CSSB's grand opening

CSSB's grand opening with a ceremonial key

June 29, 2017: The interdisciplinary Centre for Structural Systems Biology CSSB celebrated its grand opening

Thursday, 29. June 2017

On June 29, 2017, the Centre for Structural Systems Biology celebrated its grand opening on the campus Bahrenfeld in Hamburg. Hamburg’s First Mayor Olaf Scholz, Lower Saxony’s Minister for Science and Culture, Gabriele Heinen-Kljajic and other representatives from regional government joined local businesses leaders, members of all CSSB partner institutions and the international scientific community in celebrating this momentous occasion.

With a view of the new building, over 500 guests applauded as Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors, presented Matthias Wilmanns, CSSB Scientific Director, and Dirk Heinz, Chairman of CSSB Council, with a ceremonial key thus marking the official begin of scientific research in the new CSSB building.

In this new interdisciplinary research centre, scientists from ten different research institutions will work together on some of the most challenging projects in structural biology: the functioning of viruses, bacteria and parasites. The research focus of the CSSB will be on the elucidation of structures, dynamics and mechanisms of the infection process of these pathogens. With these achievements, CSSB scientists seek to contribute to the development of novel treatments and therapies.


A State-of-the-art Research Building

The new CSSB building, specifically designed to enhance collaboration, innovation and mentoring opportunities for young researchers, will provide scientists with state-of-the-art, in-house technology as well as direct access to DESY’s world renowned X-ray light sources like the synchrotron storage ring PETRA III, and the nearby free-electron laser, European XFEL.

The four-store building with its combination of laboratory and office space will be home to approximately 180 scientists and staff.  

The building’s basement was especially designed for the installation of five electron cryo-microscopes, which will enable CSSB scientists to visualize pathogens at various scales of resolution and complexity: zooming in to locate single atoms within a molecule, and likewise panning out to observe the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions happening in real time. Combining this in-house technology with DESY’s X-ray light sources and the European XFEL will enable the CSSB scientists to apply different structural methods in an integrated manner thus advancing the so-called “resolution revolution.”

The construction of the building was financed by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the Federal State of Lower Saxony and the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein.


CSSB Partner Institutions:

Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM)

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)

Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ)

Hannover Medical School (MHH)

Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology (HPI)

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)

Universität Hamburg (UHH)

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)


Associate Partner Institution:

Research Center Borstel (FZB)


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