Naturkundemuseum Bayern is being built in Munich-Nymphenburg as a 21st century life sciences museum and future forum for science communication. It will expand and reinvent the existing Museum Mensch und Natur. The founding team is already working to bring together researchers, scientific institutions and the general public. With exhibitions "Made in Bavaria", the Naturkundemuseum Bayern wants to make the Bavarian research landscape as internationally visible as the natural history treasures of Bavaria. A first impression is already given by the BIOTOPIA Lab in the Botanical Garden, Munich. Curiosity, empathy and action are the guiding principles of BIOTOPIA's mission & vision.

The Naturkundemuseum Bayern will strengthen the Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns (SNSB) as its own department as of January 1, 2023.


In the dawning century of life sciences and the age of climate change, global species extinction and pandemics, a rethink as well as a departure are urgently needed.

Naturkundemuseum Bayern offers the right "ground" for this. It is intended to inspire people across the generations for nature and the natural sciences, to arouse young people's thirst for research, to promote the next generation of natural scientists and to encourage people to take a responsible approach to our planet. With the new Naturkundemuseum Bayern project, a central education and discussion forum is being created for the topics that are crucial to the future and the missing interface between science, society, business and politics, which will have an impact far beyond Bavaria.


The heart of BIOTOPIA is being built in Munich, with a museum of life for the 21st century. The site will be the vacant north wing of Nymphenburg Palace with the former university buildings of the LMU from the 1960s and the adjacent previous Museum Mensch und Natur. It is scheduled to open in 2028/29. The new building is being planned by architect Volker Staab, who designed the House of the Bavarian Kings in Hohenschwangau, the New Museum in Nuremberg and other important museums in Bavaria. The total volume of this important measure is around 200 million euros, which will be decided by the Bavarian Parliament in 2022.

Since 2018, there has already been an annual BIOTOPIA Science Festival. In 2021, the BIOTOPIA Lab opened in the Munich-Nymphenburg Botanical Garden as an interim exhibition forum during the construction phase. In addition, Bavaria-wide touring exhibitions and high-profile events will bridge the phase until the opening. BIOTOPIA is thus already coming to life. Bavaria-wide activities and the Bavarian network of numerous museum, ecological, scientific and cultural institutions and organizations will bring natural history, science and environmental education to life. The added value of BIOTOPIA can thus be felt directly in the region. With BIOTOPIA, the State Natural History Collections of Bavaria, as the currently responsible authority, can achieve the long-awaited structural change and receive new federal-state funding by joining the Leibniz Association. BIOTOPIA EXPLORE LIFE.


Founding Director
Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-437


Michael John Gorman is Founding Director of BIOTOPIA, a new museum of life sciences and environment in development at Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich, and University Professor (Chair) in Life Sciences in Society at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.  

Previously Michael John was Founding Director of Science Gallery at Trinity College in Dublin, dedicated to igniting creativity and discovery where science and art collide. At Trinity College Dublin, he was also made Adjunct Professor in Engineering and Computer Science. In 2012 he founded Science Gallery International (www.sciencegallery.com) with the goal of bringing Science Gallery experiences to a global audience, with Science Gallery spaces now being established in London, Melbourne, Bangalore, Venice, Detroit, Atlanta, Rotterdam and Berlin.

Prior to founding Science Gallery, Michael John was Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University and MIT. He has written numerous books on topics ranging from Buckminster Fuller’s architecture to seventeenth century science and articles and reviews in journals including Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, and Leonardo. He read Physics and Philosophy at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating with first class honours, before completing his PhD in History and Civilization at the European University Institute in Florence.

His recent books include The Scientific Counter-Revolution: The Jesuits and the Invention of Modern Science (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020) and Idea Colliders: The Future of Science Museums (MIT Press in 2020). He sits on several Boards including ICOM Germany, FORMS - Future-Oriented-Museums-Synergies, Rachel Carson Center, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the Executive Board of the Munich Science Communication Lab and is an Expert Adviser to the European Commission (JRC).

Dr. Michael Apel
Deputy Director

+49 (0)89 / 179589-119

Dr. Martina Brunner
Education Coordinator BIOTOPIA Lab

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-426

Dr. Martina Bryce
Head of Education

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-429

Anastasia Czerny
Managing Director Förderkreis BIOTOPIA

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-424

Dr. Thassilo Franke
Senior Researcher

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-446

Julia Goellner
Assistant to the Founding Director

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-437

Dr. Moritz Hertel
Science Coordinator Max Planck Institutes / Biotopia

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-448
or +49 (0)8157 932 266

Technical Project Manager

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-440

Dr. Katrin Petroschkat
Project Manager STEAM Projects

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-438

Dr. David Prötzel
Scientific Associate Education

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-413

Dr. Samara Rubinstein
Exhibition Curator

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-447

Dr. Susanne Schmitt
Project Manager STEAM Projects

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-470

Colleen M. Schmitz

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-443

Tanja Seiner
Exhibition Curator

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-460

Alexandra von Uckermann
Construction Project Manager

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-439

Ursula Wöst
Exhibition Manager

+49 (0)89 / 178 61-444


The Board supports the activities of the museum by advising it in matters of fundamental importance.


Prof. Dr. Benedikt Grothe is chair of Neurobiology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) and Max Planck Fellow at the MPI of Neurobiology in Martinsried. His scientific work deals with the question how our brain processes sensory signals and how this leads to perception. He studied at the LMU, was curator at the Museum Mensch und Natur, worked as research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, New York University and the MPI of Neurobiology. He is a world expert on the principles of hearing. He is also founder and director of the Munich Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences GSNLMU, a worldwide-recognized innovative PhD-Program run by LMU together with its partner institutions at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), three Max Planck Institutes, and the Helmholtz Center Munich.


Since June 2016, Ken Arnold has been Director of Medical Museion and Professor at Copenhagen University. He also continues as Creative Director at Wellcome, where he oversees international cultural projects. He arrived at Wellcome in 1992, where he spearheaded a number of multidisciplinary cultural initiatives, culminating in 2007 with the establishment of Wellcome Collection, in which he directed the programmes for a decade. He serves on a number of advisory panels; and regularly writes and lectures on museums and on contemporary intersections between the arts and sciences. His book Cabinets for the Curious (Ashgate, 2006) explored what can be learned from looking back at England’s earliest museums; and he is currently researching a book about the increasingly important cultural role for these enduring institutions.

Senior Curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Paola Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994 and is a Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture & Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. With a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan, Paola Antonelli has also earned Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Royal College of Art and Kingston University, London, the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, and Pratt Institute in New York. She has curated numerous shows, lectured worldwide, and has served on several international architecture and design juries.
Her most recent exhibition, Items: Is Fashion Modern?, devoted to 111 items of clothing that have had a strong impact on the world in the past 100 years, opened at MoMA in October 2017. She is currently working on the next Triennale di Milano, entitled Broken Nature (March 2019); on the book States of Design; and on a new Theory of Everything for design.


Oron Catts is an artist, researcher, designer and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project which he established in 1996 is considered a leading biological art project. Catts interest is Life; more specifically the shifting relations and perceptions of life in the light of new knowledge and it applications. He is co-founder and director of SymbioticA, a biological art research centre at The University of Western Australia, established in 2000.
Catts was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor of Design Interaction (2009-2012), and a Professor at Large in Contestable Design (2015-2017) at the Royal College of Arts, London. Catts curated nine exhibitions, developed numerous artistic projects and performances. His work was exhibited and collected by museums such as MoMA NY, Mori art Museum, NGV, GoMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China and more. His work was covered by The NY Times, Washington Post, Wired, New Scientist, Time, Newsweek and other TV, radio, print and online media.


Steffi Czerny is Managing Director of DLD Media and co-founder of DLD Conference as well as its global spin-offs like DLDwomen, DLD Tel Aviv, DLDcities, DLDnyc and DLDsummer.
Joining the Burda group in 1995, Steffi has held several executive positions in new media activities. Her background is in political sciences and communications. She has followed developments in the digital world for over 20 years and focuses on developing branding and communication initiatives.
Steffi was identified as number 30 of The 2015 Wired 100 and has also been chosen as one of the 50 most inspiring women in European tech in 2015 by inspiring50.com for her success in bringing the international digital elite together at DLD.
Furthermore she owns the state medal for special merits to the Bavarian economy (2014) and the “Europa-Medaille” for special merits to Bavaria in a united Europe (2015).


After earning his doctorate in biochemistry in 1979, Horst Domdey worked as a scientist at various German, Swiss and US institutes such as the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, at ISREC, UCSD and the California Institute of Technology. From 1984 to 1994 he led an independent research group at the Gene Center of the University of Munich. In 1994 he was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at the LMU Munich. In the same year he co-founded the biotech company MediGene. In 1996 he successfully led the Munich Biotech Initiative into the German BioRegio Competition. Since 1997 he has been the Managing Director of BioM, the cluster development and management organization of the Munich Biotech Cluster. Since 2006 he also manages the Bavarian Biotechnology Network. From 2010 to 2015, he was also spokesman for the Munich m4 leading edge cluster program. Other current activities include the scientific management of the Bavarian Genome Research Network BayGene, the coordination of the Bavarian Research Network for Molecular Biosystems BioSysNet and the management of the tech-transfer working group in BIO Deutschland e.V. He is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Medigene AG. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Health Industries South Australia, member of the Supervisory Board of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, member of the Boards of the Peter and Traudl Engelhorn Foundation and the Foundation for Stem Cell Research and Applied Regenerative Medicine.


Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Herbert Jäckle ist Direktor EmeDr. Dr. h.c. mult. Herbert Jäckle is Director emeritus at the Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie (Göttingen, Germany) and former Vice-President of the Max Planck Society. He studied Chemistry and Biology (Universität Freiburg) and spent his postdoc at the University of Texas at Austin (USA). He held positions as staff scientist at the EMBL (Heidelberg), as research group leader (Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Tübingen) and as professor for genetics (Ludwig Maximilian Universität, München).
Herbert Jäckle is a member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea, and German Academies of Sciences (Leopoldina and Göttingen). He obtained multiple scientific awards (including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the Otto Bayer Prize, the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine, the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China, and the Luis Federico Leloir prize) and serves on Advisory Boards both in academia and industry.
Using the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism, Dr. Jäckle's research is focussed on molecular mechanisms (biochemical pathways and regulatory networks) involved in embryonic pattern formation (segmental body organization, formation of organs). More recent work (“molecular physiology”) aims to understanding the genetic and molecular basis of cellular and organismal energy homeostasis. Herbert Jäckle is author of >200 scientific articles.


After completing his studies in biology at the LMU Munich in 1999, he received his doctorate with distinction in 2003: summa cum laude (Dr. rer. nat.). Postdocships at the Universities of Leipzig and Lancaster University, UK, followed in 2003 - 2005. From 2005 to 2009 he worked as a scientific assistant and, after completing his habilitation, he was head of the limnological research station Seeon at the LMU. From WS 2009 to SS 2012 he held a professorship in "aquatic ecology" at the Department of Biology II of the LMU before being appointed to the Chair of Animal Ecology I of the Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Geosciences at the University of Bayreuth from WS 2012. Various awards in his career are as much a part of his CV as his commitment to research and teaching. In October 2015 he was appointed to the position of Vice President for Research and Young Scientists at the University of Bayreuth.
His research focuses on zoology and evolutionary ecology, in particular on the phenomenon of phenotypic plasticity and the adaptation of animals to altered biotic and abiotic environmental factors. Another focus is on coral reef ecology and the influence of multiple stressors on communities, food webs and ecosystem functions. The contamination of the environment with microplastics and the associated effects on organisms and ecosystems is also a central area of research.


Harald Lesch is professor for Theoretical Astrophysics at the LMU and Professor for Philosophy of science at the Munich University of Philosophy. He is also very active in German public TV, as moderator of several science and science communication shows, but also on radio, as writer of popular books about physics, philosophy, natural science, climate change and renewable energies. On top he is the host of the popular youtube channel “Terra X - Lesch and Co”. His career connects various academic disciplines and communication topics centered on complex systems as scientific content (in particular astrophysics, climate science and philosophy of science) and inter- and transdisciplinary public engagement with science.


Prof. Neuhaus heads the chair of biology education at LMU Munich, the largest institute for biology teacher training in Bavaria. Currently, she is responsible for the training of more than 1,000 biology student-teachers for elementary, middle, intermediate, special, and grammar schools. After successful completion of a diploma in biology, a teacher certification for elementary schools and stays abroad, she was awarded a Dr. rer. nat. with summa cum laude in 2004. In the year 2008, she joined the Institute of Biology Education at LMU Munich as a full professor.

Two key questions lie at the core of her research: ‘How can we develop children’s interest in the biological phenomena?’ And, ‘How can we design teaching-learning environments that facilitate children in acquiring an interconnected and sustainable knowledge of life sciences from kindergarten through high school? Prof. Neuhaus believes that such an approach to biology education can help address the global problems of our times. On these issues, she leads numerous research projects and is connected with leading researchers and stakeholders in the field of education, for example, within the framework of DFG research groups, BMBF cooperation projects, and the REASON graduate school of the Elite Network of Bavaria.

She is currently a deputy director of the Munich Centre for Teacher Education at LMU (mzl), vice-chairman of the Committee on Academic Affairs at the LMU Munich, member of the scientific board of the Munich Centre of the Learning Sciences (MCLS), and the member of the curriculum expert advisory board for the ‘Lehrplan PLUS’ in Bavaria. Prof. Neuhaus has also served as a jury member for the ‘Polytechnic Prize for Specialized Didactics’, worth € 70,000, of the Polytechnic Society. She is also the author of more than 100 publications in books and magazines.


Prof. Dr. Joris Peters is Director of the State Collection of Paleoanatomy Munich (SNSB-SPM) as well as Chair of Paleoanatomy, Domestication Research and History of Veterinary Medicine at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Furthermore, Prof. Peters is General Director of the State Natural Science Collections of Bavaria since January 2022.

After studying and earning his doctorate at the University of Ghent, the Belgian-born Prof. Peters moved to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 1987, where he completed his habilitation in 1996. Prof. Peter's research focuses on human-animal-environment relations in post-glacial cultures of Central Europe, the Near East, and Northeast and Southwest Africa. He is particularly interested in the processes of domestic animal evolution in Southwest Asia and the spread of farm animals to Europe and Africa, as well as the role of animals in everyday life and in religious imagination. Among other things, Prof. Peters is the initiator of the interdisciplinary working group ArchaeoBioCenterLMU, which deals with aspects of the emergence and development of cultures and anthropogenic ecosystems since the Neolithic.


Matthias Tschöp has been the Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director of Helmholtz Zentrum München since 2018. He received his M.D. from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (1993), where he also trained as a physician in internal medicine. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Eli Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, USA (1999-2002), followed by establishing an independent research laboratory at the DIfE in Potsdam-Nuthetal (2002-2003), he served as Professor and Research Director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center (2003-2009) and Arthur Russell Morgan Endowed Chair of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, USA (2009-2011). In 2011, he was appointed as Scientific Director of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center at Helmholtz Zentrum München and as Chair of the Division of Metabolic Diseases at Technical University of Munich. He is the first German physician to receive the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship.

Matthias Tschöp is also Adjunct Professor at Yale University and holds an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Leipzig. He is an elected member of the ASCI, EMBO, Academia Europaea, and the German and Bavarian academies of science. He is a member of the Cell editorial board and serves on numerous national and international boards in academia and industry. His transformative scientific work has earned him more than 30 research awards (e.g., the Paul Langerhans and Carus Medals, the Erwin Schrödinger Prize and the Paul Martini Prize).

Matthias Tschöp discovered that the gastric peptide ghrelin can function as a "hunger hormone" that drives appetite and food intake after food restriction. He has revealed key elements of the gut-brain axis and its role to regulate body weight and metabolism enabling the development of several novel classes of drug candidates to prevent or reverse diabetes, obesity and metabolic diseases, several of which are currently in early and late phase clinical trials.


This multidisciplinary group of people from the worlds of science, humanities, and culture is bringing their unique perspectives into Naturkundemuseum Bayern’s exhibition and event planning.

Alison Abbott has BSc and PhD degrees in pharmacology from Leeds University. After a few additional years of teaching and research there, her career morphed towards journalism. In 1986 she moved to Cambridge to edit the mini-review journal “Trends in Pharmacological Sciences”. Then in 1992 she moved to Munich, Germany, to work as senior European correspondent for Nature. Since spring 2019 Alison Abbot has been working as a freelance journalist (mostly for Nature), covering a range of areas in science writing, but her main focus is neuroscience. She has also worked a lot on the interfaces of science and arts, and wrote a series for Nature called “Hidden Treasures” which showcased little known historic scientific collections held in universities across Europe.
Antje Boetius is a polar and deep-sea researcher and has been Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, since 2017. As a researcher, she has participated in almost 50 ship expeditions and led many of them. In 2009 Antje Boetius received the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation and in 2011 the ERC Advanced Grant of the European Research Council. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and has received the Communicator Prize of the German Research Foundation and the German Environmental Prize, as well as the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2019.
Emanuele Coccia is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and formerly taught in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. He was an invited Professor at the Universities of Buenos Aires, Dusseldorf, Tokyo and Weimar. He was a fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University of New York. He has worked extensively on aesthetics and on biology, and has written about contemporary art and fashion. His publications include, among others, “Sensible Life” (2016), “The Life of Plants” (2018) and “Metamorphosis” (2020). With Giorgio Agamben, he edited the anthology “Angeli. Giudaismo, Cristianesimo, Islam” (2009). In 2019 he was curator of the exhibition “Trees” at the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain.
Sebastian Copeland is a polar explorer, climate analyst and photographer. In 2017, Copeland was named one of the world's top 25 adventurers of the last 25 years. Noted as a photographer “who has produced works that are of outstanding artistic merit and communicates messages of urgent global significance,” Copeland has led numerous expeditions to document the endangered Polar regions. He is a fellow of The Explorers Club and the International Glaciology Society. His books have sold in over 70 countries. Copeland has addressed audiences at the United Nations, in government, universities and many Fortune 500 companies warning of the systemic transformations taking place in the polar regions and their geopolitical consequences. In 2019, Copeland was knighted by French President Macron in the National Order of Merit.
Iain Couzin is Director of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the German Research Foundartion Cluster of Excellence “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behavior” at the University of Konstanz. Previously he was a Professor at Princeton University. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie collective behavior, and his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from insect swarms to fish schools and primate groups. In recognition of his research he has been recipient of National Geographic’s Emerging Explorer Award in 2012, the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 2013, Web of Science Global Highly Cited Researcher in 2018 and 2019 and the Lagrange Prize in 2019.
Ophelia Deroy holds the Chair for Philosophy of Mind and Neuroscience at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. She is also the Director of the Center for Research in Experimental Aesthetics, Technology and Engineering at the University of London School of Advanced Study. Ophelia is a leading expert in empirically-informed philosophy of mind. She has widely published on multisensory perception and shared experiences. She is a member of the editorial board of Multisensory Research, Cognitive Science, and Mind Sciences, and collaborates with various art/science institutions, including the Fat Duck, Studio Olafur Eliasson, Tate Galleries and Getty Museum.
After philosophical and psychological studies, Vinciane Despret specialized in ethology, the study of animal behavior, and became fascinated by the humans who work with animals. Borrowing a path from philosophy of sciences, her work combines ethological and psychological research with the goal of understanding and explaining how scientists build their theories, how they interact with historical and social contexts, and what relation is established between them and animals. She is currently Maître de Conférences at the University of Liège and at the Free University of Brussels. She is the author of numerous articles and books, some of which have been translated into English: “Our Emotional Makeup” (2004); “What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?” (2016); and with Isabelle Stengers, “Women Who Make a Fuss: The Unfaithful Daughters of Virginia Woolf” (2014).
Julia Fischer is Professor for Primate Cognition at the Georg August University Göttingen und Head of the Department of Cognitive Ethology at the German Primate Center. Her research interests include social behavior, communication and cognition among non-human primates. Together with her team, she founded the field station Simenti in Senegal, where she investigates Guinea baboons. She is the Vice President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences as well as winner of the Oder of Merit Award for Lower Saxony. In 2013 she won the Werner and Inge Grüter Award for Science Communication and in 2016 the Lower Saxony Order of Merit. Julia is also a member of numerous committees such as the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin, as well as the advisory panel “Women in Science”, Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart.
Professor Hansson is Director of the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany. He was formerly Vice President of the Max Planck Society 2014-2020. He has a BSc in biology and a PhD in ecology from Lund University in Sweden. From 2006-2016, Hansson was part of the leadership of the Swedish Linnaeus project Insect Chemical Ecology, Ethology and Evolution. From 2020 he is also one of the leaders of the Max Planck Center Next Generation Insect Chemical Ecology in collaboration with Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Lund University. He is a member of numerous committees, such as the Governing Council of the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters.
Jens Hauser is a Paris and Copenhagen-based media studies scholar, writer and art curator focusing on the interactions between art and technology, trans-genre and hybrid aesthetics. He is an affiliated researcher at University of Copenhagen’s Medical Museion, following a dual post-doctoral research position at the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. He is also a distinguished affiliated faculty at Michigan State University where he co-directs the BRIDGE artist-in-residency program, and coordinates the (OU)VERT network for Greenness Studies. He holds degrees in media studies, art history and epistemology as well as in science and technology journalism. He has also curated a wide range of performances and exhibitions, the latest being: “/GREEN” (2019), and “OU \ / ERT” (2019). Jens is also a founding collaborator of the European culture channel ARTE since 1992 and has widely published essays in print journalism and in art books for many years.
Andrea Lissoni, PhD, is the Artistic Director of Haus der Kunst, Munich. Formerly Senior Curator, International Art (Film) at Tate Modern, London; Curator at HangarBicocca, Milan. At Tate Modern he launched a yearly Cinema Programme conceived as an exhibition unfolding throughout the entire year, he co-curated the display and the live programme at the opening of the BlavatnikBuilding in 2016, the 2017 and 2018 Live Exhibition (an experimental exhibition format he funded), the Hyundai Turbine Hall Commission 2016 Anywhen, by Philippe Parreno, the exhibition Joan Jonas and, recently a Bruce Nauman’s survey.
Dietmar Lupfer is Co-founder, Managing Director and Artistic Director of the Muffatwerk in Munich. He has long-term curatorial experience in the artistic design, production and marketing of internationally recognized art and cultural exchange events as well as in the programming of formats at the interface of art, technology and science and music, dance and performance. He creates and curates art interventions in public spaces and designs multimedia art installations. His projects include: the EU project “crash test dummy” or “urban mutations” as well as the installation “Hemisphere” together with Ulf Langheinrich for the exhibition “Vom Funken zum Pixel” at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. Moreover, Dietmar Lupfer has created the performance “Skate14_14” for the Bundeszentrale für politische Bilidung, which took place on the Platz der Märzrevolution in front of the Maxim-Gorki-Theater in Berlin, as well as the immersive installation “Sensefactory”, which was shown in the Schauspielhaus Bochum and in the Muffathalle Munich and supported by the “Kulturstiftung des Bundes’ program “Fonds Bauhaus heute”.
Asifa Majid is Professor of Language, Communication and Cultural Cognition at the University of York. She investigates the nature of thought both in language and outside of it by comparing diverse languages and cultures around the world. Her work is interdisciplinary, combining standardized psychological methodology, in-depth linguistic studies, and ethnographically-informed description. This coordinated approach has been used to study domains such as space, event representation and more recently the language of perception. Asifa has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and has been awarded various prizes for her work (eg, Ammodo KNAW Award, Radboud Science Award) and received a NWO VICI grant to study olfactory language and cognition across cultures. She is an elected member of Academia Europaea for her contributions to linguistics, and elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
Daniel Margulies began studying humanities in undergrad but through a chance encounter at a bus stop landed in neuroscience. He is currently a Research Director at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris, where he investigates principles of how the cerebral cortex is spatially organized and the role of that organization in human cognition. Daniel previously led the Neuroanatomy & Connectivity Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. He has worked at New York University and Humboldt University, and was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal for his doctoral dissertation (2010) and the Young Investigator Award from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (2018). Daniel co-founded The Neuro Bureau in 2009 with the idea to infuse the neuroscience community with new perspectives, to render it more accessible to other disciplines, and to make it in some ways more playful. He also engages with various art/science institutions such as the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden and Wellcome Collection London.
Christof Mauch is Director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, and Chair in American Cultural History at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He is an Honorary Professor and Senior Fellow at the Center for Ecological History of Renmin University in China, a past President of the European Society for Environmental History and a former Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. (1999-2007). His recent and upcoming books include “Slow Hope: Rethinking Ecologies of Crisis and Fear” (2019); “Urwald der Bayern” (Bavaria’s Primeval Forest) (2020), and “Grüne Neue Welt: Reisen in die Geschichte und Natur der USA” (Green New World: Travels into U.S. Nature and History) (2021).
Ursula Münster is Associate Professor of Environmental Humanities and the Director of the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities. Trained as social and cultural anthropologist in Mexico (Escuela National de Anthropología e Historia) and Germany (PhD 2006, Habilitation 2018 at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich), she has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in rural South India. Before joining the University of Oslo, Ursula was Director of Academic Programs at the Rachel Carson Center of Environment and Society at LMU Munich. Her research interests include multispecies ethnography, political ecology, wildlife conservation in the Anthropocene, extinction studies, gender, and practices of more-than-human care. She is currently working on her second monograph with the working title: “Encountering Wildlife.”
Tahani Nadim co-heads the interdisciplinary research centre Humanities of Nature at the Museum of Natural History Berlin. She is a Junior Professor for socio-cultural anthropology at the Institute for European Ethnology at Humboldt- University in Berlin where she is also a member of the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage. She also runs the experimental research unit Bureau for Troubles in which she collaborates with artists and curators. Her writings have appeared in Science as Culture, Big Data & Society and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Her most recent exhibitions include “The Influencing Machine” (neue Gesellschaft für bildende kunst , 2018- 19) and “Dead Wasps Fly Further” (Museum of Natural History Berlin, 2015).
Gorch Pieken studied history, art history and Dutch philology at the University of Cologne. He began his museum career in 1995 as curator at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. In 2006 he took the role of Project Manager for the new conception of the Military Historical Museum of the German Armed Forces in Dresden. In 2010 he was appointed Academic Director, in 2016 Deputy Director. Since 2018 Gorch Pieken has been working as Academic Director at the Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the German Armed Forces in Potsdam. Until the end of 2020 he was (partially) delegated as Chief Curator of the Humboldt University Berlin to in the Humboldt Forum. He is a member of numerous museum advisory boards. In 2020 he was appointed by the Austrian Minister of Defense to the Commission for the Evaluation of the Museum of Military History in Vienna. He is also author and producer of documentary films for ZDF, ARD, 3sat and arte, among others. In 2015 he was nominated for the Grimme Award, and in 2011 the Honorary Cross of the German Armed Forces in Gold.
Christian Rauch is founder and director at STATE, a Berlin-based gallery and exhibition laboratory that builds programs at the intersection of science, art and innovation to help co-create ideas for a sustainable future. Working with partners such as the United Nations, European Commission and Fraunhofer Association, STATE is dedicated to stimulate exchange around relevant topics of cutting-edge research and facilitate creativity without borders. After graduating from TU Berlin, Christian received a PhD in applied physics from Aalto University, Helsinki. He is a faculty member at the European Center for Executive Development and a Responsible Leader of the BMW Foundation.
Menno Schilthuizen is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist with a special interest in land snails and beetles. He is Senior Researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, and holds a Chair in Evolution and Biodiversity at Leiden University. Besides his academic activities, he is active as a science populariser, speaker and author of books for a general public, such as the recent “Nature's Nether Regions” (2014) and “Darwin Comes to Town” (2018). Via his private organizations Taxon Expeditions and Taxon Foundation, he also organizes real scientific expeditions for lay people.
Thomas Schnalke is a Professor of Medical History and Medical Museology and the Director of the Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité since 2000. He has studied medicine and in his doctoral thesis he dealt with the history and technology of dermatological moulages. From 1988 onward, he worked as Assistant Professor at the Institute for the History of Medicine at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. His research focuses on different museological aspects in medical history, methods and approaches in the material cultures of the history of medicine and the sciences, history of medical teaching objects and collections, especially specimens and moulages. At the museum he could realize a larger number of medical history exhibitions as well as presentations at the meeting points of art and medicine.
Petra Schwille is Director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, and Honorary Professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. She studied physics and philosophy in Stuttgart and Göttingen, and graduated in 1993 with a Diploma in physics at the Georg August University, Göttingen. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1996 performed at the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen. After a postdoctoral stay at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, she returned to the MPI Göttingen as a research group leader. In 2002, she accepted a Chair of Biophysics at the Technical University Dresden. Since 2012, she is heading the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biophysics at the MPI of Biochemistry. Her scientific interests range from single molecule biophysics to the synthetic biology of reconstituted systems.
Molecular biologist Manuel Selg studied at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky and received his PhD from Loyola University Chicago. After thirteen years of basic research, he accepted the professorship for molecular biology at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Wels. There, he is now Director of the Bio- and Environmental Technology Study Program. Manuel Selg has been active in the field of bioart for about 10 years. He has worked on a variety of projects with a variety of artists, curated several exhibitions and likes to use bioart as a means to promote social dialogue.
Manouchehr Shamsrizi, M.P.P. FRSA is “among the most publicly prominent voices of Germany’s younger generation” (Washington Post) and “everywhere where the improvement of political conditions still has considerable scope” (re:publica). He conducts research at Humboldt University, whose gamelab.berlin he co-founded, and also as a fellow of the German Council on Foreign Relations. He teaches on the social impact of future technologies at Leuphana University Lüneburg and on the “metaphysics of metal” at the Wacken Metal Academy. At Yale University he was a Global Justice Fellow and an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and was selected as a “Top 40 under 40 entrepreneurs” of business magazine CAPITAL, Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, and for the “Next Generation” Forum of the Stifterverband.
Prof. Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla is Director of the Institute for Epigenetics and Stem Cells (2016) and Biomedicine at the Pioneer Campus (2020) of the Helmholtz Zentrum München and Professor of Stem Cells at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Maria-Elena studied Biology at the National University of Mexico. She did her PhD at the Institut Pasteur and her postdoctoral training at the Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Illkirch-Graffenstaden. She also trained in philosophy and history of Science. Her research aims to unravel the epigenetic mechanisms underlying cellular plasticity and cell fate. Following her motto ‘science has no borders’, she is dedicated to bring science closer to society and to revise ethical and societal standards in science promoting responsible research.
Julia Voss is an honorary professor at the Institute for Philosophy and Art Studies at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. Her research focuses on the history of abstraction, the connections between evolutionary theory and culture, restitution and provenance, theory and history of the art market and art criticism. For her dissertation “Darwin's Pictures: Views of the Theory of Evolution 1837-1874” she received the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society in 2005 and the Sigmund Freud Prize for scientific prose of the German Academy of Language and Poetry in 2009. Until 2017, she was Head of the Arts Section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Deputy Head of the Feature Section. She has published numerous books, catalog contributions and essays, most recently the biography: Hilma af Klint - “Die Menschheit in Erstaunen versetzen” (2020), which became a SPIEGEL bestseller and was nominated for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize 2020. She is currently working as curator at the German Historical Museum on the exhibition project “The Political History of the documenta, 1955-1997”.
Lea Weil is an XR Expert at the Center for Virtual Reality and Visualization (V2C) at the Leibniz Computing Center (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. In an interdisciplinary team, she develops scientific visualizations in virtual and augmented reality and advises on possible application scenarios for the technologies. The extension of reality through digital content is a main focus of Lea Weil's work. In particular, she researches the potential of augmented reality for knowledge transfer, environmental and science communication, and the reception of virtual animals. As a lecturer at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, she has taught at the interface between art, design and media informatics.


Together with the LMU we are currently seeking an "Assistance of the chair holder Life Sciences in Society"  (job offer in german). Application deadline: May 14, 2023.


Vision Document

A vision for a new museum for Bavaria

Annual review 2019

The BIOTOPIA Annual Review 2019   in English

Annual review 2018

Available in German only

Annual review 2017

Available in German only

Naturkundemuseum Bayern
Botanisches Institut
Menzinger Str. 67
80638 München, Germany


Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-411
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sonstige Anfragen:

Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© Naturkundemuseum Bayern