Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Germany

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany, is one of the world’s leading research institutes in life sciences and member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, Germany’s largest scientific organisation. MDC has been ranked 14th on the Thomson Reuters list of the world’s 20 best research institutes for molecular biology and genetics, based on its publication record. MDC conducts basic biomedical research to understand the causes of disease at the molecular level with the mission to translate discoveries as quickly as possible into practical applications, aiming at the improvement of disease prevention, diagnosis and therapy. The work of MDC’s 71 research groups is centred on diseases which have enormous impact on society, namely medical systems biology, nervous system disorders, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and cancer. The integrated Systems Biology Program at the MDC, the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB), focuses on single cell biology and the different levels of gene regulation to generate predictive models of how gene regulatory changes are linked to phenotypes.
The MDC has state-of-the-art, world-class infrastructures including: genomics, computational biology, advanced light and electron microscopy, interactomics, small molecule screening, iPSC and organoids, proteomics and metabolomics are in place. Furthermore, technology platforms for experimental UHF magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, pathophysiology, preparative flow cytometry, and a transgenic core facility. Major equipment required is available in Pombo’s laboratory or MDC facilities, including Leica TCS SP8X/STED confocal microscope, ACD HybEZ Oven, Peqlab PeqStar thermocycler, real-time PCR machine (BioRad CFX96), individual bench and office space for new ESRs, plus free use of meeting rooms, teleconferencing, and computing services.
The MDC is involved in over 200 national projects and in over 50 EU and international projects.
Notably, since establishment of the ERC grants funding instrument, scientists of the MDC have been awarded 26 ERC grants, 22 of which were raised directly at the MDC; 16 grant winners are currently working at the MDC. In addition, in FP7, MDC was a partner in three ITNs and an IAPP and involved in 4 CIG, 4 IEF, 1 IIF, 1 IOF and two IRG projects. In H2020, MDC has been awarded seven Marie Curie EF projects and three ITNs. Since 2008, MDC regularly organises on campus about 15 different scientific, 20 different professional skills and 10 different career development training activities.

The MDC includes the group of Prof. Ana Pombo, who has expertise in participating in FP7, H2020, RIKEN FANTOM and NIH multi-institute projects. The group has developed novel imaging and genomics approaches for studying the three dimensional organisation of the genome in mammalian cells, and more recently focused on single cell analyses and integrated ‘true’ multi-omics approaches to collect multiple parallel data from the same single cells. In this proposal, they leverage on their most recent work on genomics sequence identification in sub cellular samples to infer 3D genome arrangement to their application in similarly challenging microbiome samples. They also align their current efforts for mammalian spatial transcriptomics to their translation to microbiome samples.

Role in the project
MDC, led by Prof. Ana Pombo, will develop 3D’ o mics technology to reconstruct 3D multi-omic intestinal landscapes from micro-scale genomic and transcriptomic, towards a detailed characterisation of the micro-scale microbial ecosystems of poultry and swine with unprecedented resolution. MDC will develop the 3D’ o mics framework in WP4 and WP5, both for in vitro and in vivo approaches, to inform the design of the large scale animal trials.