Press releases - News from the MPI of Biochemistry

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“Plus 3” grant for Naoko Mizuno

December 14, 2016
Naoko Mizuno from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried has been awarded funding of 900,000 euros over three years as part of the Plus 3 Perspective Programme of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. The programme supports outstanding heads of junior research groups in the development of their research profiles with a view to obtaining a professorial appointment in the future. It also aims to improve the quality of basic medical research. [more]
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The needle in the haystack

December 12, 2016
Immunotherapy for cancer: identifying suitable target antigens by mass spectrometry. The immune system can fight specifically against cancer by tumor-specific T cells although suitable altered target structures are currently mostly unknown. A team at the the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a method that allows for the first time the reliable identification of suitable antigens directly from patients` tumor cells by mass spectrometry. These structures proved to be immunogenic. This procedure therefore opens up new possibilities for individualized targeted cancer treatments. [more]
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Bavarian Maximilian Order for Dieter Oesterhelt

November 28, 2016
Dieter Oesterhelt, Emeritus Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, has been awarded the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art. He received the highest accolade of the Free State of Bavaria for his outstanding scientific achievements, most notably his discovery of the light-sensitive pigment bacteriorhodopsin. This discovery and the deciphering of its function helped pave the way for today’s research field of optogenetics and later practical applications. “I’m delighted that my decades of hard work in science together with many highly motivated colleagues has been recognized,” Oesterhelt said. Unfortunately, he will be unable to attend the award ceremony for the Maximilian Order on 28 November 2016 due to illness. [more]
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Julia von Blume awarded “Heisenberg” and “Plus 3” grant

November 17, 2016
Julia von Blume has been named as the recipient of the Heisenberg grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG), for the duration of five years. She has also been given funding of € 900,000 as part of the Plus 3 Perspective Programme of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. These highly coveted programmes provide outstanding researchers with support on their career path to becoming professors. [more]
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Stefan Jentsch, 1955-2016

November 02, 2016
The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) mourns the loss of Departmental Director Stefan Jentsch, who unexpectedly died on 29 October. He received many awards for his fundamental contributions to our understanding of cellular regulation by the protein ubiquitin, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Council (DFG). “We have not only lost an outstanding scientist, but also a wonderful colleague“, says Petra Schwille, Managing Director at the MPIB. “Stefan’s untimely death leaves a void at the Institute as well as in the scientific community“. [more]
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DNA Replication – Take a break

October 05, 2016
Before a cell divides, it must first handle a large-scale project: Its entire genetic material has to be duplicated so that each of the two daughter cells is equipped with a full copy after cell division. As errors in this DNA replication could lead to the death of the cell, the process is rigorously controlled. It takes place in two phases. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have now revealed in the journal Cell Reports that these two phases are strictly separated from one another by breaks, thereby preventing errors in the DNA replication. [more]
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The master tailor of cells

October 04, 2016
The so-called Holliday structure has nothing to do with holidays or vacation, but is rather a term that describes a complex crossover of similar DNA strings. Researcher Robin Holliday proposed this structure of genetic information in the 1960s. It occurs in DNA repair processes in our cells or during the formation of egg and sperm cells when paternal and maternal genetic information are combined. As reported by the journal eLife, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have decoded the structure of the GEN1 protein that can undo this crossover, much like a molecular master tailor, by cutting the DNA with the highest precision in the correct place. [more]
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