The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute (HKI) is a leading academic research centre in the field of natural product research and infection biology of human-pathogenic fungi. Novel discoveries of natural products are investigated for their biological activity and modified purposefully for possible drug applications. In this context, the institute has been maintaining a rich tradition in Jena bringing in cutting-edge approaches to solutions and research methods beyond that.
Specifically, the HKI is an internationally leading centre in the following areas:
- Genome Analysis (transcriptome, proteome, metabolome) of fungi and host cells
- Molecular Biology of fungal secondary metabolite producers and pathogenic fungi
- Natural Product Chemistry including structure analysis
- Systems Biology including establishment of data bases
- Host/Fungal pathogen interaction
The HKI is firmly integrated into the most important Thuringian research centre, the Beutenberg Campus Jena. Beyond the close corporation with the neighbourhood institutes, the institute collaborates intensively with the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Jena University Hospital and the Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences in Jena. Approximately 380 members of staff are currently employed at the HKI. Further structural units possessing an integrative function and including independent junior research groups and cross-disciplinary institutions are organized around five scientific departments and the Bio Pilot Plant.
In close collaboration with Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences, employees at the Hans Knöll Institute are involved in the education of junior scientists and offer numerous lectures and courses. Students can profit from extensive individual supervision in research laboratories with state of the arte equipment. The HKI considers equal opportunities for female and male employees and the compatibility of family and work as an important basis for successful research and is an active partner in the local network “Jenaer Bündnis für Familie”.
The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (MPI CE) examines the role of chemical signals that mediate the interactions between plants, animals, and their environment, as well as the evolutionary and behavioral consequences of these interactions. At the institute, organic chemists, biochemists, ecologists, entomologists, behavioral scientists, and insect geneticists and physiologists work in collaboration to unravel the complexity of chemical communication that occurs in nature.
The primary research focus is on the co-evolution of plants and insect herbivores. The constant struggle of plants and insects as played out on the chemical theatre is the key to understanding the interactions that have produced the variety of species that exist today.
The MPI CE attracts researchers from all over the world. At the moment it hosts scientists from 34 different countries. Besides the five directors who are heads of their departments, around 195 scientists including 108 PhD and roughly 25 graduate students do their research work here. Altogether, almost 400 persons are affiliated with the institute.
An important task of the institute is training young researchers in modern techniques of chemical ecology. In 2005 a special graduate program, the International Max Planck Research School, was established that offers the possibility for highly qualified young researchers to conduct their research in an international atmosphere.
The Friedrich Schiller University Jena, founded in 1558, with its 21,000 students distributed over ten different faculties leaves its mark on the appearence of the town. Approximately 340 professors and 6,400 members of staff work at university and university hospital, the latter of which keeps developing into one of the most modern hospitals in Germany. It is the only Thuringian university with a comprehensive variety of subjects, ranging from natural and life sciences (including medicine) to mathematics and computer sciences, all the way to the social sciences, behavioural sciences, and humanities. Famous lecturers and researchers such as Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Hegel, Ernst Hegel, Ernst Abbe, and Carl Zeiss all worked here.
Today, the university is regarded as a European research university with a strong culture of interdisciplinary research, located in a dynamically developing, intensively innovative, and economically successful high tech region. The university cooperates e.g. with non-university research institutions, the Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena, regional businesses and industries, and various cultural institutions on a wide range of current research topics.
The research strategy of the university is made up of a balance between strong, interdisciplinary research alliances and excellent individual research. Research foci are organised into our three profile lines, 'Light - Life - Liberty', and reflect the university's connection between tradition and the future.
Up-and-coming young scientists are well prepared for their careers since they are supported by the Jena Graduate Academy. With that, the important topic of "child care" appears on the university's agenda. The Friedrich Schiller University is also internationally well-renowned: It is integrated into important networks, like the Coimbra Group, and cooperates with more than 100 universities or academic institutions worldwide.