Karolin Luger is the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Endowed Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. She is a structural biologist who is recognized for her work on the nucleosomes and on the factors that maintain chromosome integrity. The lab also studies chromatin organization in domains of life that predate modern eukaryotes, providing insight into what enabled the massive genome expansion that accompanied the emergence of eukaryotic organisms. The team also investigates the human DNA damage recognition protein PARP1 with the goal of developing novel PARP inhibitors for cancer therapy.
Karolin has a strong track record in training the next generation of scientists, both in the classroom and in the lab. She is an active contributor to the scientific community at large, through collaborative research as well as through evaluation of manuscripts, grants and academic programs all over the world. She also paved the way for the acquisition of a state-of-the art cryo electron microscope for the CU Boulder campus, the only such instrument in Colorado and surrounding states, allowing the visualization of macromolecules at exquisite detail and empowering structural biologists in the region at large.
Luger was born in Austria and obtained a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Innsbruck. She earned her Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Biocenter Basel, then moved to a postdoc at the ETH Zuerich in 1990. She started her independent career at Colorado State University in 1999, and in 2015 moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder where she is now a Distinguished Professor. She is a fellow of the Biophysical Society, a member of the National Academy of Science; of the American Academy of Arts and Science; and of EMBO. She loves all outdoor activities, in particular hiking and biking.