Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences

Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences

The Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences was founded on 1 January 2022 through the merger of two existing Göttingen institutes, the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry and the MPI for Experimental Medicine. The two locations of the institutes remained as City Campus and Faßberg Campus.

At the Institute, we explore scientific issues ranging from physics and chemistry to structural and cell biology, neuroscience and biomedical research. Basic research in the natural sciences can thus be linked even more effectively with medical research approaches.

We are guided by the conviction that great scientific discoveries can be achieved when scientists from different disciplines and research cultures - such as physics, chemistry and biology - work together and exchange ideas in an unbiased way.


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

PhD opportunities

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

IMPRS for Molecular Biology
IMPRS for Physics of Biological and Complex Systems
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


Department NMR based Structural Biology


Department Theoretical and Computational Biophysics


Department Tissue Dynamics and Regeneration


Department Molecular Developmental Biology


Department Membrane Biophysics


Department Molecular Biology of Neuronal Signals


Scientists visualize the ubiquitin ligase HACE1 bound to an important target protein


Researchers recreate chromatin from yeast in the laboratory and decipher its 3D structure


The capsid of the virus acts as a molecular transporter


The scientist investigates how large molecules are transported between the cell nucleus and cytoplasm


High-resolution images provide new insights into cellular fatty acid production.

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Nothing works with incomprehensible code – not even a cell. Patrick Cramer is carrying out research on the enzyme that transcribes the DNA code to enable a protein to be synthesized from a gene. To do so, he relies on high-resolution microscopes and artificial intelligence.

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.

PhD Student (f/m/d) | Microtubule Nanomechanics and Turnover under Cell-like Physical Constraints

Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, Göttingen June 10, 2024

How HIV smuggles its genetic material into the cell nucleus

2023 Fu, Liran; Görlich, Dirk

Cell Biology Immunobiology Medicine Structural Biology

More than one million people become infected with the AIDS virus HIV every year. In order to infect its host, the virus must not only enter a cell but also transport its genetic material into the cell nucleus and integrate it into a chromosome. We have now discovered that the capsid of the virus has evolved into a molecular transporter. As such, the capsid can directly pass a central line of defense of the nucleus, which otherwise protects against viral invaders. This smuggling strategy keeps the HIV genome hidden from the antiviral sensors in the cytoplasm.


Errors at the beginning of life

2021 Cavazza, Tommaso; Wartosch, Lena; Schuh, Melina

Cell Biology Developmental Biology Medicine

Only one in three fertilizations results in the birth of a baby. Many embryos do not develop to term because they carry an incorrect number of chromosomes; they are aneuploid. We study how aneuploidy arises at the beginning of life. Aneuploidy in embryos is a main cause of pregnancy loss and infertility. It often results from chromosome segregation errors in the egg, but also frequently arises in the early embryo. Our recent work shows that aneuploidy often develops when the genetic material from both parents combines after fertilization. This is due to a remarkably inefficient process.


The surface chemistry of catalysis

2020 Wodtke, Alec


Heterogeneous catalysis accelerates reactions important to transportation, environmental and energy processes. Improving our basic understanding of surface chemistry is crucial to overcoming the current trial and error approaches to finding new catalysts and to explain newly discovered phenomena in nature. Our research develops improved means of observing reactions important to catalysis, providing precise data against which new theories of surface chemistry can be developed. Our aim is to understand surface chemistry on the atomic scale and ultimately to predict new catalysts from theory.


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.


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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