Science and Animal Research

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in the Helmholtz Association is the largest non-university biomedical research institute in Berlin. The research conducted at the MDC is of excellent quality: In spring 2012, an international group of experts awarded the MDC the best rating of “outstanding”.

Scientists at the MDC are working to decipher molecular mechanisms in cells, organs and organ systems. Through their research they hope to gain an understanding of the processes and the molecular causes of disease and health in humans, to provide more targeted treatments and improve diagnosis and prevention.

The human body is extremely complex. To gain a detailed understanding of the processes involved in a disease, how a therapeutic substance works, and resolve many other questions of medical relevance, it is usually necessary to examine a whole, living body with its many tissues and organs. Since such experiments can't be performed directly on humans until safety is ensured as far as possible, animal experiments are usually the only alternative. 

On the following pages you can find more information on why and how we use animals in our research as well as how we participate in public debates on the issue.


We investigate the root causes of disease

We investigate what causes diseases to help better recognize, treat and prevent them. At the current level of science, we will not be able to make advances in biomedical research without the use of animal testing for the foreseeable future.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare at the MDC

No one at the MDC likes causing animals distress or taking their lives. We are highly aware of the responsibility we bear toward the animals we use, and we take German animal welfare legislation, which is among the strictest worldwide, very seriously.



Care of animals at the MDC

The Animal Facilities department is responsible for the care of all animals kept at the MDC. The department is responsible for organizing the breeding and maintenance of the laboratory animals, ensuring they are kept clean and healthy, and for training the animal care staff and advising scientists on animal breeding matters.


Facts and Figures



In dialogue

We take the debate surrounding animal welfare and animal testing very seriously. No one at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in the Helmholtz Association treats the topic lightly. We are aware of the ethical debates surrounding the topic and regularly engage in public dialogues on the topic.

Finding information

More Information

Various organizations publish comprehensive and up-to-date information on the topic of animal testing.