Scientific progress is dependent both on the further development and refinement of research tools and methods and on the application of these methods to cutting-edge problems using hypothesis-driven and exploratory approaches. It is a particular strength of the Göttingen research landscape that both aspects – method development and top-level biological research – have been traditionally linked, which has produced internationally recognized discoveries. For instance, the Nobel-prize winning inventions of the temperature-jump techniques (pioneering the measuring of ultrafast kinetics) and of patch-clamping (which has revolutionized electrophysiology) have been complemented with discoveries such as the highly sensitive procedures for magnetic resonance imaging, siRNA as a tool to knock down protein expression, and sub-diffraction far-field microscopy (4PI- and STED microscopy). The contribution of physics to the life sciences is expanding beyond pure technology towards the development of new physical concepts and theories. Together, breakthrough technologies and new conceptual approaches constitute strong motors for current research.
GGNB is the result of the scientific collaboration between four different faculties of the University of Göttingen, three Max Planck Institutes which all focus on research at the molecular level, and the German Primate Center. In the past years, major steps have been taken towards integrating the research activities of the university and non-university institutes. New alliances have been created, joint centers and institutes founded, new buildings have been erected, joint professorships have been created, and a considerable number of joint projects have been established. The overall result is a vibrant research community, structured along scientific interests and shared facilities, thus transcending institutional boundaries in a manner that is unparalleled in Germany.