International Cooperations

The MDC is continually developing and maintaining scientific and research relations between our institute and other higher educational and research institutes worldwide. Currently, MDC scientists have cooperations with researchers from over 30 countries.

About 65% of MDC scientific papers in 2020 were published in co-authorship with international partners from the USA, the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, among others.

Approximately 45% of the MDC research staff (including PhD students, 2020) have a foreign nationality (Italy, China, Poland, India, France, etc.).

MDC is a founding member of the EU-LIFE, an alliance of top research centres in life sciences to support and strengthen European research excellence.

Summary of the MDC International Activities (May 2015)

Joint Research Groups



Dr Michael Sieweke’s group is based at the Centre of Immunology Marseille-Luminy (CIML) in southern France since Autumn 2012 as part of the Helmholtz-INSERM Franco-German cooperation initiative. The group is co-funded by the MDC and INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale). For more information about the group and their research, visit the group webpage at the CIML website.


Helmholtz International Research Groups are collaborations with foreign partner institutions that carry out research in fields of common interest. They are funded jointly by the Helmholtz Initiative and Networking Fund and the partner institution abroad, initially for a period of three years.  In addition, there are Helmholtz-CAS Joint Research Groups (in cooperation with the Chinese aacademy of Sciences) and the Helmholtz-Russia Joint Research Groups (in cooperation with the Russian Foundation for Basic Research). The Moscow office and the Beijing Office of the Helmholtz Association can provide the advice and support where necessary.

    Helmholtz International Research Group “Role of Kinins in Obesity” (2013-2016), Prof. Bader, Dr. Natalia Alenina (both MDC) and Prof. João B. Pesquero (Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil), co-funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation FAPESP.

You can find out more from the MDC press-release.

    Helmholtz-CAS Joint Research Group "Optogenic evaluation of central cardiovascular control" (2015 - 2018), Prof. Bader (MDC) and Prof. L. Wang (Shenzhen Key Lab of Neuropsychiatric Modulation, CAS).
    Helmholtz International Research Group “Metabolism and Neurodegeneration” (2013-2016), Dr. Schmidt and Prof. Willnow (both MDC) and Dr. Kjolby and Prof. Nykjaer (MIND, Lundbeck Foundation, Aarhus University, Denmark)

For more information please visit the goup's web-site and read the MDC press-release.


- Helmholtz-Russia Joint Research Group “Possible Beneficial Effects of TNF and/or Lymphotoxin Ablation in Carcinogen-induced and Sporadic Cancer, as Studies in Mice”   (2011-2014), Prof. Blankenstein (MDC) and Dr. Drutskaya (Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow).

- Helmholtz-Russia Joint Research Group “Derivation of germ line competent rat ES cells for gene targeting” (2007-2010), Prof. Bader and Dr. Alenina (both MDC) and Dr. Tomilin (Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg).


International PhD Programs


The MDC, in cooperation with the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Freie-Universität-Berlin and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, has established four thematically focussed international PhD programs with international partners. These joint PhD Programs promote scientific excellence in the training of the next generation of scientists and provide an excellent platform for the further development of our international co-operation.

  • MyoGrad, International Research Training Group for Myology, the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris (Paris VI), since 2009
  • TransCard, the International Helmholtz Research School 'Translational Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine', in partnership with the Hubrecht Laboratory in Utrecht, Netherlands, as well as the University of Arizona in Tucson AZ, USA, since 2009 
  • SignGene, the German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School "Frontiers in Cell Signaling and Gene Regulation", since 2013


Bilateral Meetings



  • Canadian-German Neuroscience Workshop "Cellular & Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Diseases" 2014, Berlin (programme). This meeting has been organised with support of the Canadian Embassy in Germany and co-chaired by Professor Helmut Kettenmann (MDC) and Professor Brian MacVicar (University of British Columbia).


  • Sino-German Symposium on "The Role of Glial Cells in Physiology and Pathology" 2014, Shenzhen, sponsored by Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGC). This meeting was organized by Professor Liping Wang (Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences), and co-organized by Prof. Helmut Kettenmann (MDC) and Professor Shumin Duan (Zhejiang University).
  • First "Sino-German Cancer, Viruses and Immunity Symposium: From Basic Research to Translational Medicine”, 2014, Guangzhou, co-organized by Prof. Li Liangping (Sun Yat-sen University, SYSU) and Prof. Thomas Blankenstein (MDC), sponsored by the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGC).
  • Sino-German Symposia on Cardiovascular Genomics 2011,Beijing, and in 2013, Berlin (more), sponsored by Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGC).


  • German-French Symposia “Frontiers of Cardiovascular Research” 2012, Berlin and in 2013, Paris, supported by the French Embassy in Berlin and German Embassy in Paris (please see an article (in German and in French) on the Science portal of the French Embassy in Berlin here)


  • Scientific events of the German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School SignGene (more)
  •  “Frontiers in Cell Signaling and Gene Regulation: From Single Cell to Networks” (Technion, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the MDC), Haifa, Israel, 2012 (more)
  • German-Israeli Symposium on Molecular Medicine, Berlin, 2010 (more)
  • MDC-WIS Joint Sympoisum “Regulatory Circuits in Health & Disease”, Rehovot, Israel, 2009


  • Joint BIMSB/MRC CSC Retreats 2011 (more), 2013 (more)


Internship Programs


Each year a number of undergraduate and graduate students come to the MDC as a part of specific programs and through individually organized internships:

  • MIT-Germany, you can read a brief testimonial of the 2012 intern Elizabeth Phillips here.
  • Unipharma-Graduates projects (within the ERASMUS + framework), coordinated by Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, in cooperation with the non profit Foundation Noopolis