Berlin biology center hires new chief

Max Delbruck Center gives up search for younger, outside candidate -- to the surprise of some scientists

Ned Stafford
Apr 19, 2006
Two years after Walter Birchmeier was named interim Scientific Director of Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin-Buch, the MDC Board of Trustees has finally given up the search for an outside, younger candidate and removed the word ?interim? from Birchmeier?s title -- a move that surprised some German scientists.MDC made the announcement this month, saying that Birchmeier, 62, who had been deputy scientific director since 1998, had been given a three-year contract effective January 1. When Birchmeier was named interim head in April 2004, MDC made clear it was actively seeking younger candidates outside of Germany, advertising the position in Science and Nature magazines as a five-year appointment, with a reappointment possible.In an interview with The Scientist, Birchmeier confirmed that MDC had first offered the job to younger candidates, noting that ?about a half a dozen? people had turned down the offer. MDC?s first choice for...

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