We Promote Talented Young Scientists

We Promote Talented Young Scientists

Exciting research topics, innovative science, state-of-the-art equipment and excellent supervision: the PhD program of our IMPRS.
Zooming in on Muscle Cells

Zooming in on Muscle Cells

Max Planck Institute’s researchers use electron cryo-tomography to reveal novel molecular details of skeletal sarcomeres
The beauty of cell division

The beauty of cell division

Cell division of human cells, imaged live by lattice light-sheet microscopy. Microtubules from the mitotic spindle (yellow) allow for the duplicated chromosomes (blue) to equally separate between the newly formed daughter cells.
 Making the Invisible Visible

Making the Invisible Visible

Cryo-electron microscopy enables us to determine the 3D structure of medically relevant protein complexes.
New techniques to uncover biology

New techniques to uncover biology

Bruno is working highly interdisciplinary, as a physicist he is developing microscopes and performing the biology to measure dynamics in living cells.
From Molecule to Man

From Molecule to Man

We conduct research across borders and dimensions – ranging from small chemical molecules to cellular networks.
Diversity Promotes Creativity

Diversity Promotes Creativity

The best ideas arise when people with different perspectives cooperate. At our institute, chemists, biologists and physicists from more than 30 countries work together.
From Basic Research to Applications

From Basic Research to Applications

We develop new active substances for innovative therapy approaches.
Creative Networks

Creative Networks

We explore how molecular signaling networks regulate the malignant behavior of cancer cells.
Nature 2.0

Nature 2.0

Principle and design of pseudo-natural products - new opportunities for bioactive small-molecule discovery

Welcome to the MPI of Molecular Physiology

Every day the trillions of cells in our bodies ensure that we are able to see, think, speak and move. How does each cell ‘know’ what to do? How can an organism arise from millions of nanometer-sized molecules although there is no blueprint? What actually is ‘life’? For centuries, philosophers and natural scientists have been trying to solve this mystery. Many questions remain unresolved to this day.

We want to know how the building blocks of the cells organize themselves and ensure that certain chemical reactions occur at the right time in the right place – or how errors lead to the development of diseases like cancer. To achieve this, we are studying the relevant processes on multiple levels – from single molecules and larger protein complexes to whole cells.


Herbert Waldmann honoured for pioneering contribution to Chemical Biology
The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology has awarded Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Herbert Waldmann the „Nauta Pharmacochemistry Award in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology“ 

Structure of key protein for cell division puzzles researchers
Max Planck Institute’s researchers provide a first 3D snapshot of the CCAN protein complex and raise fundamental questions towards the creation of artificial chromosomes

Special Honour for Max Planck Researcher Stefan Raunser
Stefan Raunser has been elected to the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Arts

Research at the Institute

Structure of the human inner kinetochore CCAN complex and its significance for human centromere organization
Structure of the RZZ complex and molecular basis of Spindly-driven corona assembly at human kinetochores
Structures from intact myofibrils reveal mechanism of thin filament regulation through nebulin
On the role of phase separation in the biogenesis of membraneless compartments
Structure of the Mon1-Ccz1 complex reveals molecular basis of membrane binding for Rab7 activation
Synthesis of 20-Membered Macrocyclic Pseudo-Natural Products Yields Inducers of LC3 Lipidation
Key Publications 2021
Synthesis of 20-Membered Macrocyclic Pseudo-Natural Products Yields Inducers of LC3 Lipidation
Targeted substrate loop insertion by VCP/p97 during PP1 complex disassembly
Small molecule modulation of the Drosophila Slo channel elucidated by cryo-EM
Molecular architecture of black widow spider neurotoxins
High-resolution structures of the actomyosin-V complex in three nucleotide states provide insights into the force generation mechanism.
 Mechanism of actin-dependent activation of nucleotidyl cyclase toxins from bacterial human pathogens
Exploiting non-covalent interactions in selective carbohydrate synthesis
A barbed end interference mechanism reveals how capping protein promotes nucleation in branched actin networks
Combination of pseudo-natural product design and formal natural product ring distortion yields stereochemically and biologically diverse pseudo-sesquiterpenoid alkaloids
Dynamic Catalytic Highly Enantioselective 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions
Assembly principles and stoichiometry of a complete human kinetochore module
Growth factor–dependent ErbB vesicular dynamics couple receptor signaling to spatially and functionally distinct Erk pools
Natural product fragment combination to performance-diverse pseudo-natural products
The molecular basis for sarcomere organization in vertebrate skeletal muscle
A self-organized synthetic morphogenic liposome responds with shape changes to local light cues
Cell-Based Identification of New IDO1 Modulator Chemotypes
Cryo-EM resolves molecular recognition of an optojasp photoswitch bound to actin filaments in both switch states
Overlap of NatA and IAP substrates implicates N-terminal acetylation in protein stabilization
CDC20 assists its catalytic incorporation in the mitotic checkpoint complex
Key Publications 2020
An excellent research infrastructure and the latest technologies feature Max Planck Institutes and offer an excellent working ground for young scientists.
People at the MPI
We are an international team of scientists from more than 30 nations dedicated to investigating the basic physical and biochemical processes in the cells at the molecular level
With great interest, we try to follow the career steps of our alumni and try not to lose track of them. The MPI Dortmund was a milestone in the career of many of them. There they not only met new friends but also established important scientific contacts. 
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