Research Fields of the IMPRS

WELCOME to the International Max Planck Research School for Cell, Developmental and Systems Biology (IMPRS-CellDevoSys), originally established by the Max Planck Society as IMPRS for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering in 2001. The change of name reflects our recent initiative to incorporate systems biology, computational biology and physics to the more traditional fields of cell and developmental biology.

"How do cells form tissue?" continues to be the central questions of the research carried out by the IMPRS-CellDevoSys, involving the study of molecular mechanisms of eukaryotic cells and their role in tissue formation. The spectrum of the research extends from the analysis of individual molecules to that of model organisms; it includes experimental, computational and theoretical approaches that aim at understanding complex cellular and developmental processes.

The Challenging research, interdisciplinary training, expert supervision and state-of-art facilities characterize the IMPRS-CellDevoSys, which is dedicated to providing exemplary conditions for young scientists in a highly attractive and inspiring environment. Outstanding university graduates who wish to work towards a PhD in the fields of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, Computational and Systems Biology, Genetics, Biophysics, and Computer Science are welcome to become part of the vibrant and international research scene in Dresden.


The IMPRS-CellDevoSys is a joint program of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), the Max Planck Institute of the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS) and the Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden (TUD). It is the partner of, and cooperates with, the Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering (DIGS-BB), which has been awarded to the TUD by the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state government in 2006. Together, they form the Dresden International PhD Program (DIPP). Admission to the IMPRS-CellDevoSys is highly competitive; it includes affiliation and participation in the DIGS-BB.

Program Board

The Program Board directs the IMPRS-CellDevoSys, it is responsible for strategic decisions and its implementation.

Wieland B. Huttner, Spokesperson IMPRS
Birgit Knepper-Nicolai, Coordinator
Elisabeth Knust, Vice-Spokesperson
Ivo F. Sbalzarini, Co-Spokesperson

Participating Institutions / Research Centers

Dresden provides an exciting and challenging scientific environment that not only provides a unique combination of scientific expertise in cell and developmental biology, medicine, biophysics and nanotechnology, but also reaches out towards its translation into regenerative medicine and applied bioengineering. PhD students are part of, and profit, from the inspiring and international atmosphere, and the ongoing collaborative and cross-disciplinary research conducted by the participating institutions. State-of-the-art research centers and facilities provide the infrastructure for an internationally recognized excellent research and training environment to the benefit of young researchers.

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG)

The MPI-CBG has been created in an exciting period of biomedical science: the first four eukaryotic genomes have been sequenced, including the human genome. This flood of sequence information provides unique possibilities for understanding cellular function. Within this context, the institute focuses on the following questions: How do cells organize themselves, what is the machinery responsible for cellular organization and how does the machinery change to generate the specialised cell types of multicellular organisms, and how do the various cell types assemble to form tissues? To answer these questions, the institute merges molecular cell biology with developmental biology. This challenge will be met by a combination of experimental strategies which include novel genetic, morphological and biophysical approaches.

Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS)

The research at the institute in the field of the physics of complex systems ranges from classical to quantum physics and focuses on three main areas, which correspond to the activities in the divisions "Electronic Correlations". "Finite Systems" and "Biological Physics". The institute hosts a visitors progam, and a large scale seminar program including workshops. The aim is to boost new promising research directions and to provide faster contact of young scientists with the rapidly evolving spectrum of new research topics in the broad field of the physics of complex systems.

TUD - Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD)

The molecular biosciences provide unique prospects to enhance tissue and organ regeneration. The goal of the CRTD is to develop advanced treatments for haemato-oncological, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, diabetic and bone diseases. Dresden has o utstanding expertise in the life science disciplines (medicine, molecular cell- and developmental biology, stem cell research, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics) and engineering (tissue engineering, biomaterials science, chemistry, nanotechnology), providing a fertile ground for a broad interdisciplinary effort towards developing regenerative therapies. The DFG research center will capitalize on basic research in regenerating model organisms to understand stem cell recruitment, activation, proliferation, homing and differentiation, and will apply this knowledge to control these cellular processes using genetics, surface engineering and microdevices in order to elicit regenerative responses.

TUD - Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

The Department of Biology, established in 1993 as part of the Faculty of Science, consists of professors and about 50 scientists who work in the area of basic and applied biology. Topics include genetics, cell and developmental biology, organismic botany and zoology, endocrinology, parasitology, microbiology, and bio(nano)technology. The new Biology building, an architectural highlight of the University campus completed in 2006, forms the perfect frame for interdisciplinary research and offers ideal working places with state-of-the-art technology for more than 400 students in the fields of Biology and Molecular Biotechnology.

TUD - Biotechnological Center (Biotec)

The Biotechnological Centre (Biotec) of the Technische Universität Dresden is a unique interdisciplinary centre focussing on research and teaching in molecular bioengineering. The Biotec hosts top international research groups dedicated to genomics, proteomics, biophysics, cellular machine, tissue engineering, and bioinformatics. The Biotec has some 150 members of staff from over twenty different countries. Researchers have diverse backgrounds covering biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering. The Biotec provides excellent lab facilities and infrastructure with close links to companies residing in the same building.

TUD - Medical Theoretical Center (MTZ)

The Medical Theoretical Center (MTZ) houses a number of departments and institutes, which are dedicated to basic and preclinical research. This modern, rectangular building, inaugurated in 2000, features state-of-the-art laboratories including S1 and S2 areas, core facilities such as confocal microscopy, FACS and laboratory animal facilities, seminar rooms and lecture halls, and an open-air atrium in its center. Anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, immunology, cardiovascular research, experimental diabetology, pharmacology, microbiology, clinical sensoring and imaging, and virology are established in the MTZ, which also has space to temporarily accommodate additional research groups based on their project needs. Located on the Carus Campus of the Medical Faculty, the MTZ is in close distance to the MPI-CBG and BioInnovation Center and a key element within the interactive biomedical community.


TUD - Centre for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH)

The Centre for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH) is a central scientific unit of the Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden. The ZIH operates high-end supercomputers and offers training in high performance computing and mathematical/computational biology. The international team at ZIH develops efficient algorithms and software tools for data-intensive computing with one focus on mechanistic models of biological systems.

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