Structure and organization

Each of the institute's eight departments is led by a director. The institute is managed by the board of directors. Every three years, the position of the institute's managing director changes from one director to the next.

The institute has two locations in Martinsried near Munich and Seewiesen near Starnberg. The Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence (MPI-BI) has round about 500 members of staff, coming from over 50 nations. Due to the internationality, the language in the labs, in seminars and other meetings is English.


Managing Director: Prof. Dr. Manfred Gahr

Deputy Managing Director: Prof. Dr. Tobias Bonhoeffer

Assistant to the Managing Director: Dr. Jayne Lambert

Head of Administration: Sonja Strobel

Scientific Members, Directors

Prof. Dr. Herwig Baier, Department Genes - Circuits - Behavior

Dr. Maude Baldwin, Department Evolution of Sensory and Physiological Systems

Prof. Dr. Tobias Bonhoeffer, Department Synapses - Circuits - Plasticity

Prof. Dr. Alexander Borst, Department Circuits - Computation - Models

Prof. Dr. Winfried Denk, Department Electrons - Photons - Neurons

Prof. Dr. Manfred Gahr, Department of Behavioral Neurobiology

Prof Dr. Bart Kempenaers, Department of Ornithology (formerly Behavioral Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics, renamed in July 2023)

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Klein, Department Molecules - Signaling - Development

Research Groups

Dr. Henrik Brumm, Research Group Communication and Social Behavior

Dr. Lisa Fenk, Lise Meitner Research Group Active Sensing

Dr. Oliver Griesbeck, Research Group Tools for Bio-Imaging

Dr. Angelika Harbauer, Max Planck Research Group Neurometabolism

Dr. Michaela Hau, Research Group Evolutionary Physiology

Dr. Joergen Kornfeld, Research Group Circuits of Birdsong

Dr. Clemens Kuepper, Max Planck Research Group Behavioral Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology

Dr. Christian Mayer, Max Planck Research Group Neurogenomics

Dr. Nils Rattenborg, Max Planck Research Group Avian Sleep

Dr. Daniela Vallentin, Max Planck Research Group Neural Circuits for Vocal Communication


Dr. Pablo Oteiza, Group Flow Sensing

Dr. Auguste von Bayern, Group Comparative Cognition

Max Planck Fellows

Prof. Dr. Benedikt Grothe, Max Planck Fellow Group Circuits of Spatial Hearing 

Prof. Dr. Jochen Wolf, Max Planck Fellow Group Microevolution and Biodiversity 

Emeritus Scientific Members

Prof. Dr. Berthold, Until 2004 director of the department Bird Migration

Prof. Dr. Bert Sakmann, Director at the MPI for Medical Research, Emeritus Group Cortical Column in silico at the institute since 2008

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Wekerle, Director until 2011. Department Neuroimmunology

External Scientific Members

Prof. Dr. Yves-Alain Barde, Cardiff School of Biosciences, UK

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Hohlfeld, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany

Lord John Krebs, Oxford University, UK

Prof. Dr. Edvard Moser, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation, Norway

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