Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics

Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics

The Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI) in Freiburg, Germany, is an interdisciplinary research institute that conducts basic research in modern immunobiology and developmental biology. It was founded in 1961 as Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and is one of 80 institutions of the Max Planck Society.

The researchers of the MPI study the development of the immune system and analyse the genes and molecules which are important for its function. They also seek to establish which factors control the maturation of immune cells and how chemical changes of the DNA influence the immune defense.

In 2007, the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology added Epigenetics as a new research area. In 2010, the institute changed its name to Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics. The 1984 Nobel Prize-winning biologist Georges J. F. Köhler was a director of the institute from 1984 until his death in 1995.



The Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics is organised into four departments:

  • Cellular and Molecular Immunology (Head: Prof. Dr. Rudolf Grosschedl)
  • Developmental Immunology (Head: Prof. Dr. Thomas Boehm)
  • Epigenetics (Head: Prof. Dr. Thomas Jenuwein)
  • Molecular Embryology (Head: Prof. Dr. Rolf Kemler)

In addition to the four departments, the institute includes

  • a Max Planck Investigator Group on Chromatin Regulation (Head: Dr. Asifa Akhtar)
  • an adjunct University Department on Molecular Immunology (Head: Prof. Dr. Michael Reth)
  • the Spemann Laboratory, which has the aim of promoting the early independence of junior scientists.


The Management Board of the MPI comprises elected scientific members of the Max Planck Society. These serve a dual function as co-directors of the institute and as department heads. The managing directorship rotates every three years among these co-directors. Currently, the Management Board (Kollegium) comprises the following members:

Managing Director:

  • Prof. Dr. Rudolf Grosschedl

Scientific Members:

  • Dr. Asifa Akhtar
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Boehm
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Jenuwein
  • Prof. Dr. Rolf Kemler

Adjunct Scientific Member:

  • Prof. Dr. Michael Reth

Previous Directors:

1961 – 1982 Prof. Dr. Otto Westphal
1964 – 1981 Prof. Dr. Herbert Fischer
1965 – 1988 Dr. Otto Lüderitz
1981 – 2004 Prof. Dr. Klaus Eichmann
1984 – 1995 Prof. Dr. Georges Köhler
1991 – 2006 Dr. Davor Solter

Graduate Program

The International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology (IMPRS-MCB) is a PhD program covering practical experimental skills in molecular and cellular biology and theoretical knowledge and in-depth analysis of scientific literature. IMPRS-MCB was started in the year 2006 on the initiative of scientists of the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg and the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and is run in cooperation with the University of Freiburg.

External links

Coordinates: 48°1′30″N 7°51′6″E / 48.025°N 7.85167°E / 48.025; 7.85167

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