Berlin Skyline

MDC at the Berlin Science Week

1 - 10 November, 2019


From 1 to 10 November 2019, researchers will gather in Berlin to discuss current issues - with each other and with the public. The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) will be contributing to exciting events.

Cooking for Microbiome

November 1: Science meets Art-of-Cooking or how to eat for health

Friday, November 1, 2019, 5 - 10 p.m.

The human body is an ecosystem: trillions of microorganisms inhabit our gut, skin and all other exposed parts. Our microbial roommates, the microbiome, make crucial and nowadays finally slowly understood contributions to keeping us healthy. They help to digest food, produce vitamins, and train the immune system. In addition, their very presence helps stem the spread of pathogens. But only as long as we keep them happy. Antibiotic treatments and diet have a huge impact on this microcosm.

How does this work? Who inhabits us and why? Can we cook for a healthy microbiome? And how can we use microorganisms to cook?

Join us for an evening of Science meets Art-of-Cooking at Pastamadre, where MDC-scientists join forces with fermentation artisans to bring you the latest from microbiome research, food chemistry and healthy eating. We talk, you cook, we eat and discuss together.

Cooks & Scientists

  • Dr. Sofia Forslund
  • Maria-Lucrezia Schiavarelli
  • Theda Bartolomaeus
  • Dr. Akis Liokatis


Prior registration is required. Costs: 29€, dinner and drinks included.

Register now


Groninger Str. 48
13347 Berlin

The Bear – True stories. Erzähltes Leben

November 1: Stories of discovery

Friday, November 1 2019, 8 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Scientists leave the lab and enter the limelight with true, personal stories about their mishaps, mistakes, and moments of truth. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and always entertaining. Keeping with The Bear format, tales are told without notes or slides.


Christinenstraße 18/19
10119 Berlin

Facebook event page

I know something you don’t know

November 2: Science Slam of a LifeTime: a game show for those thirsty for knowledge

Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

One organism - billions of cells. How much do you know about the smallest units of yourself? How are our cells developing, what are they developing into and why do some develop diseases while most stay healthy? 

In the Science Slam of a LifeTime, our researchers from the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) at the MDC Berlin surprise you with interesting and relevant facts about what you are made of. In our version of a science slam you are the judge: which researcher told you something truly new? And is this new knowledge relevant to you? In the end we’re all winners having found out what scientists are doing today to know more and how they use this knowledge for the benefit of us all.

The evening is organized by LifeTime, a pan-European research initiative coordinated by the MDC Berlin and the Institut Curie in Paris. 


  • Dr. Altuna Akalin
  • Jonathan Alles
  • Rieke Kempfer
  • Dr. Luiza Bengtsson
  • Marco Uhrig
  • Dr. Emanuel Wyler
  • Zoe Ingram
  • Karla Hajman


Register now

Facebook event page


Umspannwerk Ost
Palisadenstraße 48
10243 Berlin

Open Science Workshop

November 4: Why Everyone Should Care About Open Science

Monday, November 4, 2019, 6 - 8 p.m.

Open Science is about putting more science in society and more society in science, but how does it work and what does it mean for you? 

Open Science concepts and tools have the potential to transform the current scientific system for the greater good of all, but how can scientists and society actually benefit from the Open Science movement? 

This workshop will establish what Open Science is and why it is needed. There will be an overview of the main areas of Open Science: Open Access, Open Data, Public Engagement and Citizen Science. In addition, there will be some practical tips how research can be made open and how scientists and non-scientists can make use of Open Science materials. Following this there will be an interactive discussion game that promotes participants to exchange their own opinions and ideas about the underlying issues in modern science. The session is organised by the EU-funded ORION Open Science project and the Berlin Natural History Museum.

The session will last 2 hours and drinks will be served. The session is suitable for those with very little or basic knowledge of Open Science.


Registration now


MDC Berlin-Mitte (BIMSB)
Hannoversche Str. 28
10115 Berlin

A debate about animal testing

November 5: Absolutely necessary or outdated long ago? Discuss animal testing with Berlin researchers and animal welfare officers!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

The members of the Berlin officers for animal welfare (Arbeitskreis Berliner Tierschutzbeauftragte) would like to discuss with the interested general public why animal testing is still of significance for medical progress and how our lives would be affected without it.  Four scientists will briefly discuss the animal testing that they perform and what significance it has for their work.  The audience will be invited to the panel discussion afterwards to debate if and how an alternative method might replace an animal experiment, or why it cannot.


  • Prof. Dr. Anja Erika Hauser, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Deutschen Rheuma-Forschungszentrum
  • Dr. Thomas Kammertöns, MDC Berlin and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • PD Dr. Robert Landsiedel, BASF and Freie Universität Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Christa Thöne-Reineke, Freie Universität Berlin

The event will be hosted by Berlin science journalist Lilo Berg.


Register now


Urania Berlin
An der Urania 17
10787 Berlin

ÆON. Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR

November 5 - 29: Would you take daily inhalations to stay young? An artwork about a possible future.

Their gestures betray that they are a couple. An embrace, a touch at the dinner table, a look in the eyes. And yet one is puzzled. The woman has almost white hair, and her skin is furrowed with wrinkles. The man, on the other hand, looks as if he’s in his mid-30s. What separates the two is not the number of years they have lived, but the decisions they have made. For decades now, the man has been preserving his youth through inhalations. The woman has let nature take its course.

Technologies like genome editing make longevity seem attainable. Finnish artist Emilia Tikka is interested in what this would mean for society. In her work “ÆON. Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR,” she constructs a poetic scenario of a possible future. The installation is exhibited at MDC-Mitte in November.

ÆON is the result of the first European artist residency on genome editing. In 2018, Tikka spent three months in MDC labs, collaborating with researchers to find out how CRISPR could change our world. The residency was initiated by the Max Delbrück Center, together with STATE. It was funded by the EU project ORION as a first step to initiate a dialogue with citizens on CRISPR.

No registration required, please ask at the reception desk for the artwork.


MDC Berlin-Mitte (BIMSB)
Hannoversche Str. 28
10115 Berlin

"Mind the Lab"

November 7: Experiments on single cell biology technologies

Thursday, November 7 2019, 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

"Mind the Lab" will be the motto in five Berlin underground stations, where researchers from various institutes will present exciting insights into science in pop-up laboratories. The MDC will also be there, you will meet our researchers at Alexanderplatz station (U-Bahnhof). There, the LifeTime initiative, coordinated by the MDC, showcases groundbreaking single cell biology technologies in simple experiments. Scientists will also present their work with organoids, those tiny, self-organized three-dimensional tissue cultures that could change how we diagnose and treat diseases.

Organoids in a petri dish.


Alexanderplatz underground station, Berlin

Future Medicine 2019

November 7: Berlin's Most Exciting Medical Research Congress

Thursday, November 7 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

​​​​What does the future of medicine look like? What's trending? What's new in health science? Which challanges is the health system facing? Learn about the answers to these questions and more at the fourth Future Medicine Conference.

This year's focus: Translational Medicine

  • Single Cells in Translational Research
  • Smart Data and Translational Medicine
  • Translational Cancer Research


Register now


Karl-Marx-Allee 131A
10243 Berlin

Teacher training: Organoids of the human brain (aka mini-brain) and the regulation of gene expression

November 8: Experience the state of the art in science and receive valuable information about current trends in life science research.

Friday, November 8, 2019, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Textbooks teach "from DNA to RNA to protein", but this dogma is now long obsolete. MDC researchers are investigating the function of non-coding RNAs in neurons, using as a model a human brain grown in a Petri dish, a so-called brain-organoid or mini-brain. Through experiments, demonstrations and lectures you will experience the state of the art in science and receive valuable information about current trends in life science research.

The training takes place in the group of Prof. Dr. Rajewsky, Systems Biology of Gene Regulatory Elements, and is part of the program for Schule MIT Wissenschaft conference.

Target group: High school teachers


  • Dr. Agnieszka Rybak-Wolf
  • Janis Hötzel


Registration via email to


MDC Berlin-Mitte (BIMSB), Rajewsky Lab​​​​​
Hannoversche Str. 28
10115 Berlin



Cooking with microbiomes, discussing animal experiments, learning new things from research: The MDC offers opportunities throughout Berlin to experience science and scientists.

Science Week 2018

From Understanding to Tinkering: the Future of Genome Research

Genome editing tools such as CRISPR are beginning to reshape the physical world around us, one base pair at a time. As an Artist in Residence in labs at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and at STATE Studio Emilia Tikka explored how this could affect society in the future. Her questions were threefold:

  1. Why do cells age and how could it be stopped or reversed? (Science)
  2. What is behind the human wish to live forever? (Philosophy) and
  3. What would a society look like where people can choose to extend their lifespan? (Speculative scenario).

The result of Emilia Tikka's artist residency on the topic of gene editing at the MDC and the science behind it: the artwork, a mini symposium and a panel discussion.

On November 1st, she will present the resulting artwork called “AEON - Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR” at the new science art gallery STATE Studio in Berlin.

Tikka's art is designed to spark debate. Prominent scientists from the MDC will join her and provide even more food for thought. In three short keynotes Dr. Roland Schwarz (MDC Group Leader “Evolutionary and Cancer Genomics”), Dr. Sascha Sauer (Head of the MDC Scientific Genomics Platforms), and Professor Simone Spuler (University Outpatient Clinic for Muscle Disorders, Experimental and Clinical Research Center at the MDC) will speak about their own quest to find and understand patterns in the human genome that are relevant to health and disease, and even their plans to edit genes in order to help patients.

Together with renowned bioethicist Professor Jens Reich (MDC) they will discuss how far along we are on our way from understanding the genome to tinkering with it – and what the future might hold. The panel is moderated by Dr. Luiza Bengtsson. Refreshments will be provided. 

The artist residency was funded by the EU ORION Open Science Project, which aims to engage society in discussions of the risks and opportunities presented by disruptive technologies. 

Time and Place

November 1st, 2018, 17:00-20:00 p.m.

Berlin Science Week Meeting Hub @ STATE Studio, Hauptstrasse 3, 10827 Berlin (underground station Kleistpark)

To register for the mini-symposium with guided tours, keynotes, panel discussion and refreshments please register here.

Speaker Details

Simone Spuler

Professor Simone Spuler’s research focuses on the understanding of cell processes in muscular dystrophy, in muscle regeneration and aging, and, in particular, in developing novel therapies. Currently she heads the Institute for Muscle Sciences and University Outpatient Clinic for Muscle Disorders of the Charite located in Berlin-Buch and holds a Professorship in the Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Jens Reich

Professor Jens Reich has worked at Berlin-Buch since 1968. From 1992 until he became emeritus in 2004, he was leader of MDC’s research group on medical genomics; today, he is an ombudsman. In the 1980s, Jens Reich was active in the civil rights movement in the GDR and, in 1989/90, was a co-founder of the “New Forum”. In 1994, he stood as an independent candidate for the office of Federal President and, from 2001 to 2012, was a member of the German Ethics Council.

Roland Schwarz

Dr. Roland Schwarz, lead investigator of MDC-BIMSB junior research group on “Evolutionary and Cancer Genomics” since October 2016, develops and applies machine learning and statistical methods to reconstruct the evolutionary history of cancer in the patient and associate germline and somatic variation with changes in gene regulation. His main research question is how cancer evolves in the body of a patient.

Sascha Sauer

Dr. Sascha Sauer leads the scientific Genomics platform at the MDC-BIMSB since August 2016. The Scientific Genomics Platform focuses on functional genome research using sophisticated next generation sequencing methodologies. His research concerns Nutrigenomics and Gene Regulation. Together with his team, he discovered a gene regulatory substance in licorice root effective against diabetes mellitus type 2, as well as basic mechanisms of the effects of the “magical” natural substance resveratrol.

Emilia Tikka

Emilia Tikka is a designer, artist and filmmaker – originally from Finland and currently based in Berlin. Her interdisciplinary design and research practice explores philosophical dimensions and cultural implications of novel biotechnologies such as synthetic biology and gene editing technology CRISPR-cas9. Her methods of research varies from designing objects, constellations, concepts and fictions to writing and hands-on laboratory experiments. 

Luiza Bengtsson

Dr. Luiza Bengtsson is a biochemist, science communicator and science educator with work experience and educational background in Germany, Sweden, Poland and USA. In her current role, she’s responsible for knowledge exchange and public engagement at the MDC. Her most recent project is the ART -SCIENCE collaboration on the topic of genome editing, in the framework of the EU-funded H2020 project ORION aiming at promoting cultural change towards Open Science.



from Emilia Tikka`s project ÆON. Photographer: Zuzanna Kaluzna