16. May 2024

CEITEC today welcomed Patrick Cramer, President of the German Max Planck Society. His two-day trip to the Czech Republic is packed with both scientific and diplomatic activities. In Brno today, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the statutory representatives of the CEITEC consortium partners, met with scientists of CEITEC Masaryk University and CEITEC Brno University of Technology, and in the evening took on the role of presenter at the Mendel Lectures. His next trip will take him to Prague, where he will, together with representatives from Czech and German science and politics, inaugurate the first Czech Dioscuri Centres. The Dioscuri Programme was initiated by the Max Planck Society and is jointly funded by the Czech and German governments. It supports the establishment of internationally competitive research groups at Central and Eastern European research institutions, one of such is being established at Masaryk University.

The Max Planck Society is a top German scientific organisation whose members have won 31 Nobel Prizes over its rich history. Since 2023, it is led by Patrick Cramer, a renowned scientist working on the molecular mechanisms of gene transcription. Professor Cramer is also an outstanding scientific manager, having headed the Gene Center at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich for ten years and currently serves as the ninth President of the Max Planck Society.

His visit to the Czech Republic is an opportunity to establish mutually valuable contacts on both scientific and political levels, which is why in Brno today, he signed a memorandum with representatives of the CEITEC consortium. The Memorandum of Understanding includes research collaboration in fields of mutual interest and best practices exchange. It also aims to encourage and support the mobility of researchers, with a focus on early-career researchers, and to explore joint funding opportunities through external grants. "Brno is the epicentre of electron microscopy, a technology routinely used by many Max Planck researchers, including Patrick Cramer, to unravel the mysteries of life. Brno also aspires to become a leading centre for fundamental research in the Czech Republic, and CEITEC's collaboration with the Max Planck Society will help fulfil this ambition. The Max Planck Society enables us to develop research talent for the future through its Dioscuri Programme, which focuses on the creation of top-notch research groups at scientific institutes in Central and Eastern Europe," comments Pavel Tomančák, Director of the CEITEC consortium, on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.

Patrick Cramer is a scientific capacity in the field of structural biology and cryo-electron microscopy. Therefore, he also visited the CEITEC of Masaryk University and the CEITEC of Brno University of Technology and, accompanied by the directors of both research institutes, Pavel Plevka and Radimír Vrba, had a look at the state-of-the-art laboratories. "Brno has a high concentration of electron microscope technology development that has a long tradition and support here. The two research institutes of the CEITEC consortium have core facilities equipped with state-of-the-art electron microscopes. I am not surprised that the colleagues at the institutes achieve breakthrough results in the field of life and material sciences thanks to them," says Cramer during his visit.

Prof. Cramer's evening programme was exclusively in the scientific spirit and symbolically in the Mendel Refectory, where he presented his research in the field of genome regulation as part of the renowned Mendel Lectures series.

The following day, Patrick Cramer moves on to Prague, where he will meet with representatives of Czech politics and science at a ceremony marking the opening of the first three Dioscuri Centres in the Czech Republic, including the one established at the Life Science Faculty of the Masaryk University in Brno.