Let’s meet Prof. Ruth Birner-Grünberger


IN SPRING 2019, THE FEMALE professorship position at the Faculty of Technical Chemistry at TU Wien was awarded to Prof. Ruth Birner-Grünberger. On behalf of FemChem, we would like to extend a warm welcome to her. In the following, we would like to shortly introduce her to you:

Ruth Birner-Grünberger studied Technical Chemistry in Graz. For her Master thesis, she went as far as to the RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute on Technology) in Australia to work on bacterial membrane lipids and proteins. She then returned to TU Graz for her PhD (supervised by Günter Daum), focusing on yeast mitochondrial lipids. Afterwards, she stayed at TU Graz as a Postdoc in the group of Albin Hermetter in a large consortium project called GOLD (genomics of lipid-associated disorders) led by Rudi Zechner.

It was during that time that Ruth Birner-Grünberger obtained her first own grants and developed activity-based proteomics of lipases. After her habilitation in biochemistry in 2007, she started her own group at the Medical University of Graz, where she set up and led a core facility for proteomics. In 2011, she was appointed Associate Professor at the Institute of Pathology at Meduni Graz. Since 2013, she has been head of the Omics Center Graz. In July 2019, Ruth Birner-Grünberger was appointed Full Professor at the Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics of TU Wien.


Ruth Birner-Grünberger has been a guest professor at institutions around the globe, namely ETH Zurich (2016), UC-Berkeley (2017) and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (2018). She further has had many functions in different research societies: as president of the Austrian Proteomics and Metabolomics Association (2015-2019, now vice president), as member of the General Council of the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) (since 2017) and as a board member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Fettwissenschaft (since 2019).

In her private life, Ruth Birner-Grünberger likes to go skiing (off-piste) and sailing (skipper), to play the guitar and to enjoy Fantasy and Science Fiction books and films. She is married to her student love, Martin, a technical chemist as well, and they are living together with Strizzi, a tomcat that has invaded their home.