Innovation Campus: New Building for "Biology at the Nanoscale" Research Network
9 March 2018
The Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of Science is underwriting a new university building that will serve as a research bridge between Ruperto Carola and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Minister for Science, Research, and the Arts Theresia Bauer, Max Planck Society President Prof. Dr Martin Stratmann, and President of Heidelberg University Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel signed a declaration of intent that earmarks 25 million euros for the construction. The new building, to be erected adjacent to the Max Planck Institute as part of a "Heidelberg 4 Life" life sciences innovation campus, is associated with the planned "Biology at the Nanoscale" research network born of an initiative by Nobel Prize winner Prof. Dr Stefan Hell. Along with Cyber Valley, this makes the second innovation campus in Baden-Wuerttemberg designed to attract highly qualified junior researchers and strengthen a dynamic, research-driven startup culture that fosters groundbreaking discoveries.
Through the research network, Heidelberg University, especially the Centre for Molecular Biology (ZMBH), and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research hope to expand their collaboration in basic research in bioscience and biomedicine. Other partners will be incorporated, in particular the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and on-site clinical research; industry contacts will be cultivated to facilitate research transfer into biomedical applications. Besides bringing together top researchers from various fields at different stages in their careers, the network aims to combine multidisciplinary basic research with innovative technological approaches and attract top-notch young researchers to Heidelberg.
The goal of the "Biology at the Nanoscale" research network is to study molecular systems in the life sciences through the integration of physics, chemistry, molecular biology and genome research, thus laying the groundwork for a fundamental understanding of life processes at the nanolevel of individual cells and their molecules. There are many nanometre-sized structures and molecular machines that control cellular functions, including those that replicate genomes, manufacture and repair proteins, as well as dispose of "damaged" proteins. The work pursued within the network will open up opportunities for far-reaching innovations in medical and biotechnological-physicochemical research that can be directed, in collaboration with network partners, toward developing new diagnostic tools and therapies.
Prof. Hell, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and honorary professor at Heidelberg University, and ZMBH Director Prof. Dr Bernd Bukau were also present at the signing. The planned new university building offers space for research groups as well as the necessary research infrastructure, such as high-performance light microscopy, single-cell technologies and a laboratory for biochemical-chemical analyses.