In his opening remarks, Scientific Director Alwin Köhler shared his thoughts about the relevance of basic research in these challenging times. Vice Rector Jean-Robert Tyran from the University of Vienna pointed out the unique positioning of the Max Perutz Labs as a collaboration with the Medical University, making it “a prime university institution to do research in molecular and cell biology”. Vice Rector Michaela Fritz from the Medical University added that “Max Perutz himself is the best testimony for the mission of our institute: that a mechanistic understanding of fundamental biomedical processes will help to link basic research to advances in human health.”
Keynote speaker Jan Löwe shared his personal memories of one of his first encounters with Max Perutz when, in a seminar, Max asked the speaker an overly simplistic question, that turned out to be infinitely harder to answer than expected. In this seemingly benign encounter, Jan learned an important lesson, which is that “we should all try to go back from time to time to the really simple questions, because those are the ones that give important answers”. What followed was a tour-de-force in scientific discovery that illustrated the value of curiosity-driven basic research. Thank you, Jan.
No champagne at this year´s Max Perutz Day, but plenty of inspiration for all.
Watch Jan’s lecture: ‘Determining Protein Structures 60 years after Max Perutz’