The research at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry encompasses a wide spectrum of scientific topics and techniques. Of central concern is the mechanisms by which cells, organelles and biomolecules fulfill their manifold tasks. Ultra-high-resolution microscopy, nanotechnology, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and computer simulation are employed to delve ever-further into the nanocosmos of living cells. The institute's researchers investigate how spliceosomes correctly configure genetic information, how ribosomes synthesize proteins, how nerve cells communicate with one another via synapses, how cellular logistics are controlled or how protein aggregates damage cells. The study of the cellular cosmos is also intimately connected with the study of the organism. Scientists at the institute examine how living beings develop, how their sleep-wake cycles are controlled, how organ-specific stem cells are formed and in how far obesity and metabolic diseases are caused by genetic misregulation.
The MPI for Biophysical Chemistry is also a pioneer in the development of methods of measurement and analysis which allow a clearer view into cellular life processes. Examples include far-field microscopy on the nanometer scale, magnetic resonance tomography and spectroscopy, optical spectroscopy and atomistic computer simulation.
In all of its research, the institute pursues a strong interdisciplinary approach. The eleven departments and 30 independent research groups complement each other with regard to their orientations and methodology and collaborate extensively with one another, with other institutes around Göttingen, with the University of Göttingen as well as with colleagues nationally and internationally. The support of young scientists is also of primary importance to the institute, and is reflected in the large number of independent research groups. In addition, the independent research laboratory Biomedical NMR Research GmbH (headed by Prof. Jens Frahm) is affiliated with the institute.