BIOSS links the existing components of the vigorous signal transduction research in Freiburg together using a new strategy: from analysis to synthesis. One important pillar of this concept is the establishment of the first professorship in Germany for synthetic biology. The scientists at BIOSS collaborate in developing new methods for understanding and controlling the signalling processes which occur within and between cells. Conceiving proteins as functional machines is fundamental to all projects and forms a connection to chemistry, computer sciences and microsystems technology. The BIOSS network is supported by a resource centre for signal engineers and a high-tech platform for gene and protein analysis. The use of targeted technology marketing ensures the practical implementation of scientific discoveries. Moreover, innovative strategies and a dynamic organisational structure as well as special programs for the advancement of women and young researchers, and the interaction of diverse scientific cultures all make BIOSS a vibrant research centre.