The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) in Martinsried near Munich was founded in 1973 as the successor of three formerly independent institutes: the MPI of Biochemistry (founded in 1912 as Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin-Dahlem), the MPI for Protein and Leather Research (founded in 1922 as Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Dresden) and the MPI for Cell Chemistry (founded in 1954 in Munich).
Proteins are the main protagonists in all cellular processes – without them, our organism and its complex operations would not function. But what decides which genes are translated into proteins? How do proteins regulate highly complex cell processes? How do cells communicate with each other? Which control mechanisms are effective in these processes and what happens when errors are made? These and others are the questions the scientists at the MPIB are devoted to. In search of answers, they explore and analyze the structure and function of the involved molecules and in doing so they examine both individual molecules and entire organisms.
The institute’s classic research areas of structural, cell and molecular biology as well as biochemistry are developing in direction of structural biochemistry, systems biology, genetics and new imaging methods; moreover, bioinformatics is playing a significant role. Another important aspect is biomedical basic research, because disturbances of cellular signal transduction or abnormal protein structures can lead to diseases such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s. Hence, the work of the scientists at the MPIB also helps to better understand the pathogenesis of these diseases and to develop new strategies for therapy.
A particular strength of the MPIB is its big methodological expertise in all of the Institute’s research areas, because it enables the realization of the research projects in the first place. During the analyses, different ultra-modern methods are applied: In particular, electron and light microscopy as well as mass spectrometry allow the scientists insights into cells.
Central service facilities are supporting the researchers during their work in laboratory and office: biochemistry core facility, library, information retrieval service, computing center, animal facility and workshops also make an important contribution to successful research.
With approximately 850 employees coming from 45 different nations, the MPIB is one of the largest institutes within the Max Planck Society.