OMEICOS Therapeutics: Novel therapy for the treatment of atrial fibrillation

Our heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute, around 42 million times per year. Disturbances of the heart’s rhythm – so called arrhythmia- occur frequently, in particular in older people. Atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, typically represents with irregular palpitations, often associated with shortness of breath and anxiety attacks. Today, around 5-10 million patients in Europe suffer from atrial fibrillation and this number will further increase due to the demographic development. This growth is critical since the disease is associated with stroke, myocardial infarction and mortality. A major increase in its economic impact on public health systems is foreseeable.

No. 21/December 6, 2013

MDC Researchers Discover Why Basal Breast Cancer Can Be So Aggressive

Targets Identified for the Development of New Treatments

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. One subtype of breast cancer is particularly aggressive: estrogen receptor (ER)-negative basal breast cancer. Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have now elucidated the key factors for the aggressiveness of this subtype and at the same time have identified targets for the development of new and more effective treatments. The study by Dr. Jane Holland, Regina Vogel, Prof. Walter Birchmeier and other members of the MDC research group, Dr. Balász Györffy (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary) as well as pathologists of the Charité and Dr. Klaus Eckert (EPO Experimental Pharmacology and Oncology GmbH) has now been published online in the open access journal Cell Reports*.

No. 20/November 20, 2013

Curt Meyer Memorial Prize for Dr. Dr. Sandrine Sander of the MDC

New Key Element Discovered in Pathogenesis of Burkitt’s Lymphoma

The cancer researcher Dr. Dr. Sandrine Sander of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch has been honored with the Curt Meyer Memorial Prize for her research into the development of Burkitt’s lymphoma, a malignant, fast-growing tumor that most commonly occurs in childhood. The prize, which is endowed with 10,000 euros, was presented to the 36-year-old scientist at a symposium in Berlin on November 19, 2013.

No. 19/November 8, 2013

MDC Researchers Gain New Insights into the Process of Axon Myelination

Dr. Tamara Grigoryan from the research group of Professor Walter Birchmeier at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch has gained new insights into the formation and differentiation of axons, through which nerve cells receive or transmit information. Axons can be myelinated (wrapped in a myelin sheath) – allowing for faster nerve impulse conduction – or non-myelinated (without a myelin sheath). In collaboration with the research group of Professor Carmen Birchmeier, developmental biologist at the MDC, Dr. Grigoryan showed in mice how axon myelination or non-myelination is regulated in the peripheral nervous system (PNAS, doi: /10.1073/pnas.1310490110)*.

No. 18/November 7, 2013

Professor Klaus Rajewsky Awarded Honorary Medal in Weimar

The immunologist Professor Klaus Rajewsky of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch has been awarded the Honorary Medal 2013 of the Signal Transduction Society (STS) and the Journal Cell Communication and Signaling (CCS) for his pioneering work on the genetic analysis of signal transduction pathways in mouse models. With its highest honor, the Society recognizes Professor Rajewsky’s development of a technique enabling targeted time- and tissue-specific activation or inactivation of genes in mice. The Medal was presented to him at the 17th meeting of the STS on November 6, 2013 in Weimar, Germany.

No. 17/November 4, 2013

Humboldt-Fellowship for Young American Researcher in Berlin

Dr. Jean-Yves K. Tano from the University of Toledo Medical College in Toledo, Ohio, USA has received an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers to work in Germany. He joined the research group of Professor Maik Gollasch at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), a joint cooperation between the Charité –  Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch in November this year, after having completed two months of German classes at the Goethe Institute in Berlin.

No. 16/October 8, 2013

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: MDC Researchers Uncover Why the Disease Progresses and Becomes Resistant to Drug Treatment

Cancer researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have identified a molecular mechanism of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) that causes the disease to progress and become resistant to drug treatment. In a current study, Dr. Marina Scheller (now at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf) and Professor Achim Leutz report that these two processes in CML – disease progression and drug resistance – are directly associated with each other due to crosstalk between two cellular signaling pathways. Their findings may lead to new strategies for developing combination treatments to halt the dreaded progression of the disease (Journal of Experimental Medicine, doi:10.1084/jem.20130706)*.

No. 15/September 27, 2013

ERC Advanced Grant for Professor Thomas Willnow

Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity Are Major Risk Factors for Alzheimer`s Disease

Professor Thomas Willnow of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany, has been granted 2,4 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC) in Strasbourg, France, for the next five years. He was one of 284 top researchers in Europe, who received this prestigious ERC Advanced Research Grant in 2013. Overall the ERC has received 2 408 applications for this grant.

No. 14/July 22, 2013

Two MDC Research Groups Receive Helmholtz Grants for International Collaborations

“Role of Kinins in Obesity” and “Metabolism and Neurodegeneration”

Two research groups of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, a member of the Helmholtz Association, can now strengthen their collaborations with partner institutions in Brazil and Denmark. Professor Michael Bader and Professor Thomas Willnow have been awarded grants of a total of EUR 150,000 each over the next three years from the new funding program “Helmholtz International Research Groups”. The grants will be matched with the same amount from the respective cooperating countries.

No. 13/July 17, 2013

US Neuroscientist Coming to the MDC on an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship

The American neuroscientist Dr. Sonya B. Dumanis from Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA will come to the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin-Buch on a research fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), which will begin this summer. The young researcher, who just received her doctorate in the U.S., will work for two years in the research group of Professor Thomas Willnow. There she will study the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

No. 12/July 3, 2013

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Prof. Yehudit Bergman from Israel

Cooperation with the Max Delbrück Center

The Israeli immunologist and cancer researcher Professor Yehudit Bergman of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (HUJI), Israel, has been honored with the Helmholtz International Fellow Award for her excellent research. The award allows her to strengthen an already existing cooperation with the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch. Professor Bergman is one of a total of 13 outstanding researchers from abroad who received the award, each of which is endowed with 20,000 euros. According to the Helmholtz Association, the award also includes an invitation to a flexible research stay at a Helmholtz center.

No. 11/ June 21, 2013

Surprising Discovery about Alzheimer’s Enzyme

Key Player in the Formation and Function of Muscle Spindles

The enzyme beta-secretase generates amyloid-beta peptides, the constituents of the damaging amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. In order to halt the disease, researchers are developing drugs aiming to block the enzyme. However, Bace1, as the enzyme is abbreviated, is full of surprises. Together with the growth factor Neuregulin-1, Bace1 is essential for the formation and maintenance of the function of muscle spindles, which ensure a constant muscle tone and protect muscles from overstretching. As the developmental biologist Dr. Cyril Cheret from the research group of Professor Carmen Birchmeier at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch demonstrated on mice, the muscle spindles do not form properly when Bace1 is lacking during development. Moreover, inhibition of Bace1 activity in adult suffices to severely impair muscle spindle function (EMBO Journal, doi:10.1038/emboj.2013.146)*.

No. 10/June 10, 2013

Scientists from Kiel and Berlin Identify New Genetic Risk Loci for Atopic Dermatitis

In collaboration with researchers from England, Ireland and Switzerland as well as the U.S., Japan and China, scientists in Kiel and Berlin have identified variants in four gene regions which strongly increase the risk for atopic dermatitis. The results of the study conducted by the Department of Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology, the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology (IKMB) of the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), Campus Kiel, Kiel University (CAU), the Cluster of Excellence Inflammation at Interfaces, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, and the Department of Pediatric Allergology of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC) of the Charité and the MDC have now been published in the journal Nature Genetics (

May 28, 2013


European research centres in life sciences gather to foster excellence in research, share knowledge, and influence policy

BARCELONA/BRUSSELS, May 28, 2013 – Tomorrow, at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), in Barcelona, directors and staff from ten top European research institutes will kick off a new alliance, called EU-LIFE, that will promote European research ( The mission of EU-LIFE is to foster excellence, share knowledge, and influence policies in life sciences. Partners in EU-LIFE are renowned research centers that operate with similar principles of excellence, external reviews, independence, competiveness, and internationality. During difficult economic times and within a highly competitive international research landscape, they believe that they can join forces to better address complex questions, thereby contributing to pushing European science forward.

No. 9/ May 27, 2013

German and Israeli Scientists Gain New Insights into Protein Disposal

Cells have a sophisticated system to control and dispose of defective, superfluous proteins and thus to prevent damage to the body. Dr. Katrin Bagola and Professor Thomas Sommer of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch as well as Professor Michael Glickman and Professor Aaron Ciechanover of Technion, the Technical University of Israel in Haifa, have now discovered a new function of an enzyme that is involved in this vital process. Using yeast cells as a model organism, the researchers showed that a specific factor, abbreviated Cue1, is not only a receptor and activator for a component of the degradation apparatus, but also contributes to ensuring that the defective protein is marked with a molecular tag for degradation (Molecular Cell, doi: org/10.1016/j.molcel.2013.04.005)*.

No. 8/ May 22, 2013

Max Delbrück Medal for US Stem Cell Pioneer Professor Irving Weissman

The American stem cell researcher Professor Irving Weissman of Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA, has received the Max Delbrück Medal of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Berlin-Buch, Germany on the evening of May 21, 2013. With this medal the MDC honors the stem cell research of Professor Weissman, who has been at the forefront of this field for decades.

No. 7/ May 13, 2013

Serotonin Mediates Exercise-Induced Generation of New Neurons

New Insights Gained by MDC Researchers in Experiments on Mice

Mice that exercise in running wheels exhibit increased neurogenesis in the brain. Crucial to this process is serotonin signaling. These are the findings of a study by Dr. Friederike Klempin, Daniel Beis and Dr. Natalia Alenina from the research group led by Professor Michael Bader at the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) Berlin-Buch. Surprisingly, mice lacking brain serotonin due to a genetic mutation exhibited normal baseline neurogenesis. However, in these serotonin-deficient mice, activity-induced proliferation was impaired, and wheel running did not induce increased generation of new neurons. (Journal of Neuroscience, Doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5855-12.2013)*.

No. 6/April 11, 2013

New Findings on the Brain’s Immune Cells during Alzheimer’s Disease Progression

The plaque deposits in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients are surrounded by the brain’s own immune cells, the microglia. This was already recognized by Alois Alzheimer more than one hundred years ago. But until today it still remains unclear what role microglia play in Alzheimer’s disease. Do they help to break down the plaque deposit? A study by researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has now shed light on these mysterious microglia during the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. (PLoS One, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060921)*.

No. 5/April 10, 2013

The surprising ability of blood stem cells to respond to emergencies

A research team of Inserm, CNRS and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch lead by Dr. Michael Sieweke of the Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille Luminy (CIML, CNRS*, INSERM**, Aix Marseille Université) and MDC, today revealed an unexpected role for hematopoietic stem cells: they do not merely ensure the continuous renewal of our blood cells; in emergencies they are capable of producing white blood cells “on demand” that help the body deal with inflammation or infection. This property could be used to protect against infections in patients undergoing bone marrow transplants, while their immune system reconstitutes itself (Nature,***.

No. 4/April 5, 2013

MDC and FMP Researchers Identify Edema Inhibitor

Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and the Leibniz Institute of Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) in Berlin-Buch, Germany, have now detected a substance that can prevent the accumulation of fluid in body tissue and thus edema formation. The results of Dr. Jana Bogum (MDC/FMP) from the MDC research group led by Professor Walter Rosenthal and PD Dr. Enno Klußmann could be important in the future for the treatment of excessive fluid retention in patients with chronic heart failure. Using a novel approach, the researchers have also discovered a new molecular mechanism controlling water homeostasis in the kidneys (Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, doi:10.1681/ASN.2012030295)*.


No. 3/March 26, 2013

New Insights into the Development of the Heart

Research Findings Contribute to Understanding Malformations

Viewed from the outside, our body looks completely symmetrical. However, most internal organs – including the heart – are formed asymmetrically. The right side of the heart is responsible for pulmonary circulation; the left side supplies the rest of the body. This asymmetry allows the heart to do its job effectively. In a study on zebrafish embryos, the researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch Dr. Justus Veerkamp and PD Dr. Salim Seyfried have now shown how the left and right sides of the heart develop differently. Their findings were published in the journal Developmental Cell (doi:*.

No. 2/March 14, 2013

Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers Awarded to MDC Researcher Dr. James Poulet

March 14, 2013 – For his outstanding achievements in biomedical research, the British neuroscientist Dr. James Poulet of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch has received the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers. The prize, endowed with 60,000 euros, was awarded to the researcher in St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Dr. Poulet works in the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence at the Charité in Berlin. According to the prize announcement issued by the Paul Ehrlich Foundation, Dr. Poulet’s research furthers our understanding of the neuronal basis of behavior. His work is of fundamental importance for the development of artificial joints and prostheses.

No. 1/March 7, 2013

International Study: Excess Dietary Salt May Drive the Development of Autoimmune Diseases

Increased dietary salt intake can induce a group of aggressive immune cells that are involved in triggering and sustaining autoimmune diseases. This is the result of a study conducted by Dr. Markus Kleinewietfeld, Prof. David Hafler (both Yale University, New Haven and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and Harvard University, USA), PD Dr. Ralf Linker (Dept. of Neurology, University Hospital Erlangen), Professor Jens Titze (Vanderbilt University and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, FAU, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) and Professor Dominik N. Müller (Experimental and Clinical Research Center, ECRC, a joint cooperation between the Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, MDC, Berlin, and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and FAU) (Nature, doi:*. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy tissue instead of fighting pathogens.

January 29, 2013

Prevent influenza virus infections systematically

ViroSign - an interdisciplinary BMBF funded network