Founding Director
Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-437

Originally from Ireland, Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman is Founding Director of BIOTOPIA Naturkundemuseum Bayern since May 2016. In addition, Prof. Gorman holds the chair of Life Sciences in Society at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich.
Previously Michael John was Founding Director of Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, dedicated to igniting creativity and discovery where science and art collided. In 2012 he founded Science Gallery International with the goal of bringing Science Gallery experiences to a global audience. Galleries inspired by Dublin Science Gallery are currently open or under development in London, Melbourne, Bangalore, Venice, Detroit and Rotterdam. This project was sponsored by Google and the Wellcome Trust.
Prior to founding Science Gallery, Michael John was Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University and MIT. He has written books on topics ranging from Buckminster Fuller’s designs to seventeenth century art. He received his PhD in History from the European Institute in Florence and his BA in Physics and Philosophy from Oxford University.

Dr. Michael Apel
Deputy Director

+49 (0)89 / 179589-119

Verena Braun
Digital Communication

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-416

Dr. Thassilo Franke
Associate Curator

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-446

Dr. Moritz Hertel
Science Coordinator Max Planck Institutes / Biotopia

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-448

Esther Krumbholz
Project Assistant

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-422

Jasmin Manhardt
Event Coordinator

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-428

Anette Meister
Managing Director Förderkreis BIOTOPIA

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-424

Dr. Nina Möllers
Head of BIOTOPIA Lab and Events

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-427

Christian Plauert
Financial Administrator
(interim staffing)

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-423

Dr. Ulrike Rehwagen
Head of Project Delivery

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-421

Dr. Samara Rubinstein
Content Curator

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-447

Colleen Schmitz

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-443

Alexandra von Uckermann
Construction Project Manager

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-439

Annabarbara White
Assistant to the Founding Director

Phone (new since 09.2019):
+49 (0)89 / 178 61-437


The Board supports the activities of the museum by advising it in matters of fundamental importance.


Prof. Dr. Benedikt Grothe is chair of Neurobiology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) and Max Planck Fellow at the MPI of Neurobiology in Martinsried. His scientific work deals with the question how our brain processes sensory signals and how this leads to perception. He studied at the LMU, was curator at the Museum Mensch und Natur, worked as research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, New York University and the MPI of Neurobiology. He is a world expert on the principles of hearing. He is also founder and director of the Munich Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences GSNLMU, a worldwide-recognized innovative PhD-Program run by LMU together with its partner institutions at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), three Max Planck Institutes, and the Helmholtz Center Munich.


Since June 2016, Ken Arnold has been Director of Medical Museion and Professor at Copenhagen University. He also continues as Creative Director at Wellcome, where he oversees international cultural projects. He arrived at Wellcome in 1992, where he spearheaded a number of multidisciplinary cultural initiatives, culminating in 2007 with the establishment of Wellcome Collection, in which he directed the programmes for a decade. He serves on a number of advisory panels; and regularly writes and lectures on museums and on contemporary intersections between the arts and sciences. His book Cabinets for the Curious (Ashgate, 2006) explored what can be learned from looking back at England’s earliest museums; and he is currently researching a book about the increasingly important cultural role for these enduring institutions.

Senior Curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Paola Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994 and is a Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture & Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. With a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan, Paola Antonelli has also earned Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Royal College of Art and Kingston University, London, the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, and Pratt Institute in New York. She has curated numerous shows, lectured worldwide, and has served on several international architecture and design juries.
Her most recent exhibition, Items: Is Fashion Modern?, devoted to 111 items of clothing that have had a strong impact on the world in the past 100 years, opened at MoMA in October 2017. She is currently working on the next Triennale di Milano, entitled Broken Nature (March 2019); on the book States of Design; and on a new Theory of Everything for design.


Oron Catts is an artist, researcher, designer and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project which he established in 1996 is considered a leading biological art project. Catts interest is Life; more specifically the shifting relations and perceptions of life in the light of new knowledge and it applications. He is co-founder and director of SymbioticA, a biological art research centre at The University of Western Australia, established in 2000.
Catts was a Research Fellow in Harvard Medical School, a visiting Scholar at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor of Design Interaction (2009-2012), and a Professor at Large in Contestable Design (2015-2017) at the Royal College of Arts, London. Catts curated nine exhibitions, developed numerous artistic projects and performances. His work was exhibited and collected by museums such as MoMA NY, Mori art Museum, NGV, GoMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China and more. His work was covered by The NY Times, Washington Post, Wired, New Scientist, Time, Newsweek and other TV, radio, print and online media.


Steffi Czerny is Managing Director of DLD Media and co-founder of DLD Conference as well as its global spin-offs like DLDwomen, DLD Tel Aviv, DLDcities, DLDnyc and DLDsummer.
Joining the Burda group in 1995, Steffi has held several executive positions in new media activities. Her background is in political sciences and communications. She has followed developments in the digital world for over 20 years and focuses on developing branding and communication initiatives.
Steffi was identified as number 30 of The 2015 Wired 100 and has also been chosen as one of the 50 most inspiring women in European tech in 2015 by for her success in bringing the international digital elite together at DLD.
Furthermore she owns the state medal for special merits to the Bavarian economy (2014) and the “Europa-Medaille” for special merits to Bavaria in a united Europe (2015).


After earning his doctorate in biochemistry in 1979, Horst Domdey worked as a scientist at various German, Swiss and US institutes such as the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, at ISREC, UCSD and the California Institute of Technology. From 1984 to 1994 he led an independent research group at the Gene Center of the University of Munich. In 1994 he was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at the LMU Munich. In the same year he co-founded the biotech company MediGene. In 1996 he successfully led the Munich Biotech Initiative into the German BioRegio Competition. Since 1997 he has been the Managing Director of BioM, the cluster development and management organization of the Munich Biotech Cluster. Since 2006 he also manages the Bavarian Biotechnology Network. From 2010 to 2015, he was also spokesman for the Munich m4 leading edge cluster program. Other current activities include the scientific management of the Bavarian Genome Research Network BayGene, the coordination of the Bavarian Research Network for Molecular Biosystems BioSysNet and the management of the tech-transfer working group in BIO Deutschland e.V. He is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Medigene AG. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Health Industries South Australia, member of the Supervisory Board of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, member of the Boards of the Peter and Traudl Engelhorn Foundation and the Foundation for Stem Cell Research and Applied Regenerative Medicine.


Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunar is the Director of the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology and Director General of the Bavarian Natural History Collections. Moreover, he holds a chair for Systematic Zoology at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. His research area encompasses comparative anatomy, ontogeny, and systematics of molluscs. Haszprunar has been awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Sciences and has published over 170 works. He is also a member of BIOTOPIA’s international advisory board.


Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Herbert Jäckle ist Direktor EmeDr. Dr. h.c. mult. Herbert Jäckle is Director emeritus at the Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie (Göttingen, Germany) and former Vice-President of the Max Planck Society. He studied Chemistry and Biology (Universität Freiburg) and spent his postdoc at the University of Texas at Austin (USA). He held positions as staff scientist at the EMBL (Heidelberg), as research group leader (Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Tübingen) and as professor for genetics (Ludwig Maximilian Universität, München).
Herbert Jäckle is a member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea, and German Academies of Sciences (Leopoldina and Göttingen). He obtained multiple scientific awards (including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the Otto Bayer Prize, the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine, the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China, and the Luis Federico Leloir prize) and serves on Advisory Boards both in academia and industry.
Using the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism, Dr. Jäckle's research is focussed on molecular mechanisms (biochemical pathways and regulatory networks) involved in embryonic pattern formation (segmental body organization, formation of organs). More recent work (“molecular physiology”) aims to understanding the genetic and molecular basis of cellular and organismal energy homeostasis. Herbert Jäckle is author of >200 scientific articles.


After completing his studies in biology at the LMU Munich in 1999, he received his doctorate with distinction in 2003: summa cum laude (Dr. rer. nat.). Postdocships at the Universities of Leipzig and Lancaster University, UK, followed in 2003 - 2005. From 2005 to 2009 he worked as a scientific assistant and, after completing his habilitation, he was head of the limnological research station Seeon at the LMU. From WS 2009 to SS 2012 he held a professorship in "aquatic ecology" at the Department of Biology II of the LMU before being appointed to the Chair of Animal Ecology I of the Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Geosciences at the University of Bayreuth from WS 2012. Various awards in his career are as much a part of his CV as his commitment to research and teaching. In October 2015 he was appointed to the position of Vice President for Research and Young Scientists at the University of Bayreuth.
His research focuses on zoology and evolutionary ecology, in particular on the phenomenon of phenotypic plasticity and the adaptation of animals to altered biotic and abiotic environmental factors. Another focus is on coral reef ecology and the influence of multiple stressors on communities, food webs and ecosystem functions. The contamination of the environment with microplastics and the associated effects on organisms and ecosystems is also a central area of research.


Prof. Neuhaus heads the chair of biology education at LMU Munich, the largest institute for biology teacher training in Bavaria. Currently, she is responsible for the training of more than 1,000 biology student-teachers for elementary, middle, intermediate, special, and grammar schools. After successful completion of a diploma in biology, a teacher certification for elementary schools and stays abroad, she was awarded a Dr. rer. nat. with summa cum laude in 2004. In the year 2008, she joined the Institute of Biology Education at LMU Munich as a full professor. Two key questions lie at the core of her research: ‘How can we develop children’s interest in the biological phenomena?’ And, ‘How can we design teaching-learning environments that facilitate children in acquiring an interconnected and sustainable knowledge of life sciences from kindergarten through high school? Prof. Neuhaus believes that such an approach to biology education can help address the global problems of our times. On these issues, she leads numerous research projects and is connected with leading researchers and stakeholders in the field of education, for example, within the framework of DFG research groups, BMBF cooperation projects, and the REASON graduate school of the Elite Network of Bavaria.
She is currently a deputy director of the Munich Centre for Teacher Education at LMU (mzl), vice-chairman of the Committee on Academic Affairs at the LMU Munich, member of the scientific board of the Munich Centre of the Learning Sciences (MCLS), and the member of the curriculum expert advisory board for the ‘Lehrplan PLUS’ in Bavaria. Prof. Neuhaus has also served as a jury member for the ‘Polytechnic Prize for Specialized Didactics’, worth € 70,000, of the Polytechnic Society. She is also the author of more than 100 publications in books and magazines.


Communication in all its forms is your passion? You want to help create new communication channels, reach new audiences and bring of one Germany's most significant cultural projects to the public? BIOTOPIA offers internships for students supporting our communications team - apply now at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
German language proficiency required.
Help us shape BIOTOPIA's future events and activities and inspire the public for nature and science!
BIOTOPIA is now offering internships for students supporting the development and execution of our events – apply now at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
German language proficiency required.


Vision Document

A vision for a new museum for Bavaria

Annual report 2018

Available in German only

Annual Report 2017

Available in German only


Naturkundemuseum Bayern
Botanisches Institut
Menzinger Str. 67
80638 München, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern 2019

BIOTOPIA Newsletter

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We're moving! Starting September 09th, 2019 our office will be located at the following address: Dienstgebäude Botanisches Institut | Menzingerstr. 67 | 80638 München. New phone number: +49 (0)89 / 178 61-422

contact information

Since its opening in 1990, the Museum Mensch und Natur has been one of Munich's most popular and well-attended museums. Due to the very limited space and poor infrastructure, the museum will close at the beginning of 2020 in order to be comprehensively expanded and renewed

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Become part of one Germany's most significant cultural projects: BIOTPOIA is growing! We are extending our team in several areas: Exhibition, operations, and more. Apply now!

Go to Job Postings

Events, planning, Lab: What has BIOTOPIA been up to in 2018? Our annual report is now online for you to browse and download.

Go to Annual Report



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