Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems

A production plant in the chemical or biotechnology industry is as complex as a living being: innumerable components are in operation to produce a product. A large number of processes influence each other and even compete with each other, and it is often not clear why a process works or, more importantly, why it does not. The scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems therefore investigate biological as well as technical processes. Engineers, chemists, physicists, biologists and mathematicians develop mathematical models for this purpose. In the case of technical processes, they try out these models in their own testing plants. They then design suitable controls so that the processes in the plants do not unexpectedly come to a halt or get out of control. The researchers also use their findings as a basis for developing completely new processing concepts that are significantly more efficient.


Sandtorstr. 1
39106 Magdeburg
Phone: +49 391 6110-0
Fax: +49 391 6110-500

PhD opportunities

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

IMPRS for Advanced Methods in Process and Systems Engineering

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

Department System Theoretical Fundamentals of Process and Bioprocess Engineering


Department System and signal oriented Bioprocess Engineering


Department Physical and Chemical Fundamentals of Process Engineering


Highly concentrated reproduction of some flaviviruses in bioreactors will become possible

On the path to an artificial cell

With the integration of a rudimentary metabolic function into a tiny droplet, a step has been made towards advancing the borders of life

Fighting malaria with green chemical synthesis

A new production process could make the active ingredient artemisinin available to millions of malaria patients all over the world

Exploiting Big Data to create innovative materials

Twelve Max Planck Society facilities are bundling their expertise in the data-driven materials sciences

Zika virus successfully produced in the laboratory

Max Planck scientists fulfil a key requirement for further research on Zika virus and for the production of vaccines


In the event of an impending global flu pandemic, vaccine production could quickly reach its limits, as flu vaccines are still largely produced in embryonated chicken eggs. Udo Reichl, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, and his colleagues have therefore been working on a fully automated method for production in cell cultures that could yield vaccines in large quantities in a crisis.

Mathematics in the Borderlands

1/2014 Environment & Climate

Normally, Peter Benner and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg work on complicated numerical methods to optimize the automatic control of technical systems and equipment. Recently, however, their research was applied to resolve a political conflict centering around drug cultivation, herbicide spraying and border violations in South America.

Wood waste and straw contain valuable substances for the chemical industry, and these substances are what chemists from the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim an der Ruhr and the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg want to get their hands on. The researchers are looking for ways to convert biomass into useful chemical compounds and use them as energy sources or raw materials.

PhD Student (f/m/d) “Mathematical modelling and optimization of artificial metabolic networks”

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg September 10, 2019

Master thesis "Development of cell-free enzyme cascade for in-vitro glycosylation"

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg September 06, 2019

Postdoctoral Research Position – Simulation, Optimization and Model Order Reduction for Power Systems

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg August 26, 2019

PhD position - Molecular biology / Biotechnology

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg March 18, 2019

Optimization and control of chemical separation processes

2018 Kienle, Achim

Cell Biology Chemistry Complex Systems Structural Biology

Preparative chromatographic processes play an important role for the separation of complex mixtures. Recent research at the Max Planck Institute in Magdeburg aims at better understanding, systematic design as well as automatic control of these processes. Special focus in this contribution is on model based analysis of processes with implicit adsorption isotherms and a new self learning control concept for simulated moving bed processes.


Computer-aided design of microbial cell factories

2017 Steffen Klamt, Björn-Johannes Harder, Axel von Kamp

Cell Biology Chemistry Complex Systems Microbiology Structural Biology

A key principle for the rational design of cell factories is the stoichiometric coupling of growth and product synthesis, which makes production of the desired compound obligatory for growth. Using mathematical models and new computational algorithms, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Magdeburg showed that coupling of growth and production is feasible under appropriate genetic interventions for almost all metabolites in five major production organisms. These results are of fundamental importance for rational metabolic engineering in biotechnology.


Development of a novel tubular bioreactor for continuous production of influenza virus vaccines

2016 Tapia, Felipe; Genzel, Yvonne; Reichl, Udo

Complex Systems Infection Biology Medicine

An increasing world population and fast spread of old and new influenza virus strains demands more efficient vaccine production methods. One approach is the use of coupled continuous bioreactors. Unfortunately, accumulation of defective interfering particles (DIPs) leads to unstable virus yields. As an alternative we have designed a novel plug-flow tubular bioreactor system, providing high influenza virus titers for up to three weeks in continuous mode using suspension MDCK cells. This novel platform can be used for other viruses and help reduce vaccine manufacturing costs worldwide.


Iterative solvers for phase field models

2015 Stoll, Martin

Complex Systems Computer Science Material Sciences Mathematics

Phase field models are a crucial tool in the modeling of complex phenomena. In this context, simulation can help to avoid or reduce the number of costly experiments. For this it is necessary to work with efficient algorithms. Here, we describe iterative solvers that deal with the discretized differential equation models and thus allow for an accurate solution of the problems.


Coupling of continuous reaction and separation processes

2014 Horosanskaia, Elena; Horváth, Zoltán; Lee, Ju Weon; Lorenz, Heike; Seidel-Morgenstern, Andreas

Chemistry Complex Systems

Bulk chemicals are typically produced using processes, which supply the product stream in a continuous manner. In contrast, the production of fine chemical and pharmaceutical ingredients is characterized by batch-wise operation, connected with dead times, fluctuating product qualities and reduced productivity. This contribution summarizes selected results of several research projects devoted to promote continuous production processes.

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