The name change reflects new and more diverse fields of research in the life sciences and opens the door for future developments.
The origin of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology leads to Berlin of the late 1930s. At the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes of Biochemistry and Biology in the Dahlem district, scientists realized the importance of viruses as model organisms for understanding biological processes and therefore established a working group in the field of virus research.
The establishment of a separate working group for virus research around Nobel Prize winner Adolf Butenandt took place in 1941. Two years later, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology was relocated to Tübingen, which became the Max Planck Institute for Biology after the war.
In 1957, the virus researchers then gained their independence with the founding of the Max Planck Institute for Virus Research. The Max Planck Institute for Biology was closed due to consolidation measures years after the reunification of Germany in 2004, while the subsidiary institute experienced a new flourishing after being renamed the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.
The institute's greatest success was the award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard in 1995, when the Director of the Department of Genetics had shown to the world that the genetic basis of evolution in animals, from insects to mammals, is remarkably similar.
"Our basic research already addresses key questions in biology, in microbes, algae, plants and animals, including the complex interactions between organisms," said Detlef Weigel, Managing Director, explaining the name change. Together with the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, which provides internationally visible research for scientists at the beginning of their independent careers, the diversification strategy at the Max Planck Institute of Biology will continue in the coming years.
Ruth Ley, who will take over as Managing Director on January 1, 2022, continues: "We will continue to expand our research approaches, which range from biochemistry and cell biology to genome research in an evolutionary and ecological context, in an open-topic manner."