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Posted: June 28, 2010
German Research Foundation supports molecular biology research with new center
(Nanowerk News) Beginning July 1, 2010, the German Research Foundation will support a new collaborative research centre (CRC) at Göttingen University. CRC 860 is titled "The integrative structural biology of macromolecular complexes" and includes a total of 16 projects. The grant totals about €8.5 million over four years.
The collaborative research centre encompasses 18 study groups from the faculties of biology and physics as well as the Göttingen Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. The new CRC is located at the Göttingen Centre for Molecular Biosciences and is coordinated by Prof. Ralf Ficner from the university's Institute for Microbiology and Genetics.
The scientists at the CRC are conducting fundamental research: They are primarily looking at the dynamics of larger complexes of biomolecules, which must be understood in order to discover how these complexes function at an atomic level. The large multi-protein complexes are comprised of many protein molecules and sometimes also ribonucleic acid molecules. The researchers want to clarify their molecular composition as well as their three-dimensional structure in order to perfectly understand their role in living cells. However, the complexes are continuously changing, which is also closely related to their cellular function.
Traditional biochemical, structural biology and biophysical methods aren't sufficient to analyse such large complexes, especially when these methods are the only methods employed. In fact, various biochemical and biophysical approaches must be combined. For this reason, numerous study groups with very different experimental expertise are working closely together in the new collaborative research centre.