BIOTOPIA - 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 BIOTOPIA founding team is already working to bring together researchers, scientific institutions and the general public. With exhibitions "Made in Bavaria", BIOTOPIA 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.
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.
BIOTOPIA - 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 BIOTOPIA 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.
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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).
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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.
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 BIOTOPIA’s exhibition and event planning.
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