small Molecule Inhibitors of Human mtDNA Transcription. Nature 588, 712-716

  • Hillen HS*, Kokic G*, Farnung L*, Dienemann C*, Tegunov D*, Cramer P (2020) Structure of replicating SARS-CoV-2 polymerase. Nature 584, 154-156

  • Hillen HS*, Bartuli J *, Grimm C, Dienemann C, Bedenk K, Szalay A, Fischer U, Cramer P (2019) Structural Basis of Poxvirus Transcription: Transcribing and Capping Vaccinia Complexes Cell 179(7), 1525 - 1536.e12.

  • Hillen HS#, Temiakov D, and Cramer P# (2018) Structural basis of mitochondrial transcription. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 25, 754–765.

  • Hillen HS, Parshin AV, Agaronyan K, Morozov YI, Graber JJ, Chernev A, Schwinghammer K, Urlaub H, Anikin M, Cramer P and Temiakov D (2017) Mechanism of Transcription Anti-termination in Human Mitochondria. Cell 171, 1082–1093.

  • Hillen HS, Morozov YI, Sarfallah A, Temiakov D and Cramer P (2017) Structural Basis of Mitochondrial Transcription Initiation. Cell 171, 1072–1081.