Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany

Description of organizationmdclogo en

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine is a major biomedical research institute located in the northeastern corner of Berlin, Germany. The MDC was founded in 1992 with a mission of translating discoveries from molecular research into applications to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of major human diseases. The site in Berlin-Buch, home to hospital clinics, research institutes and a flourishing biotech industry, is fertile ground for interdisciplinary and patient-oriented research. As a testament to its success, the MDC has been ranked 14th in the Thompson Reuters list of the world's 20 best research institutes for molecular biology and genetics, based on our publication record.


Currently about 1,400 staff members and guests work at the MDC. The annual institutional budget amounts to approximately 68 million Euros, 90 percent of which is received from the federal government and 10 percent from the State of Berlin. This is complemented by about 24 million Euros obtained by MDC researchers through grants and other external sources. The work of the MDC's 57 research groups centers around three classes of disease which have an enormous impact on society:


Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases


Nervous system disorders


Translational research, bringing the latest science from the bench to the bedside, is carried out within the framework of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC) – the centerpiece of our collaborations with the Charité-Universitätsmedizin. The ECRC comprises research labs and several outpatient clinics, clinical training programs, and offers funding for groups and specific translational projects, enabling close collaboration between MDC researchers and clinical scientists of the Charité.


The MDC has placed a special emphasis on systems biology, and a major unit called the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) has been established to pursue this theme in close collaboration with existing groups. The scientific focus of BIMSB is posttranscriptional gene regulation with a particular emphasis on the role of microRNAs in health and disease. Work at the institute is supported by high-throughput technology platforms for mass spectrometry, flow cytometry, confocal and two-photon microscopy, electron microscopy and magnetic resonance tomography, along with bioinformatics services and advanced data modeling , for example mathematical cell physiology.


With over 300 PhD students in several graduate programs, the MDC is helping to educate a new generation of scientists. In addition, the MDC has an extensive program for public education that includes lectures and conferences, press and news services, a range of publications for non-specialists, and tours of the campus and its laboratories.


The MDC works closely with the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) on the Berlin-Buch campus, with which it has established joint research groups and technology platforms. The extensive campus biotechnology park, comprising nearly 50 companies and 750 employees, is managed by BBB Management GmbH. The BBB also runs the Gläsernes Labor, a teaching lab that welcomes over 10,000 pupils and their teachers each year, and a major attraction for the public during the Berlin Long Night of the Sciences.


A wide range of institutional collaborations have been established with virtually all the major institutes in Berlin, including the Benjamin Franklin university clinic in Steglitz, Max Planck Institutes, Humboldt University, the Freie Universität Berlin, and a long list of international partners.


Previous experience

Miguel Andrade has been doing research in computational biology for 20 years. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 1994. He trained at the post-doctoral level at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg and Cambridge working on the development and application of computational methods for the analysis of gene and protein function and structure. From 2003 to 2007, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine of the University of Ottawa and Scientist and Head of the Bioinformatics Group of the Ottawa Health Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada, where he was promoted to Senior Scientist in 2006. He was a Canada Research Chair from 2004 to 2008 and was involved in the Stem Cell Genomics Project, a project funded by Genome Canada, the Ontario Genomics Institute and the Canadian Stem Cell Network, to profile gene expression of more than 200 samples of human and murine stem cells and their derivatives. As part of the project his group developed the database for the distribution and analysis of these data (StemBase). Miguel is now at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin where in 2007 he started the Computational Biology and Data Mining group. His group focuses on the development and application of computational methods that are used to research the molecular and genetic components of human disease.


Profile of staff members

Miguel Andrade is the group leader of the Computational Biology and Data Mining group at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine.



Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine



Five recent publications relevant to the project

1) Schaefer, M.H., E.E. Wanker and M.A. Andrade-Navarro. 2012. Evolution and function of CAG/polyglutamine repeats in protein-protein interaction networks. Nucleic Acids Research. In press.


2) Schaefer, M.H., J.F. Fontaine, A. Vinayagam, P. Porras, E.E. Wanker and M.A. Andrade-Navarro. 2012. HIPPIE: integrating protein interaction networks with experiment based quality scores. PLoS One. 7:e31826.


3) Barbosa-Silva, A., J.F. Fontaine, E.R. Donnard, F. Stussi, J. Miguel-Ortega and M.A. Andrade-Navarro. 2011. PESCADOR, a web-based tool to extract and study biointeractions from PubMed queries. BMC Bioinformatics. 12:435.


4) Fontaine, J.F., F. Priller, A. Barbosa-Silva, M.A. Andrade-Navarro. 2011. Génie: literature-based gene prioritization at multi genomic scale. Nucleic Acids Research. 39:W455-W461.


5) Mah, N., Y. Wang, M.C. Liao, A. Prigione, J. Jozefczuk, B. Lichtner, K. Wolfrum, M. Haltmeier, M. Flöttmann, M. Schaefer, A. Hahn, R. Mrowka, E. Klipp, M.A. Andrade-Navarro and J. Adjaye. 2011. Molecular insights into reprogramming-initiation events mediated by the OSKM gene regulatory network. PLoS One. 6:e24351.