Max Planck Institute for Medical Research
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The Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, is a facility of the Max Planck Society for basic medical research. Since its foundation, six Nobel Prize laureates worked at the Institute: Otto Fritz Meyerhof (Physiology), Richard Kuhn (Chemistry), Walther Bothe (Physics), André Michel Lwoff (Physiology or Medicine), Rudolf Mößbauer (Physics) and Bert Sakmann (Physiology or Medicine). The Institute has close ties with Heidelberg University.
- 1 History
- 2 The Present
- 3 Departments
- 4 Independent Junior Research Groups
- 5 Research- and Working Groups
- 6 Emeritus Groups
- 7 Facilities
- 8 Research Schools (IMPRS)
- 9 External links
- 10 Geotag/Coordinates
The institute was opened in 1930 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research, and was re-founded as a Max Planck Institute in 1948. Its original goal was to apply the methods of Physics and Chemistry to basic medical research, and it included departments of Chemistry, Physiology, and Biophysics. In the 1960s, new developments in biology were reflected with the establishment of the Department of Molecular Biology. Toward the end of the 1980s and during the 1990s, investigations began into the specific functions of muscle and nerve cells. New departments were established in Cell Physiology (1989-2008), Molecular Cell Research (1992-1999), Molecular Neurobiology (1995), Biomedical Optics (1999) and Biomolecular Mechanisms (2002). The independent junior research groups for Ion Channel Structure (1997-2003) and Developmental Genetics of the Nervous System (1999-2005) were also founded.
The institute currently has three departments and two independent junior research groups. The Department of Molecular Neurobiology focuses on the analysis and altering of mouse genes that are responsible for rapid signaling in the brain; the purpose is to investigate which brain capacities are inherited and which are learned. The Department of Biomedical Optics studies the activity of groups of nerve cells in tissue preparations and in laboratory animals with the use and continued development of multiquantum microscopy. The research in the Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms is aimed at establishing the molecular basis of model reactions, using the methods of biophysics and structural biology.
The independent junior research group Behavioural Neurophysiology aims to understand how complex behaviour emerges from the properties of molecules, cells and ensembles of cells. The independent junior research group Development and Function of Hypothalamic Neuronal Circuits aims to understand the molecular mechanism of neuronal circuit formation by studying the development of the hypothalamus.
One of the future activities of the institute will be to investigate nerve cells and their connections in the cerebral cortex that are responsible for the reception and processing of signals from the sense organs, (i.e. smell, sight, and taste) with the use of molecular genetic, physiological and imaging techniques. Scientists are particularly interested in the nature of synapses, the contact points between nerve cells in the neural network. How information is stored and retrieved in synapses, how new synapses are formed, and how superfluous synapses are removed are all topics of investigation. Research will involve the development of new genetic engineering techniques, so that the activity of the key molecules involved in rapid information transmission between nerve cells by the synapses can be regulated. There are plans to miniaturise multiquantum microscopy and improve the level of penetration to measure activity in the cerebral cortex of freely moving mice.
Led by Prof. Dr. Winfried Denk, the Department of Biomedical Optics studies the activity of groups of nerve cells in tissue preparations and in laboratory animals with the use and continued development of multiphoton microscopy.
The research in the Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms (Director Prof. Dr. Ilme Schlichting) is aimed at establishing the molecular basis of model reactions, using the methods of biophysics and structural biology.
The Department of Molecular Neurobiology led by Prof. Peter H. Seeburg focuses on the analysis and altering of mouse genes that are responsible for rapid signaling in the brain; the purpose is to investigate which brain capacities are inherited and which are learned.
Independent Junior Research Groups
The independent junior research group Behavioural Neurophysiology (Group Leader: Dr. Andreas T. Schaefer) aims to understand how complex behaviour emerges from the properties of molecules, cells and ensembles of cells.
Development and Function of Hypothalamic Neuronal Circuits
The independent junior research group Development and Function of Hypothalamic Neuronal Circuits (Dr. Soojin Ryu) aims to understand the molecular mechanism of neuronal circuit formation by studying the development of the hypothalamus.
Research- and Working Groups
- Thomas Euler Group - Dendritic Processing in the Retina
- Wolfgang Kabsch Group
- Georg Köhr Group
- Anton Meinhart Group - mRNA Processing
- Jochen Reinstein Group - Molecular Chaperones
- Ilme Schlichting Group
- Rolf Sprengel Group
- Veit Witzemann / Michael Koenen Group - Neuromuscular Junction
Emeritus Group Biophysics
The Light microscopy Facility of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research aims to provide Institute members and guests "low threshold" access to sophisticated microscopy and data analysis equipment, to provide support and training related to sample preparation, data recording and analysis and to stimulate communication and exchange of experience.
The library of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research is a reference library containing specialized scientific literature. It serves teaching and research in the fields of life sciences, chemistry, biology and physics. The opening time for external users are from Monday to Friday:
- 09.00 AM to 12.00 AM
- 02.00 PM to 04.00 PM
For members of the Institute, it is open 24 hours a day.
Research Schools (IMPRS)
IMPRS for Quantum Dynamics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology
The IMPRS for Quantum Dynamics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology is a joint initiative of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Ruprecht Karls University, the German Cancer Research Center, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research (all in Heidelberg), and the Heavy Ion Research Center (GSI) in Darmstadt.
- Max Planck Institute for Medical Research
- Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics
- Ruprecht Karls University Heidelberg
- German Cancer Research Center
- External Research Group Cytoskeleton
Coordinates for the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg: