GRK 2662 - Charging into the future
Polyelectrolytes are linear or branched macromolecules onto which charged units are appended. Natural polyelectrolytes such as DNA, proteins or heparin play a central role in virtually all biochemical processes. A quantitative understanding of the forces leading to binding of polyelectrolytes to biomolecules is of central importance for a variety of problems, for instance a rational design of therapeutic lead structures. In order to address this important issue, the International Research Training Group (IRTG) initiative aims to establish a close partnership between researchers of Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), McGill University, Montréal and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Canada) that benefits from the complementary expertise on both sides. Research at Freie Universität Berlin is mainly focused on fundamental physical and chemical issues and therefore aims to understand interactions between polyelectrolytes with biosystems. The Canadian side will use the gained knowledge to tackle questions of direct pharmaceutical importance.
The IRTG will provide a well-structured training program to young doctoral researchers, which is organized along stringent research themes and is coordinated by leading interdisciplinary researchers with strong track records. The IRTG will allow trainees to benefit from top interdisciplinary bilateral qualification and acquire international research experience by six months’ research visits. In addition, they will receive excellent training by specific lectures, workshops, annual symposia, and industry collaborations. The integrated research network will hence be able to tackle (bio)chemical challenges related to polyelectrolyte systems with high complexity and clearly defined biomedical relevance.