Gottfried Otting received his Diploma of Chemistry from the University of Freiburg and completed his PhD at ETH-Zürich. He has since held positions at ETH-Zürich (1987-1992) and became Professor at the Karolinska Institute (1992-2002) before his appointment as a Professor and Federation Fellow (2002-2007) at the Research School of Chemistry.
He was awarded the Latsis prize of the ETH-Zürich (1992), the FEBS Anniversary Prize (1993), the Wallmarkska Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1996), the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (2010), and he is a foreign member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (2006).
Development of NMR methods for drug development. In particular, site-specifically attached paramagnetic tags (using unnatural amino acids) are employed to identify the binding site, binding orientation and structure of low-molecular weight compounds on protein targets in solution. Currently, this strategy is being established as a tool for fragment-based drug design.
The same tags are deployed to monitor proteins ‘in action’, i.e. as they change their structure during their functional cycle, and to determine the interactions between different proteins.
As a spin-off, pairs of the paramagnetic tags are used to measure accurate distances in proteins by EPR spectroscopy in collaboration with Prof. Daniella Goldfarb (Israel).