The Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry with about 850 employees is one of the largest institutes of the Max Planck Society and it pursues a strong multi- and interdisciplinary approach. The 12 scientific departments and 22 independent research groups complement each other in terms of their methodology and focus and collaborate closely with one another as well as with colleagues nation- and worldwide.
Research at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry focuses on the fundamental mechanisms that regulate and control life processes. The classical natural sciences – biology, chemistry, and physics – are applied to tackle the question how cells, organelles and biomolecules fulfill their diverse tasks in the organism: How is the genetic information correctly translated into proteins? How do nerve cells communicate with each other? How is cellular logistics controlled? And how do protein aggregates damage cells? On the organismal level, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry study how living beings evolve, how their sleep-wake rhythm is controlled, or how genetic misregulation can lead to obesity and metabolic diseases. In addition, focusing on phenomena of inanimate nature, scientists elucidate the energy conversion processes at surfaces.
At the same time, the institute sees itself as the nucleus of the development of novel methods, which allow a sharpened view of the processes in the cell's nanocosmos. Successful examples of this are the patch-clamp method (Nobel Prize to physicist Erwin Neher and physician Bert Sakmann), the far-field microscopy on the nanometer scale (Nobel Prize to physicist Stefan W. Hell), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging, optical spectroscopy as well as high-resolution computer simulations.