Flatworm Funding by Behrens-Weise-Foundation

Jochen Rink receives support for comparative analysis of flatworm regeneration

Photo: MPI-CBG

Research group leader Jochen Rink at the MPI-CBG receives a research award of 150.000 Euros from the Behrens-Weise Foundation for a comparative analysis of flatworm regeneration. Planarian flatworms can regenerate complete individuals from tiny tissue pieces. Moreover, amongst the many hundred species worldwide, many are regeneration deficient or entirely unable to regenerate. The lab of Jochen Rink uses the planarian model species to establish the mechanisms that re-shape a random tissue piece back into a complete animal. Furthermore, the researchers want to understand why some worms regenerate, while others cannot. The more than 60 different flatworm species that the lab currently cultures provide a unique opportunity to study the evolution of regenerative abilities.

The funds of the Behrens-Weise-Foundation come from the assets of Anna Weise, who passed away in 1984. In 1938, Hans Wilhelm Behrens, the owner of the Mitteldeutsche Kohlehandelsgesellschaft in Gera, appointed her as a sole heir, after the death of his wife. Anna Weise brought the company and its assets through the war. As a supporting member of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and later of the Max Planck Society, she decided - without children herself - to transfer her assets to a foundation that would support projects of the Max Planck Society in the field of biology, medicine, and genetics.