A Brief Chronicle


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.


The operative business of European ScreeningPort GmbH (Hamburg) has been integrated into the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME. This integration enhances the expertise and capabilities of the Fraunhofer IME in drug discovery sciences, thus boosting its drug development research activities.


© Klinikum der J.W. Goethe-Universität, RÖP

On September 1, 2011 the Chilean Minister of the Economy, Mr Pablo Longueira and Professor Bullinger officially opened Fraunhofer´s first research center in South America. The new "Fraunhofer Center for Systems Biotechnology" has been established in Santiago de Chile to develop and optimize new technologies in key areas of importance for the Chilean economy. The research projects are collaborations between Chilean and German scientists and focus at present on aquaculture, renewable energy, agriculture, and bio-computing.






The new Fraunhofer Translational Medicine and Pharmacology project group in Frankfurt focuses on applied drug research and is supported by the Hesse State Offensive for Development of Scientific-Economic Excellence (LOEWE). The initiative brings together drug research groups from Goethe University Frankfurt working on preclinical studies, clinical model development and clinical research under the lead of Prof. Gerd Geisslinger.


© Peter Leßmann

At the end of 2010 the Fraunhofer Chile Research - Center for Systems Biotechnol­ogy is launched. On October 22nd the Chilean Minister for Commercial Affairs, Juan Andrés Fontaine (left front), and the Chief Financial Officer of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Prof. Dr. Alfred Gossner, sign the bilateral agreement in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin.





In December 2010, Professor Dr. Dirk Prüfer’s (third from left) group at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU) Münster, institute of plant biology and biotechnology, is officially established as a new Fraunhofer IME outpost for functional and applied genomics.


The Fraunhofer IME project group "Biological Resources" is set up at the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen with an initial staff of nine scientists. The manager of the project group is Prof. Dr. Andreas Vilcinskas (middle of the photo).


Memorandum of Understanding

The Chilean Minister of Economics, representatives of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Prof. Dr. Rainer Fischer sign an initial agreement for the foundation of a Fraunhofer Center in Chile under the direction of the IME.

Foundation of the Fraunhofer Food Chain Management Alliance in which several Fraunhofer Institutes collaborate to improve the food and feed safety under the auspices of the IME.


The Molecular Biology Division of the IME moves into a new state of the art building close to the RWTH in Aachen.

The cryogenic store of the Environmental Specimen Bank in Schmallenberg expands and adds a new building.


Molecular biology becomes an independent division of the institute with several departments at Schmallenberg, Munich and the RWTH Aachen. Prof. Rainer Fischer, Head of the Molecular Biology Division becomes the institute's new Senior Executive Director. The institute is now known as the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME.



Dr. Rainer Fischer receives the C4 Professorship at the RWTH University in Aachen and establishes the RWTH Institute for Molecular Biotechnology.

The German Environmental Specimen Bank is inaugurated at the IUCT in Schmallenberg (photo). This is a long-term archive for documenting the state of the environment in Germany.


To increase the biotechnology expertise of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a new Department of Molecular Biotechnology is founded at the Fraunhofer IUCT under the management of Dr. Rainer Fischer, head of the similarly named working group at the RWTH University in Aachen.


Foundation of the "Department for Biochemical Ecotoxicology" (EBÖ) as a branch of the IUCT in Bergholz-Rehbrücke, near Potsdam. The EBÖ has emerged from the Central Institute for Foodstuffs of the former East German Academy of Science. The EBÖ department in Potsdam is closed following the retirement of Prof. Manfred Kujawa in 1999.


On completion of the main laboratory building in Hannover, the Münster branch of the institute is closed and transferred to Hannover. The ITA facilities in Schmallenberg (photo) and Hannover now become two independent Fraunhofer Institutes. The institute in Schmallenberg is re-named Institute for Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology (IUCT) to reflect its new line of research and development.


Prof. Werner Klein (right) takes on joint directorship of the Schmallenberg facility with Dr. Hubert Oldiges. His specialist field is ecological chemistry and ecotoxicology, so research begins to focus on the fate and effect of chemicals in the environment and the effects of pollutants on microorganisms, plants and animals. The number of institute employees increases to 176.


The first stage in the expansion of the Hannover facility is complete. Meanwhile, new working groups are established in Schmallenberg to begin ecological chemistry research, so that all the experimental testing required by the new chemicals legislation can be carried out there.


The institute is renamed the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Aerosol Research (ITA). Part of the institute (the current Fraunhofer ITEM) is transferred to Hannover and is managed by Prof. Werner Stöber (photo), where the research focuses on human toxicology.

Dr. Hubert Oldiges takes on the management of the Schmallenberg facility, where research increasingly concentrates on the environment and environmental protection. The number of employees of the ITA has now risen to 142.


With a view to increasing capacity, a building is rented in Münster for the establishment of an inhalation unit.


The Federal Ministry for Research and Technology takes over the institutional promotion of the IAe. The institute’s work increasingly involves general environmental protection, which is facilitated by its interdisciplinary structure.


The institute has expanded to approximately 70 employees and is managed by Dr. Hubert Oldiges, Dr. Heinrich Rüterjans and Prof. Werner Stöber. Their work focuses mainly on the protection of humans from airborne pollutants. Until 1971 the principal financial support for the Institute is provided by the Defense Ministry.


On December 1st, 1959 the institute in Schmallenberg is incorporated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as the Fraunhofer Institute for Aerobiology (IAe) and the construction of the main building begins. The first director of the institute is Dr. Karl Bisa, and the principal customer is the Defense Ministry for research into airborne and radiological environmental effects on biological systems.




Dr. Karl Bisa, Senior Consultant at the clinic in Kloster Grafschaft, sets up his own research laboratory in Schmallenberg-Grafschaft.