History of the Institute

History of the Institute

New and future oriented

On March 23, 2001 the Max Planck Society chose Münster as location for the Max Planck Institute for Vascular Biology, and on August 1, 2001 the new institute was founded. The decision did not come about incidentally. During the 1990s the University of Münster considerably intensified its biomedical research. To complement the Institute for Arteriosclerosis Research, the University established the Center for Molecular Biology of Inflammation (ZMBE) and the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research, two additional leading institutions in their respective fields.

Building on a fruitful cooperation

Furthermore, close ties exist between the university and the founding director of the new Max Planck Institute, the biochemist Prof. Dr. Dietmar Vestweber. Since 1994 he has headed the Institute of Cell Biology at the Center for Molecular Biology of Inflammation (ZMBE) of the University of Münster, and he works together with several university departments and clinics.

Expansion due to stem cell research

From the beginning it was planned that the new Max Planck Institute would have two additional departments. In the spring of 2004 the second department was established, the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology with the internationally renowned stem cell researcher Prof. Dr. Hans R. Schöler at its head.

New name, new location

In 2004, due to the addition of new research areas, the Max Planck Society gave the Institute a new name: the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine. In 2006 these two departments moved into the new building constructed specifically for this purpose by the Max Planck Society. The address of the new building is Röntgenstrasse 20 – and it is only a stone’s throw away from the university.

Since 2007 complete
In 2007 the Institute became complete with the appointment of the biochemist Prof. Dr. Ralf H. Adams as director of the third department, the Department of Tissue Morphogenesis. His research focuses on the molecular signals which regulate the formation of blood vessels – in the embryo when the organ is formed or in disease processes like in the growth of tumors.

An institute in transition
Prof. Dr. Hans R. Schöler retired at the end of October 2021, but he continues to work at the Münster Institute with an emeritus group. The retirement of Prof. Dr. Dietmar Vestweber is also in sight. Because more than half of the directors at our Max Planck Institute will become emeritus within 5 years, the research concept was evaluated and adapted according to guidelines of the Max Planck Society. The new concept focuses more on tissue formation.

As of November 2021, Prof. Sara Wickström, MD, PhD is a new director at the Max Planck Institute. In her new department "Cell and Tissue Dynamics," she focuses on how tissue stem cells communicate with each other and with their microenvironment so that specific tissue structures can emerge.

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