About the Institute
The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) in Martinsried, Munich is one of the leading international research institutions in the fields of biochemistry, cell and structural biology and biomedical research. With about 20 scientific departments and research groups and about 750 employees, the MPIB is one of the largest institutes of the Max Planck Society.
The approximately 350 scientists, coming from 43 different nations, study the structure of proteins - on single molecules, but also on complex organisms. Their work and the support of various central service facilities make the MPIB a leading international institute in the field of protein research. The high quality of the research work is also reflected in numerous awards and prizes. Two scientists have already been awarded the Nobel Prize: Feodor Lynen in 1964 and Robert Huber in 1988.
What we do
Scientists at the MPIB are investigating proteins, the main actors in all cellular processes - without them our organism with its complex processes would not function. The researchers are addressing the following questions, among others: What decides whether and out of which genes proteins are produced? How do proteins control highly complex cell processes? How do cells communicate with each other? Which control mechanisms are effective and what happens in the event of errors? These are just some of the aspects that are being researched at the MPIB.
Another important research aspect is biomedical basic research. Disturbances in cellular signal transmission or defective protein structures can lead to diseases such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer's disease. The research work at the MPIB thus also helps to better understand the development of these diseases and to provide the basis for new therapeutic strategies.
A particular strength of the MPIB is its great methodological expertise in all research areas of the institute, which is what makes the implementation of research projects possible in the first place. A wide range of state-of-the-art methods such as electron and light microscopy and mass spectrometry are used for the analyses. They provide scientists with particularly deep insights into the inner workings of cells.
In addition, central service facilities support researchers in their work. The Biochemistry Core Facility, the library, the informationmanagement, the computer centre, the animal house and the workshops make important contributions to the success of research.
From laboratory to practice
Even though the MPIB pursues basic research, the results are still used time and again: numerous patents are applied for every year. In addition, the institute's scientists have been involved in the founding of 24 biotech companies to this date. Research at the MPIB also contributes significantly to the development of new therapeutic options - one example is the cancer drug Sutent, which is based on the findings of MPIB Director Axel Ullrich..
The MPIB has its own Grants Office (EU Office), which supports researchers in applying for and coordinating major EU projects. One of these projects is "PROSPECTS" (Proteomics Specification in Time and Space) under the leadership of MPIB Director Matthias Mann. The project aims to further advance proteome research and provide new insights into the function of proteins in the cell and their alteration in diseases.
„Insight Must Precede Application“
The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry is one of about 80 research institutes of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science e.V. (MPG). The MPG is an independent, non-profit research organization which seeks to promote basic research in the service of the general public. It is financed through public funds from the federal and state governments. However, the MPG is not a state-run institution, but a registered association.
The Max Planck Institutes mainly conduct research on new, innovative topics of natural, life and social sciences as well as humanities that are not, or not yet, investigated at universities. Primarily, it is basic research: The scientists get to the bottom of things, study how they function and want to understand and explain the world. In order to react flexibly to changed demands and to be at the cutting edge of research, the MPG recruits outstanding scientists to existing institutes, redefines the research areas of some institutes, founds or closes institutes.
The Max Planck Institutes can perform their research almost freely and can decide largely on their own which projects to select and how to carry them out. For this purpose, every institute has its own self-managed budget.
For appointments and research funding, the scientific quality of the researchers and the institutes plays an essential role. It is evaluated every two to three years by an international, independent scientific advisory board. The interface to the general public is represented by the Board of Trustees which is comprised of representatives of press, industry and politics.
Promotion of Young Talents
Together with the neighboring Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) is the largest employer in the Würmtal. The employees work in diverse scientific departments and research units as well as in the administration and in various service facilities. At the MPIB, not only basic research plays an important role, but also the promotion and advancement of young people.
About 200 PhD students currently work at the MPIB. They conduct research for their PhD thesis or work directly in one of the research departments or groups or at the interdisciplinary International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) “From Biology to Medicine”. The IMPRS is a cooperative endeavor of the Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry, of Neurobiology and of Psychiatry as well as the LMU and TU Munich, which promotes outstanding PhD students. Interdisciplinary offers shall encourage them to look beyond their own research area. Internationality is also rated high, and that is why approximately half of the IMPRS PhD students come from abroad. Furthermore, the PhD students are supported by a Graduate Program (GP) which represents their interests. The GP has its own budget and can therefore organize additional advanced training offers, seminars and workshops as well as parties and informal meetings.
The scientists are supported in their everyday laboratory and office life by the administration and the service facilities. The MPIB also offers vocational training positions in six professions, two of them in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute of Biological Intelligence. About 40 trainees in vocational training programs to become biology lab assistants, office administrators, IT specialists, precision mechanics, digital and print media designers as well as animal keepers in research and clinic currently work at the two institutes.
Sustainability at our Institutes
- Mobility: Presenting alternative and sustainable means of transportation
- Energy: Switiching off lights and PCs
- Nutrition: A reduction of meat consumption and the expansion of veggie options
- Biodiversity: Maintaining living spaces for insects and wildlife
- Waste: Practicing active waste seperation and reduction
Furthermore, regular Sustainability Luncheons are organized to discuss climate issues at the Sustainability Café every first Thursday of the month for all employees.
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