Program Overview


The International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology (IMPRS-MCB) was established in 2006 as a joint initiative of scientists from the University of Freiburg and the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics. We offer talented students excellent training opportunities in the fields of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Epigenetics and Immunobiology. This scientific education in a first class environment supports their development into outstanding young researchers.

The IMPRS-MCB program is managed by the IMPRS office in collaboration with the two IMPRS Spokespersons and the members of the Graduate Committee. We currently have 50 students from 24 countries, and 20 faculty members (18 from MPI-IE and 2 from the University of Freiburg). We are also very proud of our growing Alumni group, which by now comprises 59 graduates.

One of the distinctive aspects of our program is a rotation period.  Students spend one month each in three different laboratories before starting their PhD project. This is an important step towards identifying a suitable laboratory for their PhD thesis, as it allows them to experience three distinct lab environments and provides further insight into particular research topics.  The rotations are also a chance for group leaders to ascertain which student will be the best fit for their groups.  Finally, this rotation phase enhances communication and networking within the Institute.

After the rotation period, our fellows join the lab, in which they will carry out their PhD work. The PhD project constitutes the core of the scientific training. Our students benefit from the supervision of the respective group leader, the interactions within the laboratory and collaborations within and outside the MPI-IE. The progress of all IMPRS-MCB students is regularly monitored by their thesis advisory committees (TACs).

IMPRS-MCB students also participate in a broad curriculum that complements their laboratory training. This additional training program covers three major aspects - advanced scientific training, transferable/soft skills and networking. In particular, we offer courses that relate to

  • Advanced scientific methods e.g. bioinformatics, statistics, imaging
  • Critical analysis of scientific literature
  • Scientific writing
  • Scientific Presentation
  • Good Scientific Practice
  • Career Development
  • Funding Opportunities

We strongly encourage the participation of our students in the annual PhD retreat organized by the PhD representative. Furthermore, we support their attendance at regional symposia and international scientific conferences. Students also have the possibility to learn German and to obtain advice in planning their future career.

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