The Max Planck Institute for
Biophysical Chemistry (also available in English),
is a multidisciplinary institute, the departments of which are
variously equipped according to their methods, complementing and
collaborating with each other. The institute is the successor
the Max Planck Institutes for Physical Chemistry and for Spectroscopy,
both of which gave priority to using physics techniques to address
The inclusion of a number of departments specialising in biology,
across a range stretching from molecular biology through developmental
biology to neurobiology, extended the scope of research far beyond
that of the traditional discipline. The harnessing of physics, physico-chemical
and chemistry methods to biological research lead to the institute
being named the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.
The research spectrum extends from spectroscopy and photochemical
kinetics, through structure-function relationships at a molecular
level, organisation of cellular architecture, the mechanism of release
of neurotransmitters and hormones (membrane biophysics), to the
molecular components of protein transport (molecular genetics), the
analysis of development and differentiation processes in mammals
(molecular cell biology), as well as the molecular developmental
biology of the fruit fly. Since 1997, four new departments joined the
research groups at the institute, thus widening the spectrum of
research. The Department of Neurobiology is investigating the
mechanism of synaptic transmission. The Department Cellular
Biochemistry is studying the pre-RNA splicing mechanisms in the
nucleus. And the Department of NMR based Stuctural Biology, which
started working here in 2001, has moved in its own building in 2002.
In 2003, the head of a former independent research group has been made
another director at the institute and the new Department
NanoBiophotonics was founded.
In addition to the research departments the institute houses a
variety of department-associated research groups and 'nachwuchs'
groups (established young investigators selected by a formal
application and evaluation procedure). The Emeritus group of the
former director Manfred Eigen (Biochemical kinetiks) is employed on
theoretical and experimental research into the evolution of self
The Biomedical NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) research company
directed by J. Frahm is also based at the institute. This group is
engaged primarily on the development and application of magnetic
nuclear resonance for non-invasive tests of living systems.