Press releases - News from the MPI of Biochemistry

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Advanced ERC Grant for Elena Conti

May 16, 2017
Elena Conti, head of the department „Structural Cell Biology“ at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried receives the Advanced Grant of the European Research Council for the second time. It comes with a funding of more than two million Euros for five years. Together with her team, she investigates the interaction of the exosomes and ribosomes. These are the major players in essential cellular processes – governing the synthesis and degradation of RNAs and proteins. Major foundations of planned work were laid by the Conti group in the earlier ERC Advanced Grant, which characterized structure and function of the exosome. [more]
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Manajit Hayer-Hartl receives Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award

May 09, 2017
Manajit Hayer-Hartl, head of the research group "Chaperonin-assisted Protein Folding” at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried receives the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award 2017 of the Protein Society. The Award, sponsored by Genentech, is granted in recognition of exceptional contributions to protein science which profoundly influence our understanding of biology. For the past two decades Hayer-Hartl has investigated the mechanism of GroEL and its co-factor GroES. This work led to the insight that the chaperonin, in addition to preventing aggregation, profoundly influences the free-energy landscapes of folding for some proteins by accelerating folding through entropic destabilization of unfolded states in the confining environment of the folding cage, a mechanism that can be considered specific to chaperonin. By studying the biogenesis of the photosynthetic enzyme Rubisco Dr. Hayer-Hartl also discovered new mechanisms of chaperone-assisted protein assembly. The award will be conferred at the 31st Annual Symposium of the Protein Society in July 24 - 27, 2017 in Montreal, Canada. [more]
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Stopping cancer at the root: Axel Ullrich named European Inventor Award 2017 finalist

April 26, 2017
Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide and the World Health Organisation projects over 13 million annual deaths from cancer by the year 2030. A new generation of medicines based on genetic engineering stops cancer at the root, by disrupting the blood supply or the growth of tumours. Key insights behind this new approach are owed to German molecular biologist Axel Ullrich (73). In a research career spanning over four decades, the pioneer identified the cellular processes behind the genesis of cancer and other diseases. In commercial drug development roles and as a leading Max Planck Institute researcher, Ullrich spearheaded ground-breaking laboratory techniques and next-generation anti-cancer medicines. For these achievements, Axel Ullrich has been nominated for the European Inventor Award 2017 as one of three finalists in the category "Lifetime Achievement". The winners of the 12th edition of the European Patent Office (EPO)’s annual innovation prize will be announced at a ceremony in Venice on 15 June. [more]
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Researchers unravel the social network of immune cells

April 25, 2017
“Macrophages are real chatterboxes” Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – nowadays, good social networking and communication is more important than ever. The immune system also resembles a large social network, as shown by Felix Meissner and his team in the Experimental System Immunology Research Group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried. With the help of proteomics they deciphered the messages exchanged between immune cells responsible for protecting us  against diseases. In doing so, they have discovered complex cellular communication structures and previously unknown connections between various cell types. Their research findings were published in the journal Nature Immunology. [more]
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Operation of ancient biological clock uncovered

March 16, 2017
A team of Dutch and German researchers under the leadership of Albert Heck and Friedrich Förster has discovered the operation of one of the oldest biological clocks in the world, which is crucial for life on earth as we know it. The researcher from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the Utrecht University applied a new combination of cutting-edge research techniques. They discovered how the biological clock in cyanobacteria works in detail. Important to understand life, because cyanobacteria were the first organisms on earth producing oxygen via photosynthesis. The results of their research were published in Science. [more]
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The genetic transmission of gene locks

March 16, 2017
Although all cells in an organism contain the same genes, only some of the genes are activated in a given cells and others remain inactive. Genes coil around histone proteins in the form of DNA threads. If a gene has to remain inactive, its histones are marked by the PRC2 enzyme so that this gene is locked down and cannot be read. When cells divide and the genes are copied, these histone marks must be placed again, at exactly the same location. The mechanism that enables transmission of this information has now been explained by Jürg Müller from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried in a study published in the journal Science. [more]
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ERC Grant for Naoko Mizuno

March 15, 2017
Naoko Mizuno, head of the research group “Cellular and Membrane Trafficking” at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, has been awarded a Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). [more]
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