MDC still seeking new chief

Birchmeier holds the fort at Germany's Max Delbruck Center while a new director is found

By | April 19, 2004

Cell biologist and cancer researcher Walter Birchmeier has been named acting scientific director of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin-Buch.

Birchmeier, formerly deputy scientific director at MDC, will hold the top position until a successor is found for Detlev Ganten, who announced his resignation earlier this year to become chairman of the executive board of the Charité University Clinic in Berlin.

Ganten was the founding director of the center, which was formed in 1992 after the reunification of East and West Germany, focusing on cancer, cardiovascular disease, and molecular biology. It is financed jointly by the federal government and the state of Berlin.

Ganten's last day at MDC was officially April 14, MDC spokeswoman Barbara Bachtler told The Scientist. She said advertisements seeking applications for the top position have been placed this week in two major German newspapers and in Science and Nature. The ads say that the successful candidate would be appointed for 5 years with reappointment possible and that applications from women are particularly welcome.

Applications will be accepted for the next 6 weeks, with the scientific director search committee scheduled to meet on June 16 for the first time to review applications, she said.

The MDC has a staff of 700 at its location in northeast Berlin. It is a member of Germany's Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers.

Birchmeier, who was born in 1943 in Switzerland, received his PhD in biology at the University of Zurich. In 1973, began 5 years of studies in the United States, first at Cornell University and then the University of California, San Diego. He then held positions at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society in Tübingen, and the University of Essen. He joined the MDC in 1993.

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