The MDC Mission

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) carries out basic biomedical research with the aim of understanding the molecular basis of health and disease, and translating these findings as quickly as possible into clinical application. The research involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as their prevention.

MDC 25 years

Research Highlights

Cartographers in the genome labyrinth

The 3D landscapes of the genome have to change all the time. Otherwise genes would not be expressed properly and physiology would be in disarray. Ana Pombo’s group is mapping this genomic regulation.


Inducing an identity crisis in liver cells may help diabetics

Francesca Spagnoli's team reprogrammed cells from the liver of mice to become precursor cells of the pancreas by altering a single gene. The results could help diabetics in the future.


Further research highlights


How naked mole-rats defy lack of oxygen

When oxygen runs low in their underground burrows, naked mole rats have a unique method of survival. Their metabolism switches from a glucose-based system, which depends on oxygen, to one that makes use of fructose. For a while this suffices to protect sensitive organs such as the heart and brain.


Mission Control for the body’s salt and water supplies

We've all heard it: eating salty foods makes you thirstier. But what sounds like good nutritional advice turns out to be an old-wives' tale. In a study carried out during a simulated mission to Mars, an international group of scientists has found exactly the opposite to be true. “Cosmonauts” who ate more salt retained more water, weren't as thirsty, and needed more energy.


Position paper: Alliance of Science Organizations supports the “March for Science”

A position paper explains why the Alliance of Science Organiziations supports the March for Science.


Further news on MDC Insights