Press Release

New Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar now full member of the Max Planck Society

16 Jan 2022 at 00:15

Since January 01st 2022, the research center caesar in Bonn has become the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar (MPINB). Scientists from more than 35 nations study how the collective activity of vast numbers of neurons gives rise to the variety of animal behaviors across many species. They are now part of a large network that offers not only new scientific infrastructures, exchange and collaborations, but also a wide range of training and career opportunities. “Bringing the institute into the Max Planck family is an exciting time for us” agree the two directors Jason Kerr and Kevin Briggman.

The full integration of the research center into the Max Planck Society is the outcome of discussions between the founders – the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the federal government – and the Max Planck Society (MPG news January 2021). “I am pleased that, together with the founders, we have developed a scientifically attractive as well as financially adequate and secure long-term perspective for caesar, keeping it at the science-location Bonn." says Martin Stratmann, President of the Max Planck Society and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the caesar Foundation.

Since its association with the Max Planck Society in 2006, research at caesar has increasingly focused on neuroscience. The interdisciplinary research spans from imaging neural circuits at the nanoscale to analyzing neural activity in freely moving and naturally behaving animals. With this, the “new” MPINB brings a unique research perspective on neuroscience in the Max Planck Society. Currently, two research departments and seven independent research groups are deciphering what underlies the plethora of animal behaviors – a task that involves investigating the complex interactions between the number of interconnected nerve cells of the brain. Their aim is to close the current gap in the knowledge of how electrical activity and neuronal connections in the brain enable complex behaviors. The institute develops cutting edge technologies such as miniature head-mounted microscopes, for measuring neuronal activity in the freely behaving animal and three-dimensional electron microscopy to map the connectivity within the brain. The range of questions includes how animals use their brains to make decisions in real-world environments, how they navigate and how they learn from previous experiences.

“We are fortunate to have outstanding young group leaders that focus on topics like how subterranean mole rats navigate using the earth’s magnetic field, how cannibalistic worms are able to recognize their kin, and what neural circuitry underlies navigation, sleep, feeding, memory formation. The work involves the development of mathematical models that aim to deepen our understanding of neural mechanisms underlying behavior”, explains the director, Jason Kerr. The institutes flagship PhD graduate program, IMPRS for Brain and Behavior, in collaboration with the University of Bonn and the Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE) trains the next generation of scientists. The new Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar will also continue its outreach activities like the “public lab” for school classes.

For further information please contact:

Dr. Eva-Juliane Kreiß
Public Relations Officer

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