Introducing: The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology

The building that houses the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology was inaugurated in February 2019 and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel came by for a lab-stroll.
Introducing: The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology

It’s a new building, a new institute and, so the plan, the architecture and the proximity to a university and a medical center offer new possibilities in medical systems biology. There is an opening conference related to a project called LifeTime and more information about that meeting can be found here. Yes, there is still time to register.

The around 250 scientists in the labs in the new The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) are setting out to develop and use technologies such as high-throughput sequencing, single-cell techniques and machine learning. They want to explore how best to apply these techniques in medicine that is tailored to individual patients and how to analyze the multi-dimensional views of cellular changes in health and disease, says the co-founder and institute director Nikolaus Rajewsky.

What is medical systems biology? NIkolaus Rajewsky comments here:

The institute is part of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), which has labs on the outskirts of Berlin. MDC is part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers which runs 19 federally and state-funded research centers across Germany.

At BIMSB, Rajewsky plans collaborations with neighbors a stone’s throw close: scientists at Humboldt University and at Charité, Berlin’s medical center.

I asked Nikolaus Rajekwsky about his plans, about medical systems biology, about how he wants to foster ‘cross-silo’ collaboration, about LifeTime. And about piano-playing. You can watch the conversation in its entirety here or you can check out the excerpts on this page. 


Rajewsky at BIMSB and Geneviève Almouzni at Institut Curie in Paris coordinate LifeTime, a project involving scientists at 50 research centers across Europe and 60 companies.

Here's an excerpt from the video about LifeTime.

There was a competition of 33 proposals and the LifeTime scientists made the first cut. As of March 2019, LifeTime is one of six projects funded for one year, with €1 million. Here is an overview of the six projects, including LifeTime that now has its first funding after this pan-European competition.

After this first year, the LifeTime team will vie for longer-term funding. The goal is to launch a large-scale project, a Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship. These are cross-disciplinary projects that usually run for ten years and are part of the Horizon Europe program. 

Some background about the LifeTime project goals can be found here.

The LifeTime inaugural conference will cover single cell multi-omics, experimental disease models, AI and machine learning as well as data science. It’s on May 6 and 7 in Berlin. More information about that meeting can be found here



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