A building that transcends borders

On October 17, the Executive Board members of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) laid the cornerstone for the Käthe Beutler Building on the Berlin-Buch campus. BIH researchers will in 2020 move into the new facility, where they will work on developing new personalized therapies for chronic diseases. The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin cooperate within BIH to speed up the transfer of basic research discoveries to patients.

The building, which is named after the German pediatrician Käthe Beutler, will contain around 2,500 square meters of floor area and provide space for some 135 researchers in laboratories, offices, and communication zones. Construction costs total €24.3 million – 90 percent of which comes from the federal government (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and ten percent from the state of Berlin (Senate Chancellery). “This means BIH is moving from being a virtual institute to a real research center,” said Dr. Rolf Zettl, chief financial officer and Executive Board member of BIH. “As a result of this new facility and the ATIZ Building on Charité’s Berlin-Mitte campus, which is also under construction, BIH will soon not only have a physical presence and a home base – but will also be fully functional.” Martin Lohse, Scientific Director of the MDC, stressed: “It is enormously important that scientists and physicians work together under one roof. New ideas for translation can only arise in such an environment.”

The border between Berlin and Brandenburg runs through the middle of the building. It is fitting, of course, that bridging the border between basic research and clinical practice is an everyday occurrence at BIH. The namesake is also well chosen, said Axel Radlach Pries, Dean of Charité and interim Chairman of the BIH Executive Board: “Käthe Beutler was in 1917 one of the first women to study medicine at Charité and then actually practice the profession. She unfortunately had to flee to the United States during the Nazi era, but she passed down her inquiring spirit: Her grandson, Bruce Beutler, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for developing an immunotherapy to treat cancer. This is an important field and one that a BIH research team is also focusing on.” The ceremony concluded with all those present wishing the future occupants of the BIH building “every success and the best of luck.”