BIMSB Late Summer Meeting

Invitation to the Grand BIMSB Opening Symposium

From October 25 to 27, Berlin will welcome top international researchers whose work has shaped the development of the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) at the Max Delbrück Center. They are coming together now to celebrate the MDC research unit’s 10th anniversary and its relocation to Berlin Mitte.

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (1995 Nobel Prize laureate for physiology and medicine) and Phil Sharp (1993 Nobel Prize laureate for physiology and medicine) are just two of the prominent names attending the Grand BIMSB Opening Symposium. In total, 16 of the world’s leading researchers will be discussing their work at the Berlin conference.

The event program reflects research topics, model systems, and technologies that have played a central role in scientific research at the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB). Hans Clevers, Jürgen Knoblich, Peter Lichter, and Charles Swanton, for example, will talk about how cancer can be understood and treated at the molecular level, while Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Edith Heard, Phil Sharp, Patrick Cramer, and Mike Levine will report on newly discovered mechanisms for switching genes on and off. In addition, Claude Desplan, Amanda Fisher, Eileen Furlong, and Edith Heard will shed light on gene regulation during embryonic development, while Ruth Lehmann and Bing Ren discuss gene regulation in pluripotent stem cells.

The speakers will also demonstrate how the latest technologies are advancing research: Jürgen Knoblich and Hans Clevers work with three-dimensional mini-organs made from human stem cells; Hans Clevers and Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard use CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in their laboratories; and Ido Amit, Claude Desplan, Eileen Furlong, and Lior Pachter investigate the cycle of life in the individual cells of an organism (single-cell biology).

An exceptional concentration of scientific excellence

“The list of speakers is a testament to the excellent reputation of systems biology at the MDC, and the achievements that have been made by BIMSB during its formative years,” says Martin Lohse, Scientific Director of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC). “One of the reasons for this is that systems biology is closely intertwined with and radiates into all other MDC research units. This cooperation goes beyond the boundaries of disciplines and departments and generates new ideas.”

“We are very honored to be hosting this extraordinary selection of top international researchers – such a concentration of scientific excellence at a single event is rare,” says Nikolaus Rajewsky, who founded BIMSB ten years ago and has been coordinating the MDC research unit ever since. “The symposium will provide an outlook on the systems medicine of the future. Almost 400 registered participants from all over the world are looking forward to the event.” Journalists are very welcome to apply for accreditation to the symposium and interview speakers.

The conference is the eleventh edition of the Berlin Late Summer Meeting – an annual event that brings scientists from bioinformatics, mathematics, biochemistry, and experimental molecular biology together to discuss current issues in gene regulation.

We are committed to breaking down the boundaries between scientific disciplines.
Nikolaus Rajewsky Founder of the BIMSB

“We are committed to breaking down the boundaries between scientific disciplines,” says Rajewsky. In line with this approach, medical systems biology was systematically expanded at the MDC. Ten years in, BIMSB now comprises 17 internationally recognized research groups and some 250 employees. BIMSB’s mission is to understand how human genes are regulated in health and disease. For researchers, laboratory experiments and computer models are inseparable – this consistent fusion of state-of-the-art computer-based and experimental methods is one of BIMSB’s greatest strengths.

BIMSB labs to relocate to Berlin Mitte in 2019

The Grand Opening Symposium also marks the start of a new chapter: At the beginning of 2019, BIMSB research groups will move into a new laboratory and research building in the center of Berlin. The new building on Hannoversche Strasse is being constructed on the historical site of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’s Campus Nord, and will give the MDC an additional location. The building was designed by the renowned architectural firm Staab Architekten. The innovative design promotes interdisciplinary communication, with laboratories and meeting areas set up for flexible use. The new location will also help strengthen the MDC’s collaboration with scientists at Berlin’s universities and non-university research institutions as well as with clinicians at the city’s hospitals.

Further information


Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky 
Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB)
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)

Head of the Research Group on Systems Biology of Gene Regulatory Elements Scientific Coordinator of BIMSB
Organizer of the Berlin Late Summer Meetings

+49 (0)30 9406 2999 (Secretariat)

Journalists are very welcome to apply for accreditation to the symposium. For further information about accreditation – and for interview requests – please contact:

Jana Schlütter (in the run-up to the symposium)
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)
Deputy Head of the Communications Department


Jutta Kramm (on-site during the symposium)
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)
Head of the Communications Department



  • Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen: “How fish colour their skin: A paradigm for development and evolution of adult patterns”
  • Jürgen A. Knoblich, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences: “Cerebral organoids: modelling human brain development and tumorigenesis in stem cell derived 3D culture”
  • Claude Desplan, NYU Biology: “The generation of neuronal diversity”
  • Edith Heard, Institut Curie in Paris: “Exploring the dynamic relationship between gene expression and chromosome organisation during X-chromosome inactivation”
  • Ruth Lehmann, Director of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine and NYU School of Medicine: “Protecting immortality: Germ granule organization by phase transition”
  • Amanda Fisher, Imperial College London: “Epigenetics and inheritance”
  • Bing Ren, University of California in San Diego School of Medicine and Ludwig Cancer Research in La Jolla: “Remodeling chromatin architecture during human cardiomyocyte differentiation”
  • Patrick Cramer, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen: “A molecular mechanism for RNA polymerase II activation”
  • Lior Pachter, Caltech in Pasadena: “Computational and experimental foundations for single-cell genomics”
  • Charles Swanton, The Francis Crick Institute in London: “Cancer evolution and immune escape: TRACERx”
  • Mike Levine, Princeton University: “A high-resolution view of gene activity during development”
  • Hans Clevers, Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht: “Lgr5 stem cell-based organoids in human disease”
  • Peter Lichter, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg: “Newly emerging mechanisms of genomic instability and their impact on tumor evolution”
  • Ido Amit, Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot: “Single-cell genomics: A stepping stone for future immunology discoveries”
  • Eileen Furlong, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg: “Understanding enhancer usage during embryonic development at a single-cell level”
  • Phil Sharp, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, M.I.T. in Cambridge: “RNA regulates transcription through phase transitions?”  

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) was founded in Berlin in 1992. It is named for the German-American physicist Max Delbrück, who was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. The MDC’s mission is to study molecular mechanisms in order to understand the origins of disease and thus be able to diagnose, prevent, and fight it better and more effectively. In these efforts the MDC cooperates with the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) as well as with national partners such as the German Center for Cardiovascular Research and numerous international research institutions. More than 1,600 staff and guests from nearly 60 countries work at the MDC, just under 1,300 of them in scientific research. The MDC is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (90 percent) and the State of Berlin (10 percent), and is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.