Research Groups


Institute History


The Institute was founded in 2009 as part of the Cluster of Excellence Macromolecular Complexes (CEF) at the Goethe University Frankfurt, shortly after the German Council of Science and Humanities had recommended the funding of a Forschungsbau for the Cluster in 2008. At this time, the Institute operated under the name Frankfurt Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (FMLS).

Early in 2009 , the diggers started ripping up the designated area on the South Western edge of Riedberg Campus, and on June 5th, the foundation stone was laid in a festive ceremony.

Laying the foundation stone:   Hessian Finance Minister Karlheinz Weimar, Goethe University’s President
Prof. Dr. Werner Müller-Esterl, Frankfurt Mayor Petra Roth and Hessian Minister of Science, Eva Kühne-Hörmann

Goethe University’s Emeritus Professor and former Vice-President Jürgen Bereiter-Hahn led the building project from University side. He is still involved and closely connected to the BMLS.

The first Scientific Director was Professor Ivan Dikic, who headed the Institute between 2009 and 2013. With Kerstin Koch as the Institute Manager and Professor Volker Dötsch as Vice Director a managing team was brought together whose primary goal it was to established scientific excellence, a flat hierarchy structure and to recruit several independent group leaders to further strengthen the research in the CEF/BMLS communities.

Between 2009 and 2013, the Institute grew substantially, with six new group leaders being  appointed to build up their first independent group. The Institute started to generate significant grant income by successfully applying for one of the highly competitive LOEWE programs funded through the Hessian Excellence Initiative. It also played an important role in the application for prolongation of the CEF in 2012, and participated in several applications for Collaborative Research Grants funded by the German Research Foundation. Numerous collaborations and partnerships were initiated to embed the Institute not only in the Rhine-Main research network, but also in the international  community.  The Frankfurt Autophagy Network was kicked off in 2011 as one of the first coordinated activities in autophagy research in Germany.

Further, several highly recognized and competitive awards went to the Institute’s scientists in this period, including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (Dikic), four ERC grants (Frangakis, Vabulas, Dikic and Acker-Palmer), a Lichtenberg professorship (Grininger) and others.

Ivan Dikic

“Our vision is to establish a flagship institute of Goethe University, which will further strengthen the interdisciplinary research community“,
Scientific Director Ivan Dikic (2009 - 2013)

Ivan Dikic


In August 2011, the first FMLS research groups were able to move into their new purpose-built premises. The Institute now offers work space for 180 scientists on more than 3000 m², of which 70% are equipped as state-of-the-art laboratories.


The founding team



In February 2012, the Institute was renamed to "Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS)" to honor the Frankfurt businessman and patron Dr. h.c. Josef Buchmann and his wife Bareket Buchmann. The Buchmann family generously supported the Goethe University for more than 25 years, and has recently also engaged in sponsoring the Institute with a substantial donation, enabling the recruitment of further young excellent scientists to the Riedberg campus and filling the Institute with life. The members of the Institute are very grateful to the Buchmann family for their continuous support and for sharing the vision and passion for life sciences.

Renaming ceremony: Goethe University’s President Prof. Dr. Werner Müller-Esterl, Dr. h. c. Josef Buchmann, his wife Bareket Buchmann, Frankfurt Mayor Petra Roth and Hessian Minister of Science, Eva Kühne-Hörmann.

Today, the building has grown to become an interdisciplinary Institute which is firmly embedded in the Cluster of Excellence Macromolecular Complexes. Four University faculties are part of this endeavor: Faculty 13 (Physics), Faculty 14 (Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy), Faculty 15 (Biological Sciences) and Faculty 16 (Medicine). BMLS Group Leaders are appointed at the Goethe University, are generally affiliated with one of the faculties, and have bilateral links to other University departments and Frankfurt research institutions.

In January 2014 Enrico Schleiff has been elected new Director of the BMLS.

“We investigate the „Molecular plasticity and kinesis within cells“ in interdisciplinary projects with focus on the dynamics of membrane function; the complexity of intracellular signal transduction; and the regulation by and of RNAs. This end, BMLS is integrated into the research community of the campus Riedberg and provides an excellent infrastructure for cutting edge science. “ Scientific Director Enrico Schleiff