Modern Biology and Structural Biology

Understanding of mechanisms underlying life on all levels (i.e. organism, organ tissue, cell, sub cellular compartments, molecular complexes and molecules) is the main aim of modern biology. An essential prerequisite for this task is the detailed knowledge of the participating molecules' structure. Important and precise information regarding structure and dynamics of biologically and medically relevant molecules is delivered by structural biology. This science forms the basis for understanding of molecular functions and subsequent cellular processes. Hence, structural biology is a crucial and fundamental science for modern biotechnology and molecular medicine. Those challenges need an enormous range of scientific methods, being represented and established at Heinrich-Heine-University (HHU) Düsseldorf in a unique width and completeness.

BioStruct Teaching Aims

The NRW Research School BioStruct aims to introduce this concentrated expertise and wealth of knowledge to a new generation of graduate studies at HHU Düsseldorf. BioStruct alumni will be qualified to apply all existing methods of structural biology. They will be able to autonomously decide, which of these methods will be possible, the most promising, adequate and helpful in solving a problem of biotechnology or molecular medicine. This is the central task of the scientific teaching programs of BioStruct. A teaching program in transferable skills aims to enable BioStruct Fellows building up an individual and sustainable profile of diverse key competences, completing their exceptional profile of scientific expertise and professionalism.

BioStruct Research Aims

The BioStruct Core Research Groups hold the expertise in structural biology. Common scientific emphases of all core research groups are the solutions of 3D structures of biomolecules and of macromolecular complexes. Structure/function relationships shall be deduced and innovative concepts shall be developed, i.e. to clarify mechanisms of pathogenic mutations or to optimize and to vary designs of biomolecular machines like the specation of enzymes. A special aim of BioStruct Core Group research is the analysis of protein dynamics regarding protein/protein and protein/ligand interactions and the impact of those molecular structural processes on the function and the course of complex biological processes. Altogether this forms the first research focus of BioStruct. The second research focus arises from cooperations of the core groups with associated research groups from the faculty of mathematics and natural sciences, the faculty of medicine or from institutions associated to the HHU Düsseldorf. BioStruct Associated Research Groups have their expertise in biotechnology or molecular medicine and are now challenging a research question where they depend on methods of and expertise in structural biology and need access to corresponding sophisticated and/or large-capacity instruments.



Board of Directors

Prof. Dr. Dieter Willbold

Prof. Dr. Lutz Schmitt

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