Unravelling the interconnections of cellular regulation
Johann Rohwer was born in Greytown on 25 May 1968 and grew up in the German settlement Hermannsburg in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. He received all his schooling at the Deutsche Schule Hermannsburg. After matriculating in 1985, a post-matric year (the German ‘Abitur’) at the Deutsche H¨ohere Privatschule inWindhoek followed. From 1987 to 1989 he studied for a BSc degree at Stellenbosch University, majoring in biochemistry, chemistry and mathematics. This was followed by a BScHons and an MSc in biochemistry (all cum laude), the latter under the supervision of Prof Jannie Hofmeyr, studying the regulation of serine biosynthesis in Escherichia coli. For his doctoral studies, Johann went to the Netherlands and investigated the regulation of bacterial sugar transport under the supervision of Prof HansWesterho and Dr Pieter Postma at the University of Amsterdam, graduating in April 1997. Upon his return to South Africa in 1997, Johann took up a position as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University and has been with the department ever since. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002 and to Full Professor in 2011. Under his supervision and co-supervision fourteen MSc students and seven PhD students obtained their degrees, and he has co-authored 45 peer-reviewed articles in international journals. Prof Rohwer was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals in overseas laboratories. During 2001, he visited Prof Philip Kuchel at the University of Sydney and learnt about applying the technique of NMR spectroscopy to study living cells in a non-invasive way. During 2008, he spent a year in Germany with his family as a research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, collaborating with Prof Mark Stitt at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology on the modelling of central metabolism in plants. Johann’s research interests are computational and experimental systems biology, focusing on the analysis of the central metabolism of microbes and plants. He has received numerous awards, among others the Stellenbosch University Chancellor’s Medal (1993), the President’sAward fromthe South African National Research Foundation (2001), the Silver Medal of the South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2003), and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellent Research from Stellenbosch University (2010). He serves on the international STRENDA Commission and on the editorial boards of BMC Systems Biology and Frontiers in Plant Systems Biology. Johann is married to Christa and they have three children–Nicola (9), Saskia (7) and Martin (19 months).