The Biomedical Center Munich is one of Europe‘s leading research institutions


Lecture auditorium of the Biomedical Center
Quelle: LMU

The new institute of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich consolidates biomedical research on the Campus Martinsried. Students who study medicine in Munich today complete a good part of the preclinical phase of their studies at the Biomedical Center (BMC). Here, the subjects of biochemistry and physiology are taught in state-of-the-art seminar and practical rooms. The largest lecture auditorium of the LMU, which can accommodate almost 1000 students of a year, is also located at the BMC. Rainer Rutz has interviewed Prof. Dr. Peter Becker, Executive Director of the BMC for the IZB in dialog.

© Biomedical Center Munich
From baker’s yeast and the fruit fly to frogs and mice as well as human cells in culture – all of these model organisms are examined here, and provide valuable insights into mechanisms that also function in humans

Prof. Dr. Peter B. Becker, Executive Director of the Biomedical Center Munich

“Here, the students learn about the most basic relationships in biochemistry, molecular biology and physiology,” depicts Prof. Dr. Peter Becker, Executive Director of the BMC in Martinsried. “What we teach here usually has little to do with the current findings of our research. For example, we address questions such as “how does a cell work?”, “how do genes work?” or “which programs are disrupted in a tumor?”. In order to be able to practice successfully later on, a future physician, no matter which field of study, has to understand these things,” emphasizes Becker.

“From baker’s yeast and the fruit fly to frogs and mice as well as human cells in culture – all of these model organisms are examined here, and provide valuable insights into mechanisms that also function in humans,” explains Becker, to underline the diversity and breadth of biomedical research practiced here. Similar to the neighboring Max Planck institutes, BMC also conducts basic research.

The BMC has 65 research groups working in the fields of biochemistry, molecular cell biology, immunology, neurophysiology and immunology, and vascular physiology. Modern service and core facilities for bioinformatics, protein analysis, bioimaging, flow cytometry, biophysics, and animal models are available to all researchers. “The goal is to understand complicated processes at the molecular level,” summarizes Becker. “At the BMC, the plasticity of cell programs is the main topic. The functions of cells are “programmed” by their genetic information. However, these programs may change due to external influences, such as environmental factors or infections, and also due to tumorigenesis or age-related degenerative changes. “In international ranking, the new structure is not yet visible,” admits Becker. “Now it is about developing the BMC as a brand.”


The largest lecture auditorium of the LMU can accommodate almost 1000 students
Quelle: LMU

Today the BMC occupies a central place in the LMU’s strategy of closely interlinking science and the clinic. With its profile and mix of preclinical, theoretical clinical and actual clinical facilities, it exemplifies building the bridge between basic research and clinical applications.

The institute opened two and a half years ago and is one of the largest biomedical research centers in Europe. Over the last two years finally all the departments and institutes have started their work in the huge building, which cost nearly 140 million euros. Currently, the large animal house, which meets the most modern requirements, is being put into operation.

“We are closely connected to the other facilities nearby,” emphasizes Becker. The location on the high-tech campus in Martinsried/Grosshadern is considered one of the world’s most important addresses for life sciences – an almost unique concentration of renowned scientific institutions. This environment offers an outstanding research infrastructure and therefore optimal prerequisites for top-class interdisciplinary research. In the immediate vicinity of the BMC the Grossha­dern Clinic, the faculties of Chemistry and Pharmacy with the Gene Center and BioSysM, the Faculty of Biology, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE Munich), the Institute of Stroke and Dementia research, the two Max Planck Institutes for Biochemistry and Neurobiology, and the Innovation and Start-up Center Biotechnology (IZB).