Group leader

Since January 2017, Elmar Behrmann is independent group leader of the Max Planck Research Group “Structural Dynamics of Proteins”. Since November 2017, he is additionally tenured professor for Structural Biochemistry at the University of Cologne.

Elmar Behrmann was originally trained at the interface between chemistry and biology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. For his undergraduate research project, he joined the laboratory of Reinhard Jahn at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. There, he developed an appreciation for the complex interplay of proteins at synaptic membranes. To get at the mechanistic hearth of these interactions, he decided to pursue his graduate studies in the laboratory of Stefan Raunser at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, focusing on the application of cryo-electron microscopy to study protein complexes. After earning his doctorate in 2012, which was awarded with the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements of the Max Planck Society, he moved as a PostDoc into the laboratory of Christian Spahn at the Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics in Berlin. In 2014, he was elected as a Freigeist Fellow of the Volk4swagenFoundation, allowing him to establish an independent research group at the research center caesar. In 2017 he was both appointed as an independent Max Planck Research Group leader, as well as a tenured professor at the University of Cologne.

Elmar Behrmann’s research is driven by the apperception that proteins are not static, and that understanding molecular motion is crucial for fully understanding a proteins mode of action. The long-term goal of his research group, both at the research center caesar as well as at the University of Cologne, is do develop tools aiding the dynamic analysis of protein structure by electron microscopy.

Scientific career

since 2014 FreiGeist Fellow, research center caesar
2012-2014 Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, Charité Berlin
2008-2012 Ph.D. student, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund (Ph.D. in biochemistry, TU Dortmund University)


since 2014 Fellow of the Young Zentrums für interdisziplinäre Forschung, University of Bielefeld
since 2014 FreiGeist Fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation
2009-2012 Fellowship of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie


2013 Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society
Dr. Elmar Behrmann
Group Leader