A Brief Chronicle


Our sixtieth year is characterized by large building projects: on the site of the JLU Giessen the branch for Bioresources moves into its new building, the division Translational Medicine plans a new building in Frankfurt and in Schmallenberg extensive investments into modifications and new buildings are in full swing. This extends the capacity of the division Applied Ecology to 200 employees.


Professor Fischer leaves the Fraunhofer IME to take on new tasks. Professor Stefan Schillberg and Professor Christoph Schäfers, heading the IME locations in Aachen and Schmallenberg, take over the institute management as acting members, together with Professor Geisslinger, head of the Frankfurt location, who also serves as Fraunhofer IME‘s acting Executive Director. The institute is restructured into the following three divisions:

- Molecular Biology (MB: Aachen and Münster),

- Translational Medicine (TM: Frankfurt and Hamburg),

- Applied Ecology and Bioresources (AE-BR: Schmallenberg and Giessen).

The focus of the work at Fraunhofer IME is on active substances, which are identified in plants or animals and produced through biotechnological methodologies (MB, BR). Furthermore, we analyze the utility of substances for human health (TM) and assess their risks for consumers and the environment (AE).



The operative business of European ScreeningPort GmbH (Hamburg) is integrated into the Fraunhofer 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 financially supported by the Hessen State Offensive LOEWE. The initiative brings together drug research groups from Goethe University Frankfurt working on preclinical studies, clinical model development and clinical research under the leadership of Professor 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.




Professor Dirk Prüfer’s (third from left) group at Münster University (WWU), Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, is officially established as a new Fraunhofer IME branch lab for functional and applied genomics.


The Fraunhofer IME project group “Biological Resources” is set up at the Justus-Liebig University (JLU) in Giessen with an initial staff of nine scientists, headed by Professor Andreas Vilcinskas (middle of the photo). In the following years, insect biotechnology is well established at JLU and Fraunhofer IME. The location in Giessen becomes a LOEWE Centre (Hessen State Offensive for Development of Scientific-Economic Excellence).


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 Fraunhofer 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.


Professor Rainer Fischer (photo), Head of the Molecular Biology Division becomes the Institute‘s new Senior Executive Director. The Institute is now called Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) with the two sites Schmallenberg and Aachen.

Fraunhofer IME becomes a founding member of the Fraunhofer Group for Life-Sciences which promotes close cooperation between currently six Fraunhofer Institutes.



The German Environmental Specimen Bank is integrated on site of the Fraunhofer IUCT in Schmallenberg (photo). This is a long-term archive for documenting the chemical state of the environment in Germany.

Dr. Fischer receives the C4 Professorship at the RWTH Aachen University and establishes its Institute for Molecular Biology.


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.

Prof. Klein (photo right) is awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his achievements in ecological chemistry.


Evolved from the Central Institute for Foodstuffs of the former East German Academy of Science the “Department for Biochemical Ecotoxicology“ (EBÖ) is founded as a branch near Potsdam. The EBÖ is closed seven years later.


Prof. Kvetoslav Spurny (photo) is the first non-American scientist who receives the David Sinclair Award of the American Association for Aerosol Research.


The Fraunhofer ITA facilities in Schmallenberg and Hannover now become two independent Fraunhofer Institutes. The institute in Schmallenberg (photo) is re-named Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology (IUCT) to reflect its new line of research and development.


Professor Werner Klein (photo right) takes on joint directorship of the Schmallenberg site with Dr. Hubert Oldiges. Research focuses on fate and effect of chemicals in the environment, including the effects of pollutants on microorganisms, plants and animals. The number of Institute employees increases to 176.


Dr. Dieter Hochrainer, Hans Peter König, Dr. Günter Oberdörster and Shinji Takenaka are awarded the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for their research on the carcinogenicity of cadmium aerosols.


Following the implementation of the new chemicals legislation, research groups for ecological chemistry start working in Schmallenberg.


The Institute is renamed the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Aerosol Research (ITA). Part of the Institute is transferred to Hannover and is managed by Professor Werner Stöber (photo), the research focusing on human toxicology.

Dr. Hubert Oldiges takes on the management of the Schmallenberg site, the research increasingly focusing on the environment and environmental protection. The number of employees of the Fraunhofer 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 German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology takes over the institutional support of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The Institute’s work increasingly involves general environmental protection.


The Institute has expanded to approximately 70 employees and is managed by Dr. Hubert Oldiges, Dr. Heinrich Rüterjans and Professor Werner Stöber. Their work focuses on the protection of humans from airborne pollutants, financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Defence.


On December 1st, 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 is Dr. Karl Bisa.




Dr. Karl Bisa, Head Physician at the silicosis clinic Grafschaft, sets up his own research laboratory on a hill near the village of Schmallenberg-Grafschaft.