RTG Biomembranes

Research Training Group 1962

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has granted a new research training group (“Dynamic Interactions at Biological Membranes – From Single Molecules to Tissue”) to the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, in which young scientists investigate membrane properties and processes happening on membranes. The DFG will support the research training group within the next 4.5 years with about 4.2 million euros.

The research training group focuses on cell membranes – thin layers, which surround animal and plant cells. They largely consist of fat molecules and proteins, which are involved in cell communication and play a key role in transport-processes as well as cell growth. The young researchers want to investigate how and why some fat molecules or proteins accumulate in specific regions of the cell membrane – and why others do not. In order to achieve this, biologists, physicists, and chemists work closely together.

“We hope to get new insight about how the structure and composition of cell membranes support their function in communication over the membrane, cell-cell recognition, or cell growth, for example.”, explains Prof. Dr. Rainer Böckmann, professor for Computational Biology and speaker of the new research training group. “Those basic processes also build the fundament for a molecular understanding of many diseases, and with that, for future therapeutic methods.”

The research training group is based upon the “Integrated Life Sciences”, an interdisciplinary course of study which was just recently established at the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg as a bachelors course four years ago, followed by the start of the masters course last year. The graduation program aims to teach different modern methods to young scientists by means of specialized seminars and intensive lab trainings. As an additional part of this program, a research stay abroad for the duration of several months is planned. The research training group starts at April 1st, 2014.

Erlangen, 08.11.2013