Stars among themselves: Forensics meets Biodiversity

World-famous criminal biologist visits the Grail of Microbes in Braunschweig

From left to right: Prof. Dr. Yvonne Mast, Dr. Mark Benecke, Dr. Manuela Schüngel, PhDr. Sven-David Müller, Prof. Dr. Laura Steenpaß, Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann

On 16th June 2020, the criminal biologist Dr. Mark Benecke visited the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH on the Science Campus Braunschweig-Süd from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The specialist for forensic entomology has been in contact with researchers of the world's most diverse and extensive collection of bioresources for many years. The first point of contact at the time was a green bacterium found on cadavers. In Braunschweig, Dr. Benecke is best known since the murder case of the pastor Klaus Geyer in the 1990s, in whose solution he was significantly involved.

In discussions with Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann (Scientific Director), Prof. Dr. Yvonne Mast (Head of the Department of Bioresources for Bioeconomy and Health Research), Prof. Dr. Laura Steenpaß (Head of the Department of Human and Animal Cell Cultures), Dr. Wilhelm Dirks (Group Leader Genotyping) and Dr. Felizitas Bajerski (Group Leader Patent and Safe Deposit), Mark Benecke learned about the collection and research activities of the DSMZ. One point of discussion during the visit was, among others, the problem of cross-contamination, a challenge in both forensics and microbiology. During cross-contamination samples like bacteria are contaminated by other bacteria. Finally, the researchers also explored future possibilities for cooperation.

Press contact:
Sven-David Müller, Head of Public Relations, Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH
Phone: ++49 (0)531/2616-300
Mail: Sven.David.Mueller(at)dsmz.de 

About the Leibniz Institute DSMZ
The Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures is the world's most diverse collection of biological resources (bacteria, archaea, protists, yeasts, fungi, bacteriophages, plant viruses, genomic bacterial DNA as well as human and animal cell lines). Microorganisms and cell cultures are collected, investigated and archived at the DSMZ. As an institution of the Leibniz Association, the DSMZ with its extensive scientific services and biological resources has been a global partner for research, science and industry since 1969. The DSMZ is the first registered collection in Europe (Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014) and certified according to the quality standard ISO 9001:2015. As a patent depository, it offers the only possibility in Germany to deposit biological material in accordance with the requirements of the Budapest Treaty. In addition to scientific services, research is the second pillar of the DSMZ. The institute, located on the Science Campus Braunschweig-Süd, accommodates more than 73,000 cultures and biomaterials and has 198 employees. www.dsmz.de  

The Leibniz Association
The Leibniz Association connects 96 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder, employing some 19,100 individuals, including 9,900 researchers. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 1,9 billion Euros. www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de