The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB)
Systems Biology integrates high-throughput technologies, mathematics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, biochemistry and engineering to derive predictive, quantitative models for biological systems, which may be molecules, cells, organisms or entire species. In combination with biomedical research, Systems Biology has the potential to steer medicine into the next century of personalized medicine.
The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) was initiated and developed by Nikolaus Rajewsky (BIMSB Scientific Director). BIMSB is an expansion of the MDC into Medical Systems Biology. BIMSB received, starting 2008, 19 Mio € kick-off funding through the competitive federal initiative “Spitzenforschung in den neuen Bundesländern” (BMBF & Senate Berlin). After a highly successful external peer-review, the BMBF decided to provide additional institutionalized funding for BIMSB (17.5 Mio € /year + 2.5 Mio € /year MDC “Eigenanteil”). The Humboldt University included BIMSB in their successful participation in the “Exzellenzinitiative” and provided the real estate on the new life science Campus in Berlin Mitte. This neighborhood is important for the BIMSB scientific mission and promotes collaborations between the HU and the MDC. The BMBF provides additional money for the new building (33.5 Mio €).
So far,BIMSBresearchers newly acquired additional 38 Mio € in competitive third-party funds by the BMBF, DFG
, EC, HFSP, NIH, industry, BIH
Total external funding to date: 57 Mio € (competitively acquired) + 86 Mio € (institutionalized funding by the BMBF).
BIMSB and the Institut Curie (Paris) co-coordinate LifeTime, a pan-European initiative involving 50+ research institutes in 18 countries. Its goal is to track the molecular make-up of human cells in time and space at single cell resolution in order to be able to predict onset and course of diseases.
State-of-the-art in-house technology platforms are instrumental to carry out the data intensive research characterizing systems biology. BIMSB Scientific Technology Platforms provide core services, plan projects in close collaboration with both MDC groups and local/international partners, and also conduct research and method development projects, pushing forward novel scientific and in particular medical applications towards personalized medicine.
The BIMSB Scientific Technology Platforms currently offer:
The Scientific Technology Platforms allow the application of sophisticated, novel and specialized methodologies such as PAR-CLIP (photoactivatable- ribonucleoside- enhanced- crosslinking and immunoprecipitation), eFACS (fluorescence-activated cell sorting of embryos), SILAC and pulsed SILAC (stable isotope labeling by amino acids in culture cells), different sequencing protocols, metabolic profiling and advanced imaging. Capacities and technologies are constantly extending according to the general expansion of the BIMSB.
With the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH
), the MDC and the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have joined forces to build a research space for translational research and overarching systems medicine approaches to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical application. BIMSB is a strong collaboration partner for BIH groups and projects.
Setting up a network for single-cell researchers in Germany and beyond is the goal of Single Cellomics Germany (SCOG). The initiative is jointly coordinated by Fabian Theis at the Institute of the Computational Biology HMGU in Munich, Nikolaus Rajewsky at the MDC/BIMSB and Jörn Walter at Saarland University and funded by the BMBF/DLR.
Single-cell research is revolutionising biology and medicine, combining omics technologies and microscopic analyses of single cells. Rapid technological advances now allow the profiling of genomes, transcriptomes, epigenomes and proteomes in individual cells at an unprecedented level of resolution. New computational methods are being developed and specifically tailored to harness the full potential of these single-cell omics data.
SCOG aims at bringing together national researchers with the mission to foster exchange of both computational and experimental methods and expertise and to strengthen single-cell research in Germany.
Predicting the onset and trajectory of a disease is the central vision of LifeTime a European Initiative applying to become a new FET Flagship. The project brings together scientists from over 50 research institutes in 18 countries and is co-coordinated by Nikolaus Rajewsky at the MDC and Geneviève Almouzni at the Institut Curie, Paris.
Following recent advances in single cell analysis, in particular in the fields of high-throughput sequencing and imaging, tracking the molecular make-up of human cells in time and space has become more than a distant dream. European experts in molecular and computational biology as well as clinical research have joined forces in LifeTime, an open initiative continuously growing and gathering support.
circRTrain is a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union within the H2020 Programme. circRTrain seeks to understand the origin, function and application of circular RNAs, new large class of non-coding RNAs,by providing cross-disciplinary training in experimental and computational biology for a new generation of researchers. The circRTrain network consists of interdisciplinary experts from leading European institutes such as Aarhus University (Denmark), CRG (Spain), Justus-Liebig-University Giessen (Germany), MDC (Germany), La Sapienza (Italy), UMC Utrecht (Netherlands), and industrial partners Bioneer (Denmark), Eurice (Germany), Exosomics (Italy), Qiagen (Denmark), and qpa (Germany).
BIMSB is a key partner in the cluster project CORBEL, funded by Horizon 2020 for four years (2015-2019). Within this consortium of thirteen biological and medical research infrastructures (BMS RIs) from the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), BIMSB represents the infrastructure for Systems Biology in Europe (ISBE). Together with Euro-BioImaging at the EMBL, BIMSB co-leads one of the biggest work packages of the project (WP4), focusing on bioscience use cases.
At the end of 2016, CORBEL organized a first Open Call for Research Projects. In this framework, academic and industrial scientists in Europe were offered access to more than 15 service providers from 8 research infrastructures, integrated services grouped into 4 access tracks and an application review based on scientific excellence and technical feasibility. 21 selected applicants have since benefitted from open access to cutting-edge technologies and services including support from the Bioinformatics platform of the BIMSB. Travel grants are enabling nearly 50 visits with transnational access.
Based on this successful first edition, a second Open Call offering even more services has been launched on 26 March 2018.
For more information on CORBEL or ISBE, please contact Marie Vidal (Marie.Vidal@ mdc-berlin.de) or Christian Popp (Christian.Popp@ mdc-berlin.de).
BIMSB is fostering and maintaining collaborationswith national and international research institutes, universities, and other organizations to facilitate joint research projects, staff exchange, access to cutting-edge technologies, and development of joint training activities.
The MDC-NYU PhD Exchange program was launched in 2009 to train the next generation of systems biologists in experimental as well as computational approaches to understand the complex processes of life. Graduate students are jointly supervised by faculty from BIMSB and CGSB (Center for Genomics and Systems Biology) of the New York University Biology department. Short-term and long-term research visits within the program allow the students to take advantage of complimentary scientific and training expertise.
The German-Israeli Research School "Frontiers in Cell Signaling and Gene Regulation" is part of the Helmholtz International Research School Initiative and brings together leading experts from MDC (Berlin, Germany), Technion (Haifa, Israel) and Hebrew University (Jerusalem, Israel). Students in the field of cell signaling, gene regulation, and quantitative biology are jointly supervised by investigators from Germany and Israel and spend up to 6 months in the partner laboratory abroad.
Poznan-Berlin collaborations in RNA biochemistry have a long-standing history tied to the late Prof. Dr. Volker Erdmann (FU Berlin, member of the Polish Academy of Sciences). The Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry (IBCH) of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) has various interactions with BIMSB. Young researchers from Poznan have joined the BIMSB with great success (e.g. Monika Piwecka et al., Science 2017). Nikolaus Rajewsky has collaborated with Jan Barciszewski (e.g. as editor for the Springer book series RNA Technologies). A joint retreat was organized on October 12, 2016 in Berlin. PIs of both institutions are enthusiastic about the initiative of joint research endeavors and the development of a long-term sustainable partnership.
The MDC-NYU PhD Exchange program was launched in 2009 to train the next generation of systems biologists. Ten BIMSB PhD students are able to to spend up to two years working and studying at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University. Students can also take advantage of our state of the art technology platforms and a training programme of specialist courses and personal development opportunities.
In spring 2019, BIMSB scientists moved from MDC’s research infrastructure at the Campus in Berlin-Buch to the centre of Berlin (Hannoversche Straße 28). The building is entirely new and located on the central historical Campus of the Humboldt University. This new research site represents the first institutional and infrastructural expansion of the MDC into the centre of Berlin, supporting even closer interactions with major academic and medical institutions in the city and region.
The design for the new BIMSB building has been selected through an architectural competition and is perfectly integrated into the given setting at the Humboldt Campus Nord. It provides space for up to 25 research groups, approximately half experimental and half computational offering 5400 sqm of laboratory and office space. The building hosts high-tech-labs, state-of-art technology platforms, flexible workspaces and communication areas, that further promote innovative and interdisciplinary research.
After the site had been handed over to the MDC in November 2014, construction started in February 2015. Following clearance of the site, ground testing and construction of the passage to and from Hannoversche Straße, deep ground work and excavation took place in spring 2015.
The pouring of the concrete marked the completion of the second phase of construction. This was celebrated at the official dedication of the building on December 15, 2016, with the architects and representatives of the MDC, partner institutes, and the City of Berlin attending.
The building was inaugurated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in February 26, 2019.
With public transport
Bus: 142 (Torstr./Oranienburger Tor)
Underground train: U6 (Oranienburger Tor)
S-Bahn city train: S1, S2, S25 (Nordbahnhof or Oranienburger Str.)
Tram: M12, M5 (Torstr./Oranienburger Tor)
By rail: via Hauptbahnhof
parking at the street, rarely available (2€/h)
underground garage is nearby (2€/h)
Hannoversche Straße 5b, 10115 Berlin
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