Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

At the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry researchers are on the trail of the cellular and molecular processes that control complex life processes. The scientists work at the interface between biology, chemistry and physics to develop increasingly sophisticated techniques to obtain insight into the world of the molecules. With the help of high-resolution microscopes, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, electron microscopes and ultrahigh-performance computers they investigate cells, organelles and proteins. Their aim is to find out the tricks that cells and biomolecules use to fulfil their varied functions – whether processing signals, transporting molecular freight or generating blueprints for protein production. Moreover, they study how genes control development and behaviour – for example, how a complex organism develops from a single egg cell or how our body clock “ticks”.

Contact

Am Faßberg 11
37077 Göttingen
Phone: +49 551 201-1211
Fax: +49 551 201-1222

PhD opportunities

This institute has several International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS):

IMPRS for Physics of Biological and Complex Systems
IMPRS for Molecular Biology
IMPRS for Neurosciences
IMPRS for Genome Science

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

World record resolution in cryo electron microscopy

Novel technique developed by Max Planck researchers in Göttingen visualizes individual atoms in a protein with cryo electron microscopy for the first time

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NMR spectrometer of superlatives

It looks like a giant thermos flask and weighs eight tons. Not only because of that is the new 1.2 GHz spectrometer a heavy weight in the worldwide science community: With its magnetic field strength, it sets new standards in high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy: 28.2 Tesla –almost 600,000 times stronger than the earth´s magnetic field. Presently, there are only three of these high tech instruments; in addition to Florence and Zurich, there is now one in Göttingen at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry.

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”I can now plan for a long-term research career in Germany”

Chun So from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry is this year's recipient of the Otto Hahn Award

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<span>How the coronavirus multiplies its genetic material</span>

Max Planck researchers solve structure of viral copy machine

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ERC Advanced Grants for six Max Planck researchers

Research Council ERC awards grants of up to 2.5 million euros each

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It is thanks to magnetic resonance imaging MRI – and not least Jens Frahm – that doctors are better able to diagnose diseases among patients than they could 30 years ago. The research conducted by the Director of the non-profit making company Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen has succeeded in significantly improving the images made of the body. In the interim, the team from Goettingen has even been able to push MRI from photography to filming.

STED microscopes can produce extremely detailed images of everything from the transport of individual proteins or tiny membrane vesicles in living cells to the synapses of neurons or the skeletons of tumor cells. The technique was invented by Stefan Hell, Director at the Max Planck Institutes for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen and Medical Research in Heidelberg. Now, the spin-off company Abberior Instruments sells the highest-resolution fluorescence microscope on the market – and researchers at both the Institutes and the company continue to push the resolution to its ultimate limit: the single nanometer size scale of a molecule.

Evotec’s history illustrates that biotechnology made in Germany can set standards worldwide. The Max Planck Society is one of the company’s founders and continues to shape it to this day.

Egg and sperm cells are highly sensitive during their development. When, for example, there is an error in the way the genetic material is divided between the individual gametes, the resulting embryo will often either be nonviable or suffer from severe birth defects. Melina Schuh from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen wants to find out why egg maturation is so error-prone. The results of her research could one day help couples who are unable to have children.

Doctors and patients can thank magnetic resonance imaging – and not least Jens Frahm – for the fact that many diseases can now be diagnosed far more effectively than they could 30 years ago. The research carried out by the director of the Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH (non-profit) at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen has greatly simplified the process of capturing images of the body’s interior. Now the team from Göttingen wants to bring those images to life.

Ludwig II of Bavaria is a particularly striking example of how differently people’s internal clocks can tick. According to historical sources, the monarch usually conducted his government business at night and slept during the day. Whether the Fairy Tale King had a disorder that disrupted his sleep-wake rhythm is a matter even Gregor Eichele can only speculate about. Nevertheless, Eichele and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen have gained much new insight into how the body’s natural timekeepers work.

Personal portrait: Stefan Hell

Postdoc or PhD Student (m/f/d) | Singlet State Magnetic Resonance

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen October 09, 2020

Postdoc or PhD Student (m/f/d) | in-Cell NMR

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen October 09, 2020

PhD Student or Postdoc (m/f/d) 18-20

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen September 17, 2020

PhD Student or Postdoc (m/f/d) 19-20

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen September 17, 2020

Novel insights into the structure and function of the human spliceosome

2019 Stark, Holger; Lührmann, Reinhard

Cell Biology Structural Biology

Eukaryotic pre-mRNAs contain non-coding regions (introns) which need to be removed before mRNA can be used for the synthesis of proteins. This splicing process is catalyzed in the cell's nucleus by the spliceosome, a large molecular machine that is composed of numerous proteins and small RNA components. Using cryo electron microscopy, high resolution 3D structures have been generated from the human spliceosome at distinct functional stages, providing novel insights into the working cycle and structural dynamics of the spliceosome and the mechanism of pre-mRNA splicing.

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A switch for human genes

2018 Cramer, Patrick

Cell Biology Structural Biology

Genes must be activated to make use of the genetic information in living cells. Gene activation starts with transcription, which produces RNA copies of genes. Recent studies now reveal a switch for transcription that regulates the activity of the enzyme RNA polymerase II at the beginning of genes. These results could only intriguingly be obtained by combining different experimental and computational techniques.

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Molecular Resolution in Optical Microscopy

2017 Hell, Stefan W.

Cell Biology Chemistry Structural Biology

For the first time, it has been demonstrated that the ultimate resolution limit in fluorescence microscopy – the molecule’s size itself – can also practically be achieved. The MINFLUX concept begins a new chapter and opens up unprecedented opportunities in the optical analysis of molecular systems.

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Towards disease modifying therapies of neurodegenerative diseases

2016 Ryazanov, Sergey;  Leonov, Andrei; Griesinger, Christian

Cell Biology Neurosciences Structural Biology

Neurodegenerative diseases‘ hallmark is the aggregation of mostly intrinsically disordered proteins. Getting fundamental insights into the structural biology of these proteins, it was possible to identify oligomers as an attractive target for disease modifying therapies. The compound anle138b is bearing the required properties regarding modification of aggregation pathways, and is also orally bioavailable.

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The sleeping worm

2016 Bringmann, Henrik

Cell Biology Neurosciences

The question how and why we sleep is one of the most exciting mysteries of biology. Sleep is important for our well-being. Yet, we do not know how sleep becomes regenerative. The Max Planck Research Group Sleep and Waking is trying to answer these basic questions. The researchers’ strategy is to first investigate sleep in one of the most simple model organisms that sleeps, the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. The group identified a single neuron to be responsible for sleep induction and found a molecular mechanism for sleep induction.

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