History of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
The Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) was founded in 1964 with the appointment of Heinz-Günther Wittmann and Heinz Schuster as founding directors, shortly followed by the appointment of Thomas Trautner (1965). At this time, research at the MPIMG was focusing on DNA replication and gene regulation in bacteria, bacterial phage and fungi (Depts. Schuster and Trautner), as well as on the structure, function and evolution of ribosomes (Dept. Wittmann). In 1970, the three departments and four independent junior research groups, the later Otto Warburg Laboratories, moved into a new building at Ihnestraße.
After the untimely death of H.-G. Wittmann in 1990 and the retirement of H. Schuster in 1995, the appointments of Hans Lehrach (1994, Dept. of Vertebrate Genomics) and Hans-Hilger Ropers (full-time since 1997, Dept. of Human Molecular Genetics) brought about a major shift in the scientific orientation of the Institute. After the retirement of Thomas Trautner in 2000, Martin Vingron was appointed as head of the new Department for Computational Molecular Biology. Also in 2000, Stefan Mundlos, Professor of Genetics at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, was jointly appointed as head of the independent research group Development and Disease at MPIMG. In 2003, Bernhard Herrmann was appointed as director and head of the Department of Developmental Genetics (joint appointment with the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin).
Today, research at the MPIMG concentrates on genome analysis of man and other organisms to contribute to a global understanding of many of the biological processes in the organism, and to elucidate the mechanism behind many human diseases. It is the overall goal of the combined efforts of all MPIMG’s groups to gain new insights into the development of diseases on a molecular level, thus contributing to the development of cause-related new medical treatments.