Professor Ganten was born in Lüneburg in 1941. He studied medicine at the universities of Würzburg, Montpellier (France) and Tübingen. After taking his degree, he spent several years as a research scientist at the Clinical Research Institute in Montreal (Canada), and earned his Ph.D. at McGill University.
In 1975 Detlev Ganten was appointed Professor at the Department of Pharmacology at theUniversity of Heidelberg.
From 1991 to 2004 Professor Ganten was the founding director and president of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch. He also was Director of the Department of Pharmacology at the Benjamin Franklin Medical Center of the Free University of Berlin.
From 2004 to 2008 Professor Ganten was Chief Executive Officer at the “Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin”, the joint medical faculty of the Free University and Humboldt University of Berlin.
Since 2005 Professor Ganten is the Chairman of the Foundation Board of the Charité Foundation. Since 2009 he is also Chairman of the joint Board of Trustees of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (Berlin-Potsdam), and he is President of the World Health Summit.
As a research scientist in the field of hypertension, Professor Ganten elucidated fundamental mechanisms of the pathophysiology and molecular biology of high blood pressure. His area of research includes the hormonal regulation of blood pressure, especially the renin-angiotensin system, and the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases and evolutionary medicine.