Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB)
The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a newly established research center funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. The institute's objective is to research in three focal areas: developmental biology, epigenetics and genome stability.
- Developmental molecular biology investigates how genes control the complex process of transforming a fertilized egg into a fully grown organism. This research is also beneficial to the advance of medicine. Normal developmental processes are known to be disrupted in the case of many illnesses.
- Epigenetics researches how the genes themselves are controlled, i.e. switched on and off in specific cells, and how genetic activity changes in old age and with disease. This research will soon have practical medical application. For instance, epigenetically effective enzymes can be involved in the development of cancer.
- Finally, research into genome stability is aimed at understanding the body's own mechanisms that repair damage to DNA. This type of damage occurs when, for instance, our skin is exposed to sunlight, and can lead to cancer.
In addition to these topics, researchers at IMB are also dealing with high-resolution light microscopy, a technique that makes it possible to observe previously invisible structures and processes in cells. Bioinfomatics experts use computer models to demonstrate how genes interact in order to better understand the functionality of regulatory networks. IMB concentrates predominantly on basic research. However, research results have the potential for application in medicine.