Herbert Waldmann studied chemistry and completed his PhD in organic chemistry in 1985 working with Horst Kunz. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship with George Whitesides at Harvard University, he pursued an academic career and qualified as professor at the University of Mainz in 1991. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Bonn. In 1993, he became professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe. Since 1999 he has headed the Department of Chemical Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology and, concurrently, has also held the position of full professor of Biochemistry at the Technische Universität Dortmund. Since 2005, he has headed the Chemical Genomics Center of the Max Planck Society.
An author of more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific publications, he has been awarded numerous academic distinctions, including the Otto Bayer Prize, the Emil-Fischer Medal of the German Chemical Society (GDCh), one of the highest distinction in Organic Chemistry in Germany, and the Hans-Herlof-Inhoffen-Medal and the Max Bergmann Medal. In 2014, he received an Honorary Doctorate by Leiden University, NL, for his contributions to the field of Chemical Biology. He is a member of several Editorial Boards of international journals such as Angewandte Chemie and ChemBioChem, and he is the European editor for Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. He also serves on various advisory boards including Max-Planck Innovation GmbH (Chairman) and Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, and he is member of the Scientific Committee of the Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie, Bordeaux, France. For more than 20 years, Herbert Waldmann has been a scientific consultant and advisor to major pharmaceutical, agrochemical and chemical companies and biotechnology companies.