The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association carries out basic biomedical research. We try to understand the causes of diseases at the molecular level, in order to better diagnose, treat and prevent them. Our aim is to transfer our findings as quickly as possible into practical applications.

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Research Highlights

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Role model stem cells: How immune cells can self-renew

When our organs age or wear out, their renewal usually depends on a few stem cells in the tissue, because the vast majority of differentiated cells have lost their ability to divide and generate new cells. A German-French team led by Michael Sieweke from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin and the Centre d‘Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML) in Marseille has now discovered how human macrophages, a type of specialized immune cell, can nevertheless divide and self-renew almost indefinitely. As the researchers show in the journal Science, the macrophages achieve this by activating a gene network similar to one found in embryonic stem cells. In the future the findings could provide new directions in regenerative medicine and therapies.

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Watching the ribosome at work

A new statistical method could help to clarify the function of unknown genes. A research team under Uwe Ohler of the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) has adapted and tested a filter method from speech signal processing that makes sequencing data more interpretable. “We can use this to watch the ribosome at work,” says Ohler.

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