Welcome to the Buchmann Institute
The Institute was founded in 2009 as part of the Cluster of Excellence Frankfurt Molecular Complexes, shortly after the Wissenschaftsrat recommended funding of a new Cluster building. We aim at understanding macromolecular complexes, in particular the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular functions. The Institute is composed of twelve scientific groups from various disciplines including biology, physics, chemistry, and medicine. We are dedicated to perform basic research with biomedical relevance, to train young scientists, and to develop frontier technologies in life sciences.
The Institute is named after the Frankfurt patron and businessman Dr. h.c. Josef Buchmann in recognition of his generous funding, enabling us to fill the Institute with life and recruit additional excellent young scientists to Frankfurt. We are very grateful to the Buchmann family for their continuous support and for sharing our vision and passion for life sciences.
25th Feb 2014 - New piece in the puzzle of neuronal communication
Detailed knowledge of the mechanisms that underlie neuronal communication is essential to better understand brain function and pathological conditions. Neurons can modulate their signal input not only by altering the area covered by their dendritic trees, but also by adapting the strength of their synapses. Regulation of cargo transport via adaptor molecules is essential for neuronal development. However, the role of PDZ scaffolding proteins as adaptors in neuronal cargo trafficking is still poorly understood. Read more
10th Feb 2014 - BMLS scientists Deepika Singh and Christian Pohl uncover a biomechanical mechanism for embryonic patterning
Early embryos need to generate a specific coordinate system to develop properly. In the last issue of Developmental Cell, BMLS scientists Deepika Singh and Christian Pohl now uncover a biomechanical mechanism that helps to form one axis in this coordinate system. This mechanism uses a remnant of cell division to orient cells along this axis. Link to publication
December 2013- Three new group leaders joining BMLS
Just before Christmas three group leaders signed their contracts for starting their first independent groups at BMLS. Dr Anja Bremm (left) who received a prestigious Emmy Noether Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG), Dr Masato Akutsu (second from left) who will be heading a group endowed by the Leibniz Prize awarded to Ivan Dikic (right) by the DFG, and Dr Kathi Zarnack (third from left) who will be funded through the LOEWE program 'Ubiquitin networks'. Both Kathi Zarnack and Masato Akutsu will also be supported by a donation from the Buchmann Foundation. All three will start their groups in 2014, Anja Bremm mainly concentrating on cellular signaling, Masato Akutsu strengthening the structural biology platform, and Kathi Zarnack establishing the first bioinformatics group.
4th Dec 2013 - Structure of HOIP catalytic core solved
In collaboration with Katrin Rittinger at the MRC-NIMR in London, the Dikic group solved a molecular puzzle about the formation of specific Ubiquitin chains. In the current issue of Nature, they report the crystal structure of the catalytic core of HOIP, the critical enzymes involved in forming linear (Met1-linked) Ubiquitin chains. These chains are important regulators of cellular signalling, and knowing the molecular structure of the complexes involved is an important step forward to understanding how these pathways control innate immunity and inflammation. Link to nature publication
27th Nov 2013. Ernst Stelzer awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Microscopical Society
The Royal Microscopical Society (RMS) is to award Ernst Stelzer the Honorary Fellowship of the Society for his contribution to the development of confocal microscopy. Ernst Stelzer will receive his honorary fellowship at the Microscience Microscopy Congress in July 2014 where he will also be giving the plenary talk. read more
10th June 2013 - Visit of Hessian Minister Michael Boddenberg
As part of the 'Research Awareness Weeks', Hessian Minister of Federal Affairs, Michael Boddenberg, took a tour around the Buchmann Institute and the Center for Biomagnetic Resonance. He was impressed by the setup of equipment and technologies on Riedberg Campus.
April 2013 – New technology for direct detection of broken DNA. In collaboration with an international team, BMLS scientists published a new technology utilising full genome sequencing for detection of fragile sites in the human genome in this month's issue of Nature Methods. Read more or link to press release.
19th March 2013 – Festive ceremony for Leibniz Prize Winners. Nine scientists were honoured today with the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2013, Germany`s most prestigious scientific award. Amongst them was BMLS director Ivan Dikic, who was recogniozed for his fundamental contribution to decrypting the Ubiquitin code. Link to DFG press release, to the laudatio, and to Dikic's profile.
8th January 2013 – BMLS director Ivan Dikic to receive Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine. The Jung Foundation for Science and Research announced that Ivan Dikic will receive the Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine 2013 for his groundbreaking work in understanding the role of Ubiquitin in cellular signal regulation. The prize is awarded with 150,000 € and will be presented at a ceremony on 3rd May in Hamburg. Read more.
6th December 2012 – Leibniz Prize 2013 for BMLS director Ivan Dikic. In recognition of his fundamental contribution to decrypting the Ubiquitin code, Ivan Dikic is to receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2013, Germany`s most prestigious scientific award. The award is funded and presented by the German Research Foundation (DFG). It is the research price with the highest endowment worldwide and comes with a grant of 2.5 M €. Read more.
10th September 2012 - BMLS Group Leader wins ERC Starting Grant. Martin Vabulas was awarded with one of the prestigious grants for early-career researchers, enabling him to carry out his ambitious MetaMeta project. The project studies the metastability of proteins during tumor metastasis and will now be endowed with € 1.4 M for the next 5 years. Link to Goethe University press release and ERC press release.
27th August 2012 - Renaming of the Institute is celebrated in a festive ceremony. As a sign of gratitude to the Frankfurt businessmann and patron Dr. h.c. Josef Buchmann, the Institute has been named Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences. Josef Buchmann has been a generous supporter of the Goethe University for more than 25 years, and has recently also sponsored the Institute substantially, enabling the recruitment of further young academics to the Riedberg campus. Link to German press release.
10th August 2012 - BMLS scientist Amparo Acker-Palmer elected as new member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Acker-Palmer's research concentrates on the parallels of network formation during vascularization and neuronal development. She was recruited to Frankfurt by the Cluster of Excellence in 2007 and is a group leader in BMLS since 2010. Link to German press release.
18th July 2012 – A new toolkit for monitoring endogenous Ubiquitin. BMLS scientists developed specific Ubiquitin biosensors for in vivo application. This approach might mark a major technical breakthrough in detection of Ubiquitin signals in living cells. It is published in today’s online issue of Molecular Cell. Link to full article or read more.
15th June 2010 - CEF successful in new round of Excellence Initiative. The Joint Commission of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the German Council of Science and Humanities announced today that the Cluster of Excellence Frankfurt Macromolecular Complexes (CEF) will receive funding in the 2nd phase of the German Excellence Initiative. The Buchmann Institute was founded as part of the CEF in 2009, and the continuation of CEF will boost further excellent research at the Institute. Read more.
7th February 2012 – Sponsorship of FMLS by Josef Buchmann sealed. The Frankfurt businessman and patron Josef Buchmann is supporting the FMLS with a substantial donation. As a sign of gratitude and to underscore the important role of Josef Buchmann and his wife Bareket in supporting research at the Goethe University, the FMLS will henceforth be named Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences. Link to German press release.
February 2011 - Lígia Gomes receives a long-term FEBS fellowship and commences her work within the Dikic/Dötsch group at the FMLS. Her project is focused on the regulation of selective autophagy. FEBS is funding her position for one year, with the option of renewal to up to 3 years.
January 2012 - Volker Dötsch receives € 1M for Reinhart Kosseleck Project: The FMLS Vice Director and Professor at the Institute of Biophysical Chemistry of the Goethe University Frankfurt has been granted € 1 M by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for a project building on his previously published results on genetic quality control in oocytes. Read more about this research area. Link to German Press Release.
January 2012 - Martin Grininger joins the FMLS: Following his successful application for a Lichtenberg Professorship of the Volkswagen Foundation, Martin Grininger has moved from the MPI of Biochemistry in Munich to establish his new group at the FMLS. His research is focussed on Megasynthases. These protein complexes produce bioactive natural products in various microorganisms, which are often applied as antibiotics. Martin Grininger aims to copy the natural pathways for the synthesis of new pharmaceutical drugs.
December 2011 - Award-winning video: PhD student Daniel von Wangenheim from the Stelzer Group wins the 2nd prize in the 2011 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. His video shows a Arabidopsis thaliana lateral root growing out of the primary root. A stack of 233 images was recorded every 15 minutes over a period of 75 hours using light-sheet based fluorescence microscopy (mDSLM). Link to Video.
1st December 2011 - New group leader recruited: Dr Christian Pohl has moved from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York/USA to join the FMLS. His research is focussed on embryonal development in the worm C. elegans, aiming at understanding the molecular mechanisms of head morphogenesis. With the recruitment of Dr Pohl, research into developmental cell biology is substantially strengthened at the FMLS.
November 2011 - Simin Rahighi receives an EMBO longterm postdoctoral fellowship; EMBO will fund her work for the next two years. Her proposal is focused on understanding the role of linear ubiquitylation in regulation of apoptotic cell death.
20th October 2011 - Volker Dötsch elected to EMBO membership: The FMLS Vice Director and Professor at the Institute of Biophysical Chemistry of the Goethe University Frankfurt has been elected by EMBO as one of 46 new members from 14 countries. By awarding life-long membership, EMBO acknowledges the outstanding scientific contribution of Volker Dötsch and his commitment to research excellence. Read more.
August 2011 - Completion of FMLS building: After only two years of construction time, the new FMLS building has now been finished. Seven groups from a wide range of disciplines have moved in already, creating a vibrant scientific atmosphere. The building offers excellent conditions for cutting edge research in Life Sciences, bridging the gaps between Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. It houses a first-class Electron Microscopy Facility, a dedicated Crystal Facility, and the Frankfurt Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy (FCAM). Link to webcam.
30th June 2011 – Chaperone system resolved: Newly synthesized proteins are fragile and could never reach their proper functional state and their correct destination without the protection of chaperones. As reported in the latest online issue of Science, FMLS deputy director Volker Dötsch was now involved in solving the molecular mechanisms of one such system. Read more.
26th May 2011 – New defense mechanism against Salmonella elucidated: After infection with Salmonella, epithelial cells can get rid of the unwanted invader by a process called autophagy. In today’s issue of the journal Science, an international group of scientists around FMLS director Ivan Dikic describes how selectivity is achieved in this process. Read more.
6th April 2011 - The world’s smallest wedding rings: FMLS scientist Alexander Heckel and his PhD student Thorsten Schmidt succeed in creating two interlocking rings of DNA only 18 nanometers in size. Such a structure is called a catenan, and it sets a milestone in the field of DNA nanotechnology. Read more.
1st April 2011 - New group leader recruited: Dr Martin Vabulas from the MPI of Biochemistry in Martinsried will join the FMLS in April 2011. Martin Vabulas is an expert in proteasome function and protein quality control mechanisms. His group aims at identifying molecular events which lead to the collapse of the protein network in diseases like Alzheimer's and during aging.
31st March 2011 - A step towards understanding chronic dermatitis: An international team of scientists led by FMLS director Ivan Dikic discovered a novel role for the protein SHARPIN in immune signalling. In today’s issue of Nature, they show how SHARPIN stimulates formation of linearized ubiquitin chains, triggering activation of a central regulator of immune responses. Read more.
21st March 2011 - Japan Tsunami Appeal: The FMLS & CEF Offices are collecting donations for the Japanese Red Cross Society until the end of March. If you wish to participate in this effort, please visit the office or use the following links to find information of how to donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross or to the German Red Cross.
18th February 2011 - Fatal quality control in oocytes: Maintaining genomic stability in the female germline is extremely important for all species. Together with others, the group of FMLS scientist Volker Dötsch has now revealed how the activity of quality control factor p63 is regulated in oocytes. Upon DNA damage, conformation of the protein changes to an active tetramer, initiating death of damaged oocytes. Their results are published today in the journal Cell. Read more.
24th November 2010 One ubiquitin, 1000s of partners: Ubiquitin signals and ubiquitin-binding domains are implicated in almost every cellular process. But how is this wide spectrum of functionality achieved? How does ubiquitin find the correct target? Ivan Dikic and colleagues reviewed technological advances in monitoring the dynamics and specificity of ubiquitin networks in the journal Cell. Read more or listen to interview with Prof Ivan Dikic.
Frankfurt researcher is admitted to the German Academy of Sciences. Ivan Dikic, Scientific Director of the CEF-funded FMLS, is elected a member of the Leopoldina read more
Find more in the news archive.
26 February 2014, 5:00pm
"Tissue separation in the vertebrate embryo"Rudolf Winklbauer, University of Toronto, Canada
Buchmann Institute For Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS), Campus Riedberg, Goethe University, Max von Laue Str. 15, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Seminar Room 3rd Floor (3.601-2)