High-ranking Cuban delegation visits the MDC

The latest entry in the MDC guest book reads: “With deep admiration for your scientific work we congratulate you on behalf of the Cuban people.” A high-ranking Cuban delegation, headed by deputy health minister Dr. Alfredo Gonzalez Lorenzo, has just paid a visit to the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC). The eight members of the delegation, who come from the fields of health policy, genetic research and tumor biology, as well as BioCubaFarma, an association of pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies, found out more about the structure and focus of the work carried out by the MDC and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP), and visited the BiotechPark at Berlin-Buch.

The visitors were particularly interested in finding out more about opportunities for scientific collaboration and exchange. The recommendation made by Scientific Director of the MDC Prof. Martin Lohse to start by creating a joint exchange program for PhD students was met with unanimous approval. Lohse said that the MDC could already draw on positive experiences here with other countries. “Young people are good at building bridges and establish friendships fast,” he said. “This is the quickest way to forge scientific collaborations.”

Lohse also suggested that Cuban scientists and representatives from biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry could present their projects as part of a small-scale conference in Berlin and explore the options for potential collaborations.

Another concrete proposal for cooperation was made by the head of the Screening Unit at the Leibniz Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP). Dr. Jens Peter von Kries said that the infrastructure platform for screening of chemical agents he had developed with his team offered numerous opportunities for joint research projects. It would be a strictly academic collaboration, and the FMP would explicitly refrain from claims regarding the use of intellectual property.

The Cuban visitors were visibly moved by the concrete offers on the table. Dr. Gustavo Sierra Gonzalez, Science Policy Director at BioCubaFarma, explained that due to the embargo, Cuba would never have been able to purchase comparable screening equipment, even if the necessary funds had been available.

The head of the delegation concluded by saying that so far, Cuba had mostly engaged in scientific exchange with China, Singapore and, to a certain extent, Mexico and the US. He thanked the hosts for now giving Cuba the opportunity for scientific collaboration with Europe, and particularly with Germany.


Photo: Anyess von Bock/MDC


Vera Glaßer
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch
Head of Communications department (interim)
Tel: +49 30 94 06 - 2120