The mission of the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology (MPIterMic) is to obtain an integrated understanding of how microorganisms function at the molecular, cellular, and community levels. Microorganisms are the oldest and by far the most abundant and diverse inhabitants of the Earth. Their evolutionary success is based largely on three characteristics: Their immense metabolic capacities, which surpass those of all other life forms, an ability to adapt to environmental changes, and their multitude of interactions with other organisms. The strategies they have developed enable them to proliferate in practically every ecological niche. By doing so, microorganisms play pivotal role in processes of fundamental importance including biomass conversion, biogeochemical cycles and photosynthesis, and they have major impacts on plant and animal physiology.
The overall goal of our research is to understand how microorganisms accomplish these tasks. To this end, groups at the MPIterMic cover research in microbiology at all scales from protein structure determination, physiology, metabolism, molecular & cellular microbiology to host-microbe interactions and microbial communities, applying a number of cutting-edge technologies combined with computational modeling and synthetic biology approaches.
Research at the institute is carried out in four departments. In addition the institute hosts two Max Planck Research Groups, one Emmy Noether Research Group, four department-independent research group, two Emeritus groups, and one Max Planck Fellow.