Michael Przybylski (1948 – 2023), In Memoriam

Michael Przybylski (1948 – 2023)

Michael Przybylski studied Chemistry and received his PhD degree from the University of Mainz, Germany. After his Post Doc stay as fellow at the Bioorganic Chemistry Institute in Mainz he spent two years as Guest Scientist at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, USA. In 1989 he took the Chair for Analytical Chemistry at the University of Konstanz, where he served as Director of the Analytical Chemistry and Biopolymer Structure Analysis laboratory. From his highly productive Konstanz lab over hundred PhDs and Masters in Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry as well as more than a dozen nationally and internationally active University Professors have emerged. While active in teaching and researching, Michael Przybylski founded the Steinbeis Centre for Biopolymer Analytics and Biomedical Mass Spectrometry in 2008, which resided in Konstanz for eight years. As Emeritus he moved the Steinbeis Centre to Rüsselsheim, Germany, in 2016. Michael Przybylski was the Director of the by him founded research center until today.

Since 2016 Michael initiated and conducted an extremely fruitful collaboration with the School of Engineering of the University of Applied Sciences RheinMain in Rüsselsheim. Prof. Przybylski led two international mass spectrometry workshops and a successful summer school at the School of Engineering. In addition, he was assigned as Senior Lecturer and taught students of the Master Curriculum „Medicinal Technology“ of the University of Applied Sciences RheinMain, Rüsselsheim.

Through Michael Przybylski´s unparalleled engagement and his outstanding application-oriented biochemistry expertise he significantly broadened the education of future Engineers guiding them towards medical applications as well as to Life Sciences in general. In fact, only by including the Steinbeis Centre it became possible for the University of Applied Sciences to offer internships and scientific projects in the biomedical field to the Engineering students who developed an interest beyond traditional Engineering. Michael Przybylski opened academic training towards biomedical analytics which was immediately valued by many of the students who more and more were attracted from all around in the world.

Michael Przybylski´s research was from the beginning interdisciplinary-oriented and in many ways groundbreaking. Consequently, novel mass spectrometric methods which are worldwide applied evolved from his lab. He, together with a research consortium of his choice, invented the „ProteolysisExcision-Mass Spectrometry“ for investigating protein-ligand interactions and peptide/protein epitopes. He elucidated structures of several membrane proteins, such as the lung surfactant protein C. His laboratory applied novel biopolymer mass spectrometry methods in combination with protein and peptide chemical procedures, conducted tertiary structure characterizations by protein chemical modification reactions coupled with mass spectrometry, and performed mass spectrometric characterizations of biopolymer recognition structures. Michael Przybylski´s latest research focused on one side on the development of biosensor and mass spectrometry technologies for the elucidation of antibody epitopes and on the other side on the determination of pathophysiological modifications of lysosomal proteins by mass spectrometry.

Michael Przybylski published over 400 scientific papers in internationally renowned journals and held about 25 patents. He gave around 150 invited lectures. He received the St. Denis prize for cancer research, he held several international Guest Professorships, he was awarded the Life-Science prize of the German Society for Mass Spectrometry, and he was granted the “PhD of honor” from the Al.I. Couza University, Iasi, Romania. Michael Przybylski was Guest Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Adjunct Professor for Analytical Chemistry at the Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, and Adjunct Professor for Biochemistry at the Victoria University, Canada. He was member of scientific boards at several international conferences, Publisher and member of the Editorial Board of several international scientific journals and President of the German Society for Mass Spectrometry from 2000 to 2003.

Michael Przybylski passed away on February 27, 2023, shortly before celebrating his 75th birthday. He unexpectedly departed from this life and with him we lost a reputable and esteemed personality, a scientist who was gifted with the ability to bring people together, and a dear friend.

Contributed by Michael O. Glocker