Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine

Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen conduct basic medical research in the neurosciences and oncology. In line with the Institute's mission, "from the lab bench to the hospital bed", fundamental work in the neurosciences and clinical studies on new therapeutic approaches are combined. The scientists’ objective is to understand molecular and cellular processes in the nervous system and other organs, as well as their pathological disorders. The scientists’ findings form the basis for new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that can be applied to a range of psychiatric diseases such as autism and schizophrenia, to neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and strokes, or to cancer. For example, scientists from the Institute study the development of the brain and the molecular basis of signal transmission between nerve cells. Furthermore, their research focuses on the function of channel proteins in cell membranes and their role in the development of cancer. Numerous research groups at the Institute work on turning the findings obtained at the Institute into clinical applications.

Contact

Hermann-Rein-Str. 3
37075 Göttingen
Phone: +49 551 3899-0
Fax: +49 551 3899-389

PhD opportunities

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

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.

Department Molecular Neurobiology

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Department Molecular Biology of Neuronal Signals

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Bipolar structure for nerve cell migration

Researchers discover new principle regulating brain development

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The dietary supplement Lecithin improves the myelination of diseased Schwann cells

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Aberrant synapse protein can lead to neurological and psychiatric disorders

Scientists in Göttingen discover cause of brain disease

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Research highlights from the Yearbook

Our Yearbook 2016 showcases the research carried out at the Max Planck Institutes. We selected a few reports to illustrate the variety and diversity of topics and projects.

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Deciphering the protein signature of chronic pain

Yearbook article 2016, Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, GöttingenEmmy Noether Research Group Somatosensory Signal Transduction and Systems BiologyAuthor: Manuela Schmidt

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The "Outpatient Long-term Intensive Therapy for Alcoholics" has proven successful. Nevertheless, its future is uncertain – the dispute over who will pay for it remains unresolved.

Schizophrenia and autism may both stem from the same cause – a faulty transfer of signals to the synaptic connections between individual neurons.

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Activity-independent neuronal network formation in the brain

2018 Brose, Nils; Sigler, Albrecht; Imig, Cordelia; Altas, Bekir; Kawabe, Hiroshi; Cooper, Benjamin; Kwon, Hyung-Bae; Rhee, Jeong-Seop

Developmental Biology Evolutionary Biology Genetics Immunobiology Medicine Neurosciences

According to the current dogma in neuroscience, neurons in the brain must communicate actively with each other to establish functional networks. Recent results now demonstrate that neurons in a brain region that is critically involved in learning and memory processes can connect and form structurally normal networks without active signal transmission at their synaptic contact points.

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The role of Kv10.1 potassium channel in cancer

2017 Stühmer, Walter; Pardo, Luis A.

Medicine Neurosciences

Ion channels are membrane proteins that regulate cellular processes by transmitting signals across membranes. Thus it is not surprising that they are also involved in cancer. In this respect, Kv10.1 is the most intensively studied potassium channel. It is overexpressed in over 70% of all cancer forms, and its expression level is up- and down-regulated during the cell cycle. This genetic regulation happens at the centre of signalling cascades involved in cancer and cell division regulation. Consequently, Kv10.1 represents a novel target for cancer treatment.

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Deciphering the protein signature of chronic pain

2016 Schmidt, Manuela

Neurosciences

Pain is a major symptom of many diseases and the worldwide number one reason for people to seek medical assistance. While acute pain subserves protective functions, chronic pain conditions present a big challenge to patients and clinicians alike. In light of these difficulties, the identification of proteins specifically involved in chronic pain states would open new avenues for designing selective and efficient therapeutical interventions.

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Thought-reading: Decoding spike-based neuronal representations

2015 Gütig, Robert

Developmental Biology Evolutionary Biology Genetics Medicine Neurosciences

The question how the almost 100 billion nerve cells of the human brain represent and process sensory stimuli and thoughts is one of the most fascinating challenges in neuroscience. Contrary to common belief that nerve cells encode information by the rate of action potential firing, a growing number of experimental and theoretical accounts is strengthening alternative hypotheses that neural codes could be more refined and for instance incorporate also temporal intervals between action potentials of different neurons.

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One of the most spectacular interactions of cells in the central nervous system is the myelination of axons by oligodendrocytes, which serves the rapid impulse propagation. Max Planck scientists have discovered a novel function of oligodendrocytes in the metabolic support of myelinated axons. Genetic evidence suggests that oligodendrocytes are glycolytic cells that release lactate as an energy-rich metabolite. Loss of this trophic function of oligodendrocytes may play a critical role in inherited and acquired myelin diseases.

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