Research at the MDC aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of health and disease, and translate those findings into medical practice. These core activities are pursued in more than 60 independent research groups across four main research areas.
MDC RESEARCH AREAS
The cardiovascular system delivers oxygen, nutrients and factors such as hormones to all cells, organs and body parts. Certain lifestyle and genetic factors can tip the cardiovascular system out of balance. Metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, are often at the root of cardiovascular malfunction. The focus of MDC research lies on identifying how these intricate systems work and interact, which genetic, epigenetic and lifestyle factors influence their function.
In order for cancer to arise, a myriad of cellular defense mechanisms have to be disabled. Cancer cells grow uncontrolled, do not properly respond to signals from the environment and can spread or migrate away from their normal positions in the body. MDC scientists are working on identifying the molecular mechanisms that keep cells healthy and how these are bypassed when cancer arises.
The human brain and nervous system are the most complex organs that evolution has produced. Neuroscientists are looking for paradigms which explain how the interaction of 100 billion cells can result in such complex functions as perception, learning, or memory. By focusing on the molecular mechanisms at play in nerve cells, MDC scientists are producing knowledge on how the brain and nervous system are formed, how they work and which changes they undergo in different disease states.
The complex nature of living organisms cannot be understood by studying only the properties of individual cells or molecules. Instead, systems biology pursues an integrative approach to study whole systems of biological components with the aid of high-throughput and computational approaches. The central aim of the “Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology” (BIMSB) of the MDC is to better understand gene regulatory networks in health and disease.
Biomedical research at the MDC produces knowledge highly relevant for the way we understand disease. In many cases, this data is the starting point for the development of preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic concepts. We work together with medical doctors to obtain knowledge about human physiopathology, get insight into unmet clinical needs and translate our research to the clinic.
Research in the four core areas is complemented by our translational activities within the Experimental and Clinical Research Centre (ECRC), the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and the six German Health Research Centers, especially the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK).
Access to state-of-the-art technology is crucial for MDC researchers to answer challenging questions. New technologies can address new scientific questions which were previously thought to be out of reach. In order to stay at the forefront of biomedical science, we continually update our technology portfolio.
The MDC has 13 dedicated Technology Platforms providing our groups (and external users by special request) with facilities and support for a wide range of different techniques. These platforms offer and develop state-of-the-art technology and services with a focus on high-throughput technologies, genome engineering and high-end imaging.