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New Research Training Group for FAU

Cell membrane (Image: GRK 1962)

Cell membrane (Image: GRK 1962)

Junior researchers explore the properties of cell membranes

A great success for FAU: the German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved a new Research Training Group (‘Dynamic Interactions at Biological Membranes – from Single Molecules to Tissue’ – RTG1962) at FAU in which junior researchers take a closer look at properties of cell membranes and processes that take place at the membranes. The DFG is expected to support the Graduate School with approximately 4.2 million euros over the next four and a half years.

Cell membranes, the thin barriers that surround animal and plant cells, are at the centre of the Graduate School’s research focus. They consist largely of lipids and proteins, which cells use to communicate with each other and which play an important role in transport and growth processes. The junior researchers now want to examine how and why certain lipids or proteins arrange themselves in specific regions of the cell membrane, and why others don’t. Biologists, physicists and chemists are working together closely to answer these questions.

‘We are hoping to gain new insights into how the structure and composition of the cell membrane supports its functions such as communication through the membrane, cell-to-cell recognition and cellular growth,’ explains Prof. Dr. Rainer Böckmann, professor of Computational Biology and speaker of the new Research Training Group. ‘These basic processes also form the basis for a molecular understanding of many diseases and thus for new approaches in their treatment.’

The Research Training Group builds on the interdisciplinary degree programme ‘Integrated Life Sciences’, which was established at FAU as a Bachelor’s programme four years ago and as a Master’s programme one year ago, and which is already firmly focused on the Research Training Group’s research priority. In the doctoral degree programme, the young scientists will now learn the use of various modern methods by way of specialised courses and intensive laboratory training. The funding scheme includes a research stay abroad of several months.

Further information:

Prof. Dr. Rainer Böckmann
Phone: +49 (0)9131 85 25409
rainer.boeckmann@fau.de

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