We care very much about making science compelling and accessible to the public. That’s why we regularly inform the public about our latest research results via press releasesresearch news, or public events. You can read about the research results involving animals or discuss them directly with scientists at events. During our guided tours, you can get to know the institute.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the information platform “Tierversuche verstehen” of the Alliance of Science Organizations in Germany launched their “Transparency Agreement for Transparent Information and Open Communication about Animal Research in Germany” in July 2021. In the context of the initiative, research facilities from the field of life sciences undertake to transparently inform about animal experiments, to get actively involved in dialogue about animal research, as well as to ex-change experiences and publicise activities. The over 50 initial signing parties of the initiative include universities, clinics, non-university research institutions, research-based companies as well as professional societies and funding organizations, including the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden.

If you have questions regarding our research with animals, please contact our public relations office.

Members of the Institute on animals in research

"As cell biologist, I am interested in understanding how a cell is organized and functions at the mechanistic level. I very much support research on cells cultured in vitro to spare the lives of animals. Many fundamental mechanisms have been elucidated using such systems. However, animal experiments are still indispensable to understand how cells function in a tissue or organ, explore the physiology of an organism and develop new therapeutics. Such questions cannot be addressed without studies on animal models. However, the vision is to validate observations conducted on cell systems in animal models to be able to reduce the need for further experimentation on animals. This approach requires an accurate, quantitative, comprehensive and systematic analysis to compare cellular and animal experimental models and extract the maximal amount of information necessary to make functional predictions. Only through such comparison it will be possible to develop cellular and theoretical models that can reduce the need for animal research in the future."

Prof. Dr. Marino Zerial
Director
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


"With the development of organoid models, three-dimensional culture systems closer to the cells of our bodies, we can reduce the number of animals we use. I was happy to contribute to these developments with my team and also to ask questions directly on human cells. We use these systems a lot to ask questions linked to pancreas development and diseases, including diabetes. However, we have to be careful as the cells in vitro are not in their natural environment but in artificial culture medium and isolated from other organs they normally communicate with. Eventually testing hypotheses in an animal (or eventually in human) is still very important, even though we can now use less animals by doing more extensive and better testing in vitro before."

Dr. Anne Grapin-Botton
Director
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


“Over the past 10 years, we have pioneered the development of 3D-in vitro cultures, termed organoids, that recapitulate many aspects of the physiology and pathophysiology of the tissue in a dish. Organoids are helping us to Replace, Reduce and Refine animal experiments, and for that these have received several 3Rs awards. However, there is no ex-vivo system, including organoids, that is yet ready to provide comprehensive understanding on the mechanism driving tissue regeneration in vivo in the context of the whole organism. Therefore, up today, animal studies are still unavoidable if we seek comprehensive knowledge and understanding of gene function, physiology and pathology during tissue regeneration."

Dr. Meritxell Huch
Lise Meitner Max Planck Research Group leader
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


“For me as a medical doctor it is totally incomprehensible to demand a stop of animal experiment. Animal experiments are absolutely required if we want to develop effective therapies for human diseases. To be successful here, we not only need to carry out experiments with mice, but we in addition need to carry out experiments in particular and increasingly with non-human primates.”

Prof. Dr. med. Wieland B. Huttner
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


“Appropriate growth control is critical to obtain correct organ size and shape in all animals, as excessive or deficient growth rates compromise organ function. We choose to use zebrafish as a lower vertebrate model organism, to investigate how cell proliferation, and consequently growth, is modulated to precisely build and rebuild injured organs. As organ development and regeneration are complex processes, requiring multiple regulatory growth inputs, they cannot be replicated in non-animal based systems.”

Dr. Rita Mateus
Research Group Leader
Physics of Life Excellence Cluster, TUD & Max-Planck of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


“Complex tissues, like the skull, form as a composite of different materials with varied cell behaviors that must all work together to generate an organ. It is this 3D nature of organ formation which is so difficult to recapitulate in vitro, when little is known about how each of the cooperating cell types arises or fate decisions are made during development.  In our pursuit to understand complexity in biological systems, we must use model systems that employ that complexity to build organs, and therefore, to understand the skeleton the mouse remains the most tractable mammalian model.”

Dr. Jaqueline Tabler
Research Group Leader
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


"I have been creating animal models for biomedical research for many years because we need to understand the organism in its overall function. In this context, any technological change in methodology focuses on reducing the number of experimental animals. We have been able to show in an impressive way how efficient routine and the use of the latest techniques can have an impact on the number of animals. We will continue to work on this consequently."

Ronald Naumann
Head of the Transgenic Core Facility
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


“The generation of monoclonal antibodies has been developed more than 40 years ago. Many improvements have been made since then, such that the actual production of monoclonal antibodies has long been moved from animals into cell culture facilities. The original cells encoding for these -nowadays often recombinant - monoclonal antibodies are in their vast majority still derived from experimental immunizations. Despite of all the efforts put into the creation of fully “synthetic” antibodies”, the native animal immune system still yields antibodies of far superior quality. I therefore consider animal immunizations still indispensable at this point.”

Dr. Patrick Keller
Leader, Antibody Facility
Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics