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Klaus Brettel studied physics and biophysics at the universities of Stuttgart and Gießen (Germany) and obtained his PhD in 1985 for spectroscopic work on primary reactions in photosynthesis with Prof. H. T. Witt at the Max-Volmer-Institute of the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB). After a postdoctoral stay in the bioenergetics lab at CEA Saclay (France), he habilitated in physical chemistry at the TUB in 1990. He accepted a permanent researcher position at CEA Saclay in 1991. 15 years ago, he shifted his center of interest from photosynthesis to DNA photolyases and cryptochrome blue light receptors.