Potsdam-Rehbrücke, 02.09.2021

DIfE Inaugurates New Research Building

The German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) inaugurated its new research building with a festive ceremony today. On this occasion, Dr. Birgit Schröder-Smeibidl, Administrative Director of DIfE, welcomed Dr. Manja Schüle, Minister of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg, Prof. Dr. Veronika von Messling, Ministerial Director and Head of Department 6 Life Sciences at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Matthias Beller, Vice President of the Leibniz Association, and numerous other guests from science and politics. In his keynote speech, Prof. Dr. Tilman Grune, Scientific Director of DIfE, emphasized the importance of the building for the strategic development of DIfE and the continuation of sustainable nutrition research. During a tour and demonstration of a robotic system for handling frozen human biospecimens, the guests were able to get an impression of the new building named after Nobel Prize laureate Gerty Cori.

"The Gerty Cori Building represents the long and urgently needed expansion of DIfE to allow us to continue to conduct and expand our successful and internationally recognized research according to high scientific standards," Grune said in his keynote address. The new building, which consists of a three-story main building and a single-story annex, provides 2,600 square meters of space for around 100 employees. With the start of operations, the Human Study Center, which was previously spread across several DIfE sites, and its affiliated biobank, as well as four other departments, will be housed together in the offices and laboratories of the new research building. A bright and spacious seminar area will be available to DIfE employees and students of the long-term cooperation partner, the Institute of Nutritional Science at the University of Potsdam, for joint lectures. The core of the biobank is a new robotics system for biosamples with which up to 180,000 human biosamples can be stored at -150 to -180 ° C and easily archived and retrieved via automated handling.

More than 20 million euros in funding
The new building was financed with 10 million euros respectively by the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg (MWFK) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In her welcoming address, Research Minister Dr. Manja Schüle said: "We know that what we eat and how much we eat have a significant impact on our health. But how do food selection decisions actually arise in the brain – and can these be changed? With its excellent experimental and application-oriented basic research, DIfE is working to find answers to such questions for the future and is making a significant contribution to advancing nutrition and health sciences in Brandenburg. Nobel laureate Gerty Cori stands for assertiveness, scientific excellence and teamwork – and is therefore perfectly suited to give the new research building its name.
With the Gerty Cori Building, DIfE is expanding its research activities and capacities and, together with the University of Potsdam, strengthening the research location. And thus impressively demonstrates: "In Brandenburg the future is being made".

Completion on schedule thanks to committed cooperation
Construction work on the Gerty Cori Building began in May 2019 after a two-and-a-half-year planning phase. Less than half a year passed from the laying of the foundation stone on June 11, 2019, to the topping-out ceremony on December 4, 2019. On August 24, 2021, DIfE received the approval for use from the building supervisory authority.

"We are very proud of the solution-oriented partnership between all those involved in the project, which enabled on-time completion and adherence to the budget, which is no easy undertaking in view of the situation on the construction market and the pandemic," said Dr. Birgit Schröder-Smeibidl, who is responsible for the construction project. “In accordance with the multifaceted uses, on the one hand laboratories and the technically sophisticated biobank, on the other hand office and communication areas, the structural requirements were very high. Despite numerous challenges, we succeeded in completing this beautiful building, tailored to DIfE's requirements and fitting into the external environment in Nuthetal, on time and are now handing it over to the users. Many thanks to all external partners, the architects from Heinle, Wischer und Partner, the planners of the technical building equipment from PGMM, the colleagues from the responsible ministries, as well as the internal participants for their reliable commitment and the work performed and the very dedicated cooperation!"

Appropriate exterior design and functional interior
The design of the new building combines modern architecture with typical local construction style. With the yellow-gray clinker brick common in Brandenburg and its window formats, the Gerty Cori Building creates a clear reference to the existing institute buildings and is in harmony with the adjacent residential development. In planning the interior, the architects placed particular emphasis on taking into account the specific functional workflows of the various users. In the separately accessible seminar wing, for example, there is an open work area with opportunities for retreat. The seminar room can accommodate up to 60 people and can be divided.

Two atriums serve to evenly illuminate all areas and lend an animated character through greenery with plants. In the entrance hall, designed acoustic elements are installed on the walls. With the wave-line-like lighting, the architects also create a counterpoint to the highly geometric floor plan.

Background information
Client: German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE)
Architects: Heinle, Wischer und Partner, Architecture Office, Berlin
Financing: 10 million euros (gross) respectively from federal and Brandenburg state funds
Area: 5,060 square meters gross floor area, 2,558 square meters usable floor area
Name giver: Gerty Cori (1896-1957), Austrian-US biochemist who was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1947 for the discovery of the Cori cycle named after her.
Start of planning: November 2016
Construction start: May 2019
Groundbreaking: June 2019
Topping-out ceremony: December 2019
Inauguration: September 2021

Further information: https://www.dife.de/ueber-uns/campus/neubau/#c145 (in German)

Press contact
Press and Public Relations
German Institute for Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE)
Phone: +49 33 200 88 - 2335
E-Mail: presse(at)dife.de

The German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE) is a member of the Leibniz Association. It investigates the causes of nutrition-associated diseases in order to develop new strategies for prevention, treatment and nutritional recommendations. Its research interests include the causes and consequences of the metabolic syndrome, a combination of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin resistance and lipid metabolism disorder, the role of nutrition for healthy aging and the biological bases of food choices and dietary behavior. DIfE is also a partner of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), which has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since 2009. www.dife.de/en

Press contact

Birgit Niesing

+49 (0)89 3187-3971