Melanie Brinkmann studied biology at the Georg-August University Göttingen and the Humboldt University Berlin in Germany. During her PhD at the Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Germany, she studied how the tumorvirus Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) manipulates its host. For her postdoctoral time she joined Hidde Ploeghs laboratory at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, which is affiliated with the Massachusettes Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA. During these four years she worked on highly specialized sentinels of the innate immune system, so called pattern recognition receptors. These cellular receptors play an essential role for the detection of viral infections.
Since July 2010 Melanie Brinkmann is head of a research group at the HZI.
From 2012 to 2018, Melanie Brinkmann was assistant professor at the Institute of Virology at the Hannover Medical School.
Since July 2018 she is professor at the Institute of Genetics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig.
She received the PhD Award of the Hannover Medical School (2004), for her postdoctoral work she received the Robert-Koch-Postdoc Award (2007), and in 2016 she was awarded with the Science Award of the Signal Transduction Society.