The Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry is a multidisciplinary institute, the departments of which are variously equipped according to their methods, complementing and collaborating with each other. The institute is the successor of the Max Planck Institutes for Physical Chemistry and for Spectroscopy, both of which gave priority to using physics techniques to address biological problems.
The inclusion of a number of departments specialising in biology, across a range stretching from molecular biology through developmental biology to neurobiology, extended the scope of research far beyond that of the traditional discipline. The harnessing of physics, physico-chemical and chemistry methods to biological research lead to the institute being named the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.
The research spectrum extends from spectroscopy and photochemical kinetics, through structure-function relationships at a molecular level, organisation of cellular architecture, the mechanism of release of neurotransmitters and hormones (membrane biophysics), to the molecular components of protein transport (molecular genetics), the analysis of development and differentiation processes in mammals (molecular cell biology), as well as the molecular developmental biology of the fruit fly. Since 1997, four new departments joined the research groups at the institute, thus widening the spectrum of research. The Department of Neurobiology is investigating the mechanism of synaptic transmission. The Department Cellular Biochemistry is studying the pre-RNA splicing mechanisms in the nucleus. And the Department of NMR based Stuctural Biology, which started working here in 2001, has moved in its own building in 2002. In 2003, the head of a former independent research group has been made another director at the institute and the new Department NanoBiophotonics was founded.
In addition to the research departments the institute houses a variety of department-associated research groups and "nachwuchs" groups (established young investigators selected by a formal application and evaluation procedure). The Emeritus group of the former director Manfred Eigen (Biochemical kinetiks) is employed on theoretical and experimental research into the evolution of self organising systems.
The Biomedical NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) research company directed by J. Frahm is also based at the institute. This group is engaged primarily on the development and application of magnetic nuclear resonance for non-invasive tests of living systems.
In 2001 there were 719 people working at the institute (including fellows), 315 of whom were scientists. In addition there were 143 guest scientists and people funded by third parties.
Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie (Karl-Friedrich-Bonhoeffer-Institut)
Further information: http://www.mpibpc.gwdg.de/