Molecular Biotechnology

The Department of Molecular Biotechnology is active in the business areas pharmacy, medicine/diagnostics, and chemistry. One focus of the department is on the infection biology of pathogenic microorganisms and viruses. Here we use complex 3D models of infection with components of the immune system to detect the interaction between the host and pathogen and derive new approaches for drug screening and the stimulation of an endogenous defense. We develop new diagnostic methods based on nucleic acid technologies (diagnostic DNA-microarrays, development of biomarkers via DNA-high-throughput sequencing, and next-generation sequencing based diagnostics of nucleic acids circulating in the blood) or by means of cell-based reporter assays, e.g. with an immune receptor-based pyrogen assay.

A further focus is the development of cell lines for pharmaceutical biotechnology as well as in strain development for industrial biotechnology. In terms of production processes of pharmaceutical proteins such as interferons and factor VII, we have already developed GMP-compliant processes in laboratory scale. In industrial biotechnology, processes for the microbial production of biosurfactants and the enzymatic synthesis of epoxides up into the 100-liter scale have been developed.

Fields of activity


Functional genomics


Infection Biology


Molecular Cell Technologies


Industrial biotechnology

Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project "Cell-free bioproduction"

The production of industrially suited proteins on demand is the great ambition of the Fraunhofer joint project “Cell-free bioproduction” which started in 2011 within the strategic process Biotechnology 2020+ of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).