3D Tissue Models

Abha Singh

TypeWhite Paper Summary

The Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) was founded in 1964 with the appointment of Heinz-Günther Wittmann and Heinz Schuster as department heads, followed shortly afterwards by the appointment of Thomas Trautner (1965).

In 1970, the three departments, as well as four independent junior research groups or Otto Warburg Laboratories as they were called later, moved into the new premises of the institute in the Ihnestraße. In 1986 a joint Computer Centre for the neighbouring Fritz Haber Institute and the MPIMG was opened and in the same year, a joint venture between the Berlin Senate and the Schering AG resulted in the foundation of the Institute for Gene Biological Research on the campus of the MPIMG. Under its director, Lothar Willmitzer, this institute developed into the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology (since 1994 in Golm near Potsdam). In August 2001, the entire building of the former Institute for Gene Biological Research was assigned to the MPIMG when Metagen GmbH, a subsidiary of the Schering AG, moved out. In the same year the new animal house of the institute was completed. Front view of the institute 1979

Since its foundation in the sixties, research of the institute had focussed on DNA replication and gene regulation in bacteria, bacterial phage and fungi (departments Schuster and Trautner) and on the structure, function and evolution of ribosomes which were central to the research of H.-G. Wittmann. After his untimely death in 1990, and the retirement of H. Schuster in 1995, the appointment of Hans Lehrach as head of the Department for Vertebrate Genomics (1994), and of Hans-Hilger Ropers as head of the Department for Human Molecular Genetics (full-time since 1997), brought about a major shift in the scientific orientation of the institute. Following the retirement of Thomas Trautner in 2000, Martin Vingron was appointed as head of the new Department for Computational Molecular Biology. At the same time, Stefan Mundlos was jointly appointed by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Max Planck Society as head of the Institute for Medical Genetics at the Charité and of a research group at the MPIMG. Together with the Freie Universität Berlin, Bernhard Hermann has been appointed professor at the university and director at the institute in 2003, forming the new department Developmental Genetics.

Thus, Towers 1, 2 and 4 (as well as the "virtual" Tower 3 of which only the basement exists) harbour four fully fledged departments, as well as several independent research groups, including the Ribosome Group, which was continued after the death of H.-G. Wittmann, and the emeritus group of T. Trautner. Since 1994, the population of the institute has nearly doubled and now encompasses about 500 people. This expansion, which is unique among all institutes of the Biological Medical Section of the Max Planck Society, is largely due to the active role of the institute in the German National Genome Research Network and other government funded genome research activities.

The central administrative organ of the MPIMG is the Board of Directors, constituted of elected Scientific Members of the Max Planck Society, who serve a dual function as co-directors of the institute and department chairmen. A member of the Board of Directors functions as the Managing Director for a three-year period. The Board of Directors establishes the general scientific and financial policies of the institute and guarantees the scientific independence of the individual junior research groups.

The infrastructure of the institute (buildings and grounds, workshops, central library, guest houses, animal facility and administrative services) is co-ordinated by the central administration. Both the Board of Directors and the administration interact with the General Administration of the Max Planck Society concerning budgetary, personnel and policy issues.

Two outside bodies assess and assist the institute: a Scientific Advisory Board constituted of national and foreign scientists reviews the activities of the institute bi-annually and issues a report for the President of the Society. In addition, a "Kuratorium", consisting of prominent individuals from industrial, financial, political and cultural circles, reinforces the links between the institute and the outside community.

Name:Abha Singh
Organization:Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine

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