Basic Research at the Forefront of Modern Biology

Basic research at the Max Planck Institute for Biology Tübingen addresses fundamental questions in microbial, algal, plant and animal biology, including the interaction between different organisms. The approaches we use range from biochemistry, cell and developmental biology to evolutionary and ecological genetics, functional genomics and bioinformatics. The institute currently has five active departments, each led by a Director: Protein Evolution (Andrei Lupas), Microbiome Research (Ruth Ley), Integrative Evolutionary Biology (Ralf Sommer), Algal Development and Evolution (Susana Coelho), and Molecular Biology (Detlef Weigel).

In addition, we host three independent research groups outside the departments, which extend and complement the departments’ scientific directions. Several core facilities provide advanced technical support,  each being equipped with state-of-the-art instruments.

Affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Biology Tübingen is the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory as an institution of the Max Planck Society, with four independent research groups. 


The variety of topics investigated by scientists at the MPI for Biology Tübingen is extensive, although all subjects have a biological theme. The cutting-edge technology in molecular and cellular biology and computational science available at the institute is enabling scientists to gain increasing insight into cellular and developmental processes. A highly dynamic and interdisciplinary approach is applied from the molecular level to cells, tissues, and the whole organism.



The core facilities of the MPI for Biology Tübingen are the Electron Microscopy, Light Microscopy, NMR Spectroscopy, the Genome Center, X-Ray Crystallography and the Mass Spectrometry.

The facilities offer a broad range of methods and techniques and provide a motivating and helpful environment where researchers/users are trained and supported throughout their projects.



Every other year the institutes of the Tübingen campus invite the general public to their Open House or participate in the TÜFF (Tübinger Fenster für Forschung), a science fair. Scientists participate regularly at events like the „Kinder-Uni“ (Children's University), the Maus-Türöffner-Tag (open house event for children), as well as in presentations and podium discussions hosted by the MPI for Biology Tübingen, FML or the partner institutes.


Mission Statement

Contemporary biology covers an enormous spectrum, from research on basic cellular processes to predictions about the consequences of global change. But this spectrum is not always continuous: while there is abundant evidence that organisms can adapt to their natural environment, it is often not obvious what the underlying genetic, molecular and developmental processes are. Similarly, while we have an increasing appreciation for the complexities of population genetic events, the underlying ecological factors are often unclear. A major difficulty in answering these questions stems from the fact that many of these processes operate on different spatial and temporal scales. At the MPI for Biology Tübingen, we aim to bridge these different scales, by studying fundamental aspects of prokaryotic and eukaryotic biology both in the laboratory and in natural settings. To this end, we make use of approaches that range from biochemistry, cell and developmental biology to evolutionary and ecological genetics, functional genomics and computational biology.

Latest News


Our PhD Programs

Two programs take care of the more than eighty young scientists currently working towards their PhD degree here:

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) “From Molecules to Organisms”  and the International PhD Program in the Biological Sciences.

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Here you find all the latest information about the Max Planck Campus Tübingen. We send press releases on a regularly base to inform the media and the broad interested audience about the latest research results and topics. Stay informed about what is happening on Campus and the latest public events.


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The promotion of young scientists is a very important goal at the MPI for Biology Tübingen. In close cooperation with the University of Tübingen about 200 students from all over the world are working at the three Max Planck Institutes and at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory on their theses.


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the Public

We provide detailed information about the MPI for Biology Tübingen, the Max Planck Campus Tübingen, research news, viewpoints, and a broad range of further information for the general public
as well as pupils and teachers.