Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME

Annual report 2017/2018

Read about our highlights of the past year

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Film about the Fraunhofer IME: "Natural Products for Biotechnology"

Insects are small creepy-crawlies with great potential - survival artists living in the most inhospitable places. How the molecules they produce enrich research and open up new perspectives for therapies, a new film is now showing.

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New strategies against mosquitoes and pests

Mosquitoes can transmit serious diseases; flies can cause massive crop failures. New strategies are envisioned to cope with such insect pests. Environmentally friendly and species-specific. In this context, the "Sterile Insect Technique" plays an important role.

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Rubber from dandelions

Scientists at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and the Fraunhofer IME identify key components of the rubber-biosynthesis

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Predicting pesticide loads more accurately

Fraunhofer IME researchers have developed a software for Germany estimating pesticide concentrations in surface waters. The new process can be employed as a component of pesticide authorization procedures

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Recycling of industrial exhaust gases

Fraunhofer researchers develop a process for the recycling of exhaust gases from industrial production facilities

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New testing concept using molecular markers

Fraunhofer scientists track endocrine disruption in fish using molecular markers

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Our locations


Molecular Biotechnology: Aachen | Münster

Applied Ecology and Bioresources: Schmallenberg | Gießen

Translational Medicine: Frankfurt a.M. | Hamburg


Research from molecule to ecosystem


Welcome to the Fraunhofer IME. We conduct research in the field of applied life sciences from a molecular level to entire ecosystems and are your partner for contract research in the areas of pharmacy, medicine, chemistry, agriculture, as well as environmental and consumer protection. Our research and development portfolio is focused on industry, small and medium enterprises and on the public sector.

The overarching goal of our research activities at Fraunhofer IME is the development and use of novel technologies for diagnosis and therapy of human and animal diseases as well as the protection of crop plants and food sources.


Our Research Divisions

The key areas of expertise of the Fraunhofer-Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME are spread over three divisions, all of which deal with the identification, production, specific application and evaluation of substances, ranging from biotechnological products to active agents for clinical applications.




You can find publication lists of the Fraunhofer IME, our annual reports, booklets and flyers here:



Prof. Gerd Geißlinger appointed


On July 1st, the Executive Board of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft appointed Prof. Dr. Dr. Gerd Geißlinger as executive director of the Fraunhofer IME. Since January 2017, he has held this position as acting executive director. He is also Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Director of the Intitute of Clinical Pharmacology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Schillberg and Prof. Dr. Christoph Schäfers will continue to be acting members of the institute's management.


Jacobs University and IME signed MoU


Jacobs University Bremen and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology
and Applied Ecology IME, today announce their intention to set up a new
strategic collaboration to establish joint research projects in the area of antibiotic
drug discovery and promote the exchange of students, researchers and
educators between the institutions.


Plants for pharmaceutical industry 4.0


The Fraunhofer IME presented a living exhibit and its digital twin at the joint Fraunhofer booth “Future Factory” at the Hanover Trade Fair 2018.

The living exhibit attracted many visitors at the Hanover Trade Fair from 23rd to 27th April. For most, the use of plants to produce protein-based pharmaceuticals was new territory. Fraunhofer IME is one of the pioneers in research on „Plant-made Pharmaceuticals“ in Germany. Plant biotechnologists transform plants into protein factories whose cells produce the desired proteins - simply, quickly and safely.

24.5.2018 / 24.5.2018

Fraunhofer IME at the SETAC Europe 2018

Scientists form Fraunhofer IME-AE were presenting their actual scientific work in over 30 presentations at the SETAC Europe 2018 from Mai 13. - 17. in Rome, Italy.


Here an overview of the presentations.


International scientific conference “NanoGRAVUR”, Berlin, May 3-4, 2018

We invite to the Final Conference of “NanoGRAVUR“, a joint project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

May 3rd: Final conference "Scientific achievements and regulatory needs for "grouping" of nanomaterials."
Target Group: (Young) scientists, experienced regulators, users

May 4th:  Workshop "Dissemination: Applicability and implementation of the 'nanoGRAVUR' concepts" under participation of Fraunhofer IME. Target Group: Public bodies, Ministries and Industry (in German)

Evotec AG and IME sign strategic collaboration


Human stem cells, which can be produced from mature cells by dialing back their developmental programming - so-called "induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells)" - have enormous potential for regenerative medicine as well as for the research and development of new therapeutics. To ensure the development of better drug candidates in the field of patient-derived iPS cells, Evotec AG and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME are entering into a strategic alliance.

4th Annual G20 World Brain Mapping Summit/Neuroscience-20 in Hamburg

On July 5, the 4th Annual G20 World Brain Mapping Summit / Neuroscience-20 will take place in Hamburg.

The aim of the Summit is to further develop activities in neuroscientific research projects to map the human brain and to unite the best scientists, engineers, doctors and surgeons worldwide in the fight against neurological disorders.


New management team at Fraunhofer IME

Prof. Rainer Fischer will leave the Fraunhofer IME on 1 April 2017 to take on new tasks. He will remain a member of the institute's management team until the end of March 2017, but will hand over his duties as of January 1 to the responsible successor in the institute management and to the deputy Chairman of the Fraunhofer Group for Life Sciences, Prof. Norbert Krug.

Prof. Stefan Schillberg and Prof. Christoph Schäfers, heading the IME locations in Aachen and Schmallenberg, will take over the institute management as acting members, together with Prof. Gerd Geisslinger, head of the Frankfurt location, who will also serve as IME's acting Executive Director.


Together, UKE and IME strive to develop new active ingredients against MS

The University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME want to pave the way for new therapies against multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of a joint project is to further develop active substance candidates which specifically prevent death of neurons, which is the cause for the progressive degree of disability in multiple sclerosis. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with 1.5 million euros.


Project group Bioresources successful: Hessian LOEWE funding extended

Fraunhofer IME’s project group Bioresources can successfully close the year and start into 2017 with the second funding period within the Centre Insect Biotechnology (ZIB). The ZIB is funded by the Hessian state program LOEWE and receives a total of 18.2 million euros from 2017 to 2019. Most of this is used for the Fraunhofer project group Bioresources. The project group was founded in 2009 at the Justus Liebig University, set up and expended by Gießen Entomologist and IME researcher Prof. Andreas Vilcinskas. He is also the coordinator of the ZIB.


Novel insights: Plant metabolism exploration and production optimization

Fraunhofer IME researchers have developed a novel methodology that allows to explore the metabolic responses in plants at a global level. It enables the evaluation and interpretation of metabolic changes in any plant-based system caused by the simultaneous application of diverse ecological factors. Furthermore, this high-throughput screening system can be used for production optimization of any metabolically engineered cell lines. The comprehensive study has been published now in „Scientific Reports“, an online journal of the Nature Publishing Group.


Bioresources for the bio-economy: New research building

It is the insects and their gigantic variety of active substances, which give a new research building to the city of Gießen. Here, it is planned to set up a new Fraunhofer Institute for Bioresources, with the aim of obtaining new active substances for medicine, plant protection and industry from insects, bacteria and fungi. Now, the groundbreaking ceremony took place in the presence of Hessian Minister President Volker Bouffier. The approximately 30 million euro-expensive building is financed by the state of Hesse and by the German federal government, each bearing half of the costs.


Enzymes in parabolic flight: Experiments in microgravity

In a microgravity environment, objects are in free fall. This provides researchers with a clear view on biological and physical processes, since it is free of complicating gravity-induced phenomena like convection, shear forces, or hydrostatic pressure. Microgravity can be achieved e.g. by parabolic flights. Now, Fraunhofer IME has studied the effect of microgravity on the kinetic properties of enzymatic reactions in an Airbus A310 Zero-G flight. The experiment was conducted in automation mode via web application.The results might uncover new enzymatic properties that could expand industrial applications.