What is so special about the IMPRS “From Molecules to Organisms”?

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) “From Molecules to Organisms” provides excellent interdisciplinary training across the disciplines of structural, molecular, cellular and developmental biology as well as bioinformatics, genomics and evolutionary biology. The school’s aim is to endow the next generation of scientists with the knowledge and skills to study complex biological processes, which cannot be adequately understood within the limits of single disciplines, in the context of entire organisms. The program of the school is challenging and innovative because it bridges not only diverse disciplines but also spans several levels of biological organization (from molecules to organisms), which the participating laboratories cover with their broad range of expertise: the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory and the University of Tübingen. Research topics offered to the students are drawn from the following traditionally separate fields:

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry and structural biology
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology
  • Molecular and cellular biology
  • Developmental biology and genetics
  • Genomics and proteomics
  • Microbiome science
  • Evolutionary biology and ecology


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Innovative training program

In general, about one half of the junior researchers receiving their training within the IMPRS are from Germany and the others from around the world. The language of all lectures at the IMPRS is English. The principal component of the program is the doctoral thesis representing a major piece of independent research, mainly in an interdisciplinary topic. Doctoral students also benefit from a 3-year supporting program of regular workshops, meetings and symposia, which facilitates the exchange of information and provide students with the opportunity to see their research topic from different perspectives. The right to confer degrees resides with the University of Tübingen. However, supervising faculty at the University, the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory look after the students, instruct them and test them.

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IMPRS in general

Since the year 2000, the International Max Planck Research Schools have become a permanent part of the efforts of the Max Planck Society to promote PhD students in Germany. Currently, there are more than 60 IMPRSs; 70 Max Planck Institutes are associated with an IMPRS in close collaboration with one or more universities.

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