Yearbook 2012

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To fit the two-meter long DNA molecule into a cell nucleus that is only a few thousandths of a millimeter in size, long sections of the DNA must be strongly compacted. Epigenetic marks maintain these sections, known as heterochromatin. The research group, led by Thomas Jenuwein, at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics investigates the molecular mechanisms necessary for the formation of heterochromatin. In particular, their research focuses on histone methylation. more
The research focus of the Akhtar laboratory is to study epigenetic mechanisms underlying sex-specific X chromosomal gene regulation. The dosage compensation of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) constitutes a paradigm example of epigenetic regulation. In 2012, two important aspects of this mechanism were discovered: Firstly, important insights into the structure of the protein complex responsible for the dosage compensation were revealed and secondly the Akhtar lab could demonstrate the manner by which a protein complex in the nucleus influences the dosage compensation. more
Neutrophils make up the majority of white blood cells in humans. They are part of the immune system and have many ways to fight pathogens. One of their strategies is to cast net-like extracellular structures called Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs). NETs consist of DNA, histones, and specific proteins. DNA and histones, however, are also responsible for organizing the genetic information and regulating the development of an organism. The Department of Cellular Microbiology works on this tight link between immunity and development. more

YAGO: Knowledge on the Web

Max Planck Institute for Informatics Suchanek, Fabian; Hoffart, Johannes; Weikum, Gerhard
YAGO is a large knowledge base, which we built up by information extraction techniques from Internet sources. YAGO contains about 10 million entities and concepts, and knows more than 100 million facts about them. We use techniques from logics to ensure the consistency of our data – YAGO has a false-positive rate of only 5%. YAGO is freely available for download and querying. YAGO is already being used in some semantic projects, and could be the starting point for a new generation of search engines. more
After more than 25 years of research on HIV and AIDS, there is still no approved therapy that would eradicate the virus from an infected patient. At the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, new bioinformatics methods have been developed that, in a patient-specific manner, predict the applicability of a new class of drugs, which block the entry of the virus into human cells. They have investigated the properties of viral and human proteins participating in viral cell entry, and showed how to improve antibody test panels for HIV vaccine development. more
Also poorer countries possess a large potential of creativity. To bring creative works from these countries to the market, it is not copyright alone that matters, but also competition law. Due to the large diversity of the markets, however, there is very little knowledge about the application of competition law to copyright-related markets. A survey of this practice shows that competition law may not only be applied with the objective of controlling anti-competitive use of the copyright by right-holders, but also as an element of a policy against copyright piracy. more
As a regulatory institution, the patent system must be embedded within the general social and economic framework. Along the lines of the “Declaration on a Balanced Interpretation of the Three-Step Test in Copyright Law”, the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law has initiated a study on the interpretation of international treaties in the area of intellectual property with the aim of highlighting the regulatory autonomy that States enjoy in designing their national patent laws. more
With the claim “Connecting Science and Business” Max Planck Innovation is partner of both science and industry. Our interdisciplinary team provides consulting and support for scientists in evaluating inventions, applying for patents, and founding companies. We offer industry a central point of access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. We thus provide the important function of transferring the results of basic research into economically and socially useful products. more
Metallic nanostructures feature plasmonic resonances which spatially confine light on the nanometer scale. In the ultimate limit of a single nanostructure, the electromagnetic field can be strongly concentrated in a volume of only a few hundred nm3 or less. We utilize such plasmonic focusing for hydrogen detection at the single particle level, which avoids any inhomogeneous broadening and statistical effects that would occur in sensors based on nanoparticle ensembles. This concept paves the road towards the observation of single catalytic processes in nanoreactors. more
Our research goal is to define in a mathematical precise way how visual perception works. We want to describe how intelligent systems understand images. To this end we study probabilistic models and statistical learning. Encoding prior knowledge about the world is complemented with automatic learning from training data. One aspect is being able to identify physical factors in images, such as lighting, geometry, and materials. Furthermore we want to automatically recognize and give names to objects and persons in images and understand the scene as a whole.  more
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