Werner Kühlbrandt studied chemistry and crystallography at the Free University Berlin, and biochemistry and biophysics at King’s College London. He did his PhD with Nigel Unwin at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, investigating the structure of two-dimensional ribosome crystals by electron microscopy. As a postdoc, he turned to membrane proteins, first at the ETH Zürich, and then at Imperial College London. As a research group leader at EMBL Heidelberg he solved the high-resolution structure of the plant light-harvesting complex LHC-II, by cryoEM. Since 1997 he has been a director at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany, where his department of Structural Biology investigates large membrane protein complexes by single-particle cryoEM, electron cryo-tomography and x-ray crystallography.