Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine

The Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine investigates the formation of cells, tissues and organs. Scientists make use of molecular-biological and cell-biological methods in a bid to discover how cells exchange information, which molecules control their behaviour and what faults in the dialogue between cells cause diseases to develop. The work of the Institute is dedicated to three closely intertwined areas. One field in which the Institute is active is stem cell research. Scientists study how stem cells can be generated and how they might be used to treat diseases. Another research area is that of inflammation processes, where one of the objectives is to fully understand the effects of blood poisoning. The third field of research is blood vessel growth, with the aim of identifying new targets for the development of therapies: blood vessels play an important role in many illnesses.


Röntgenstr. 20
48149 Münster
Phone: +49 251 70365-100
Fax: +49 251 70365-198

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):

IMPRS for Molecular Biomedicine

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

Max Planck researchers lay the foundation for the automated production and analysis of human 3D tissues for drug and toxicity research


Researchers investigate which material properties support vessel formation


Computer simulations visualize in atomic detail how DNA opens while wrapped around proteins


Direct reprogramming of pericytes in oligodendrocyte precursors as a potential basis for cell-based therapeutic strategy


How can you pack two metres of DNA into the nucleus of a cell and ensure the right genes are expressed, in the right cell at the right time?


Skin cells, liver cells, neural cells – the human body is made up of various different cell types. Hans Schöler and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Muenster have successfully turned these specialists back into generalists that are capable of cell division. These are able to produce different types of cells, and to develop into organ-like structures, for example into so-called brain organoids. The scientists use these to study basic processes in the human brain and the formation of diseases such as Parkinson’s.

A single factor from adult brain stem cells can be used to generate true cellular jacks-of-all-trades for regenerative medicine.

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The sleeping embryo

2020 Bedzhov, Ivan

Cell Biology Developmental Biology Medicine

Early stages of mammalian embryos are able to enter a naturally occurring dormant state (diapause) to slow their development during unfavorable environmental conditions. Surprisingly, we found that these seemingly “sleeping” embryos exhibit dynamic cell-cell communication and shape-shifting tissue architecture during stasis, which is required to maintain their long-term developmental potential.


How to make stem cells truly pluripotent

2019 Velychko, Sergiy; Schöler, Hans R.

Cell Biology Developmental Biology

The overexpression of four specific transcription factors allows for reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can give rise to all cell types of the adult body. We found that overexpression of one of these factors,  Oct4, causes epigenetic changes that deteriorate the quality of the resultant iPSCs. Excluding Oct4 from the reprogramming cocktail leads to iPSCs with unprecedented developmental potential.


Coordination of growth and functionality of brain capillaries

2017 Herzog, Wiebke

Cell Biology Developmental Biology Genetics Medicine

The circulatory system not only supplies the body with oxygen and nutrients, but might also carry toxic compounds and pathogens. To enhance protection of the brain, cerebral blood vessels build the so-called blood-brain barrier. Our studies of the zebrafish brain vasculature show that blood vessel growth and building of the blood-brain barrier are coordinated by two interacting signaling pathways. As the same principles also apply to mammalian cells, the balance of these signaling pathways could be of relevance for human pathological conditions and their treatment.


Chromatin Architecture During Early Embryonic Development

2017 Vaquerizas, Juan M.

Cell Biology Developmental Biology Evolutionary Biology Genetics Immunobiology Infection Biology Medicine Structural Biology

The correct three-dimensional organisation of chromatin in the nucleus is a fundamental requirement for the proper functioning of the genome. As such, mutations in elements that determine this architecture lead to developmental disorders and cancer. In this work, chromatin conformation profiling in tightly staged Drosophila embryos revealed a dramatic reorganisation of chromatin that coincides with the zygotic genome activation.


Human heart tissue from pluripotent stem cells and its applications

2016 Greber, Boris

Cell Biology Developmental Biology

Pluripotent stem cells represent an amazing tool box for generating virtually any cell tissue of the human body such as, for instance, spontaneously beating cardiac muscle tissue. How this actually works and how the process can be controlled better was recently revealed. Two regulatory switches inside the cells need to be manipulated at the right time. This surprisingly simple procedure may be used for studying the mechanisms underlying genetic cardiac disorders and for evaluating putative drugs.

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