Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

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Modern biology. Multidisciplinary. Independent. This is what the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, founded in 1954, stands for. The Institute conducts basic research on the development and evolution of animals and plants at different organisational levels – from molecules on to the whole organism and up to distinct species.
Currently, there are six different research departments each presided by one of the Institute’s directors, as well as seven independent research groups, amongst them the active emeritus group of Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard.

The scientists of the Department for Protein Evolution, headed by Andrei Lupas, investigate at the atomic level how protein machines work and how they have developed. The Department for Biochemistry led by Elisa Izaurralde addresses questions on the molecular and cellular level, namely how proteins and RNA-molecules cooperate to regulate fundamental processes, such as transcription of genetic information, cell division and signal transduction within the cell. The Department of Gerd Jürgens is focused on Cell Biology and how cells interact during development to form a whole organism. The Department of Evolutionary Biology, presided by Ralf Sommer, explores how the interaction of organisms such as microbes, plants and animals influences their development, and the Department of Molecular Biology, headed by Detlef Weigel, addresses the question of how this development is reflected in the respective genomes of these organisms. The researchers unravel these questions with the help of model organisms such as the zebra fish, the drosophila fly, nematodes and the thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana.

The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology covers a broad range of research topics and employs scientists of various specialisations. At present, the institute has 360 employees with over 40 nationalities. Outstanding students graduated in life sciences are offered the possibility to attend one of the two PhD programmes at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology or the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory: the International PhD Programme in the Biological Sciences with three different tracks and the International Max Planck Research School IMPRS “From Molecules to Organisms” in cooperation with the University of Tuebingen. This dynamic, interdisciplinary and international research environment combined with the use of cutting-edge technology provides the conditions for the excellent research conducted at the institute. Furthermore, the campus includes the Max Planck House, which not only serves as canteen and cafeteria, but also includes comfortable guest rooms, a lecture hall and a conference room as well as a campus library. The Max Planck House as the social centre of the campus as well as the institute's own preschool Planckton contribute to the friendly working atmosphere.

Questions?     Nadja Winter       +49 7071 601-350
Updated 05/04/2019 3:27pm

At a Glance

  • The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology addresses questions regarding genetic, biochemical and molecular processes underlying evolution.
  • The institute currently includes six departments and seven independent research groups.
  • The interdisciplinary aspects, internationality and cutting-edge methods distinguish the excellent research of this institute.
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