Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology

Our mission
The mission of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Terrestrial Microbiology is to understand how microorganisms function at the molecular, cellular, and community levels.

In particular, we aim to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the metabolic diversity of microorganisms, their ability to adapt and differentiate in response to changes in the environment, the mechanisms involved in cell cycle regulation and cell polarity, as well as the biogeochemical processes involved in the exchange of climatically relevant trace gases.

These analyses include all levels of microbial functions from the atomic/structural, molecular/cellular, and biochemical/physiological to the microbial community level as well as plant-microbe interactions.

The research areas covered at the MPI include:
  • Cellular microbiology
  • Molecular microbiology
  • Microbial biochemistry
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Microbial ecology
  • Environmental genomics
  • Microbial symbiosis  | Fungal biodiversity
  • Pathogen evolution
  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Plant pathogens
  • Synthetic biology
  • Systems biology
Research at the MPI is carried out in four departments. In addition, the institute hosts four Max Planck Research Groups, an Emeritus Group, and two Max Planck Fellows.

The directors of the departments, Prof. Dr. Ralf Conrad (Department of Biogeochemistry), Prof. Dr. Regine Kahmann (Department of Organismic Interactions), Prof. Lotte Søgaard-Andersen (Department of Ecophysiology), and Prof. Dr. Victor Sourjik (Department of Systems and Synthetic Microbiology) are scientific members of the Max Planck Society. The Managing Director of the Institute is currently Prof. Ralf Conrad.

The website of the Max Planck Society provides definitions of:

The scheme below shows the organization of the institute. To see a description of our research, please follow the link Research.

Organigram of the MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology as per August 2013.