Kick-off meeting of the DFG Priority Program “Codeχ – The Code of Chito-Protein Interactions” in Siegen

Today, the PIs, post-doctoral and doctoral researchers of the research projects funded by the German Research Foundation DFG in the framework of its Priority Program “Codeχ – The Code of Chito-Protein Interactions” met in Siegen for the first time. All of the 14 Codeχ projects and the two associated projects were presented by the corresponding PIs in short lectures, and the doctoral and post-doctoral researchers financially supported by these projects presented their work on posters. Prof. Bruno Moerschbacher presented our old and recent results on structure-function relationships of antimicrobial activities of chitosans, including those of the meta-analysis we have just finalized on papers dealing with this topic. Margareta Hellmann presented the work planned on the role of chitosan in the cell walls of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans in our collaborative project with Dr. Christian Gorzelanny from the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg and Prof. Jennifer Lodge from Duke University in the US. Dr. Stefan Cord-Landwehr gave an overview of our methods portfolio for the structural analysis of chitosans, including his UHPLC-based enzymatic-mass spectrometric fingerprinting tools which are already in great demand by the Codeχ partners. Katharina Eickelpasch presented the portfolio of second generation chitosans already made available to different Codeχ partners as well as her recent work on the root growth-promoting activities of chitosans performed in collaboration with Prof. Nicolaus von Wiren at IPK Gatersleben. Of course, we cannot disclose here what we heard from the other participants of the Codeχ program – but believe us: it was fascinating and truly mind-blowing! And it offers opportunities galore for new collaborations, tremendously widening our possibilities to jointly crack the ChitoCode!