Launch of the Helmholtz Pioneer campus

February 06, 2017

The visionary enterprise at Helmholtz Zentrum München is recruiting top international researchers from different disciplines to form an integrated operation taking on major disease challenges of our times. Under the leadership of Director of Biomedicine Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp and Director of Bioengineering Prof. Dr. Vasilis Ntziachristos, the first pioneer divisions will start as soon as 2017 to search for technological breakthroughs to advance medical research.

The Pioneer Campus focuses on the prompt development of innovative solutions and products for metabolic disease and envisages the combination of biomedicine and engineering sciences under one roof; a paradigm shift in Germany. Teams of excellent scientists from various fields (biology, medicine, physics and engineering) are working together using novel approaches for new answers, galvanizing the future of medicine.

Due to its longstanding expertise in health research, its unconditional commitment to addressing the major challenges of our society as well as its close cooperation with hospitals, universities and research institutions worldwide, Helmholtz Zentrum München represents an optimal crystallisation point for this ground breaking endeavour.

Major boost for science and the economy

"History shows that technological breakthroughs have always served as catalysts for advancing biological discovery with clinical relevance," says Prof. Dr. Vasilis Ntziachristos, the newly appointed Director of Bioengineering. "The Pioneer Campus and its exceptional talents provide a much needed synergy between biological discovery and the engineering culture of converting discovery to solutions, toward accelerating the invention of successful prevention, early diagnosis and new treatment options for the benefit of society."

With 4500 square metres, the building of the Pioneer Campus will promote a creative research atmosphere within an outstanding technical infrastructure where creative ideas can be turned into transformative solutions. The appointment of internationally experienced science managers will largely free the research pioneers from administrative work and allow them to entirely focus on collaborative research.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp, the new Director of Biomedicine at the Pioneer Campus, outlines the direction that future research could take: "Complex metabolic processes reside at the core of most major diseases - not just Diabetes or Obesity. With the Pioneer Campus we are investing into multidimensional interdisciplinarity to reach beyond traditional ways of collaborating. If engineers, physicists, chemists, physicians and biologists commit to learning each others "language" and engage in daily dialogue -we just may be able to overcome some of the grand medical challenges our society is facing today."

Prof. Dr. Günther Wess, the CEO of Helmholtz Zentrum München, is sure that in addition to science, also the economy will benefit from the planned investments. "Thanks to the Pioneer Campus and its great talents, scientific spinoffs will be expedited and long-term jobs will be created.* We also expect prompt innovative solutions and products in the fields of biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical technology."

The world's comparable models include the Howard Hughes Janelia Research Campus or the Koch Institute (both USA).
Further information

* In past years, the Helmholtz Zentrum München has produced numerous spinoffs that have in turn created more than 350 current jobs in Munich. These include iThera Med (innovative biomedical imaging procedures, since 2010) as well as SurgVision B.V. (live images of tumours during image-controlled surgery, since 2013), both spinoffs from Prof. Ntziachristos, one of two Pioneer Campus directors.


The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,300 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members.

Contact for the media: Department of Communication, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Tel. +49 89 3187 2238 - Fax: +49 89 3187 3324 - E-mail:

Scientific Contact at Helmholtz Zentrum München: Prof. Dr. Vasilis Ntziachristos, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Tel. +49 89 3187 3852 - E-mail:

Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Tel. +49 89 3187 2103 - E-mail:

Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health

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