The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich was founded in 1973 as the successor of the three formerly independent institutes MPI of Biochemistry (founded in 1912 as Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in Berlin-Dahlem), MPI for Protein and Leather Research (founded in 1954 in Regensburg) and the MPI for Cell Chemistry (founded in 1956 in Munich).
Research at the institute focuses on studies of the relationship between the structure and the activity of biological systems with various degrees of complexity, i.e. nucleic acids as carriers of the genetic information and proteins or peptides as structural components of the three-dimensional organization of the cell. Their folding and function is likewise the subject of the research such as cell organells, membranes, viruses, oncogenes, archaebacteria, higher cells and whole organisms. These serve as models for the investigation of the molecular bases of biological and pathophysiological phenomena: Cell-cell interactions, cell division, cell growth and - differentiation, gene regulation, signal transmission by nerves, photosynthesis, evolution and cancer.
A special strength of the institute is the various methodical expertise in the areas of protein chemistry, molecular biology and structure analysis. Research in scientific departments and working groups is supported by central service facilities for DNA- and protein sequence analysis, DNA- and peptide-synthesis, NMR and mass spectrometry, a central library, an information retrieval and managing center, a computing center with bioinformatics unit, an animal house and central workshops. New methods in molecular biology and genetic engineering led to the development of a biomedically oriented basic research of molecular medicine. In this field of research medical questions are connected with molecular-biological techniques, which opens promising possibilities in the pathogenesis research and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutical approaches. The institute cooperates in this area with the pharmaceutical industry on national and international level. Several research groups of the institute are working on this medical orientated field of research, others are dealing with pure basic research.
At the end of 1998 the institute had 792 employees (including people funded by third parties), of whom 475 were scientists (including junior and guest scientists) and 207 were technical staff.
Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Further information: http://www.biochem.mpg.de/