After studying chemistry and earning his PhD at the University of Frankfurt, Professor Wess (b. 1955) joined Hoechst AG in 1982 as a research group leader within the central pharmaceutical research area. After working as a post doctoral researcher at Harvard University, Boston, and several global research responsibilities within the company, he became head of R&D for Hoechst Marion Roussel and Aventis Germany. In 1999 he acquired his postdoctoral teaching qualification (habilitation) in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Mainz. In 2000 he was awarded an honorary professorship at the University of Frankfurt to teach R&D management. Since 2005 Professor Wess has been President & CEO of Helmholtz Zentrum München – the German Research Center for Environmental Health. Professor Wess is a member of acatech (National Academy of Science and Engineering) and their topic network speaker for “biotechnology and bioeconomy”. As of January 2013 he has served as Vice President of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and Coordinator of the Helmholtz Research Field Health.
- Vice president of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and coordinator of the Helmholtz Research Field Health (since 2013)
- President & CEO of Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (since 2005)
- Head of R&D for Europe at Aventis (2003-2005)
- Head of R&D for Germany, member of the executive board of Hoechst Marion Roussel and Aventis Germany (1998-2002)
- Laboratory leader, head of Central Pharmaceutical Research, global leader of Medical Chemistry and Chemical Development at Hoechst AG (1982-1997)