The Integrated Graduate School 1078 is a joint graduate school of the Freie Universität (FU), Technical University Berlin (TU), Humboldt University (HU), Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP), and Justus Liebig University Giessen (GLU). It offers postgraduate education in the interdisciplinary field of biomolecular protonation dynamics, a topic that combines the fields of Biophysics, Physics, Theoretical Physics and Chemistry, Structural Biology, Biochemistry, and Chemistry. The graduate school is a member of Dahlem Research School Molecular Science.
All proteins in living organisms are “embedded” in a network of dynamic hydrogen bonds, which involves protein groups and water molecules. The movement of protons in hydrogen-bonded networks, associated changes in protonation pattern and charge relocations (called in general protonation dynamics) can control and coordinate complex protein functions. We study, at the atomic level, the functional role of protonation dynamics and the underlying mechanisms focusing on four exemplary proteins with biologically important functions: multi-site redox reactions in cytochrome c oxidase (bioenergetics-respiration) and photosystem II (water oxidation); light-reception in combination with ion translocation in channelrhodopsins and with signal transduction in phytochromes.
The program aims to train highly dedicated doctoral students with optimal multidisciplinary education, ready for their future career in academia, industry, and in the public sector. Supervision is realized by a mentoring team of two group leaders. The close collaboration between the research projects within CRC1078 provides the valuable possibility to integrate experimentalists and theoreticians to solve complicated questions and develops skills for team working in a highly interdisciplinary international environment.
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Alexiev