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Long Night at the MDC: Science meets art

Why is it useful to fish in Berlin's sewage? What do Beethoven's locks of hair disclose? And what does cancer have to do with obesity? All of this will be discussed on July 2, 2022, when MDC researchers will open their laboratories during the Long Night. Another focus: science and art.

The Long Night of Science program at the MDC ranges from hands-on experiments and storytelling formats to exhibitions and concerts, as well as the opportunity to join scientists in the lab and ask questions there and then. We feature some of the highlights below. 

At the interface between science and art 

Science is matter-of-fact and art is emotional - is that true? Research and work in the arts are both experimental and creative processes. Many scientists also paint, perform music, and take photographs. On the Buch Campus and at the MDC in Berlin-Mitte, the MDC presents these highlights, among others: : 

  • Sequencing and performing Beethoven: What could we learn about Beethoven and his diseases if we sequence his genome and analyze it with state-of-the-art methods? This is what Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky will talk about. He will then play one of the last Beethoven sonatas – the Piano Sonata op. 110 in A-flat Major, which Beethoven composed deaf. 

    Where and when: MDC-BIMSB, Hannoversche Str. 28, ground floor, 7:30 p.m. 

  • Understanding life: How much art does science need? How emotional is science and how sober can art be? A discussion with cancer researcher and DNA artist Professor Anton Henssen, mathematician and artist Helena Kauppila, Dr. Katja Naie, and Dr. Luizs Bengtsson, MDC (moderator). In cooperation with the Schering foundation.   

    Where and when: MDC-BIMSB, Hannoversche Str. 28, terrace, 8:30 p.m. 

  • Bits to beats – Soundtrack of biomedical research: Whether it’s the protein structure data, the daily commute or the daily grind in a research lab – MDC scientists have many inspirations for their audio art. Live performances with electronic music of Isabella Douzoglou, Carlo Barbini and Ernesto Acevedo Ochoa.  
    Where and when: MDC-BIMSB, Hannoversche Str. 28, terrace, starting 9:30 p.m. 

  • Guided tour through the ART-SCIENCE exhibition: The artists will explain which research and other influences they have worked with.  
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, register at the central info point at the MDC.C, 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Research during the pandemic 

  • Screening Berlin's wastewater for viruses: During the pandemic, a team from the MDC systematically analyzed samples from a Berlin wastewater treatment plant and thus detected, for example, the development of the omicron wave at an early stage. Similar monitoring systems are being set up in many German cities. But there is much more hidden in the sewers: For basic research, wastewater has proven to be a place full of treasures. MDC scientist Dr. Emanuel Wyler tells why fishing in the murky waters can be valuable for all of us. He also answers any questions visitors may have about corona. 
    Where and when: MDC-BIMSB, Hannoversche Str. 28,  
    All about corona: second floor, Lounge, 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; waste water: ground floor, 6:15 p.m. 

  • mRNA vaccines - a breakthrough in vaccine development: How do classical vaccines work and how do new mRNA-based vaccines differ? What are the similarities of both vaccine strategies and how does our immune system react? A talk by Andreas Zach, Klaus Rajewsky Lab.  
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, MDC.C, 8:45 p.m. 

  • Science in the Home Office: Science is expected to help overcome the pandemic. But how did science work itself during the lockdown? MDC scientists* tell personal stories, musically accompanied by singer-songwriter Nate Bernadini. 
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, MDC.C, 9:30 p.m. 

I feel, therefore I am – our brain 

  • Walk-through brain model.  
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, MDC.C, starting 4 p.m. 

  • Faulty folding is toxic for the brain: Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease all have one thing in common: incorrectly folded proteins are deposited and poison the nerve cells in the brain. A laboratory tour by the Wanker Lab. 
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, register at the central info point at the MDC.C, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

  • Mini-brains in the petri dish and Big Data: Organoids are 3D cultures that replicate the cellular complexity and functionality of human organs in vitro. The Rajewsky Lab and the Organoid Platform use cutting-edge technologies to uncover their molecular secrets and learn crucial things about humans. Lab tour and demonstration 
    Where and when: MDC-BIMSB, Hannoversche Str. 28, register at the central info point at the ground floor, English, 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 

Insights into the cells 

  • Hey potein, what’s your favorite place? It is roughly known which proteins a cell potentially harbors. But that is not enough to understand how a cell works. It is also important to find out how these proteins relate to each other. Mass spectrometry helps to map this. A lab tour by the Mertins, Selbach, Piazza and Coscia Labs.
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, register at the central info point at the MDC.C, 5 and 7 p.m.  

  • Tiny machines, giant microscopes: Proteins are hard workers. The Daumke Lab and the Core Facility for Cryo-EM show their guests how they produce proteins, isolate them and later look at them in detail. A lab tour.
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, register at the central info point at the MDC.C, 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

  • Cancer and obesity: What does nutrition do to our cells? Dr. Lydia Dyck of the Blankenstein Lab explains how cancer, obesity and the immune system are connected.
    Where and when: MDC Campus Buch, MDC.C, 8 p.m.  

You can find the complete program and other highlights on our MDC website “Long Night of the Sciences” 

Further information 

“Long Night of the Sciences”

Flyer for campus Buch 

Flyer for the MDC-BIMSB 


Jutta Kramm 
Head of the communications department 
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) 

Phone: +49 30 9406-2140 
jutta.kramm@mdc-berlin.de or presse@mdc-berlin.de  

Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) 


The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) is one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutions. Max Delbrück, a Berlin native, was a Nobel laureate and one of the founders of molecular biology. At the MDC’s locations in Berlin-Buch and Mitte, researchers from some 60 countries analyze the human system – investigating the biological foundations of life from its most elementary building blocks to systems-wide mechanisms. By understanding what regulates or disrupts the dynamic equilibrium in a cell, an organ, or the entire body, we can prevent diseases, diagnose them earlier, and stop their progression with tailored therapies. Patients should benefit as soon as possible from basic research discoveries. The MDC therefore supports spin-off creation and participates in collaborative networks. It works in close partnership with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in the jointly run Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK). Founded in 1992, the MDC today employs 1,600 people and is funded 90 percent by the German federal government and 10 percent by the State of Berlin.