Research training groups
Research training groups are funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft, DFG).
The DFG has granted the WWU funding for the RTG on „Chemical Biology of Ion channels (Chembion)” starting from October 2019. The project is initially funded for a period of 4.5 years.
Chembion is a collaboration of six groups each from both the Natural Sciences and the Medical Faculty and one group from the interfaculty centre EIMI with complementary expertise.
Environment of the research training group
With around 44,000 students from more than 100 nationalities, 5,000 scientists, and an annual budget of about 610 Mio. Euros, the Westphalian Wilhelms University (WWU) is one of the five largest universities in Germany. WWU Münster is characterized as a full comprehensive university, teaching nearly all disciplines and allowing a large degree of interdisciplinary networking.
Core research idea of Chembion
The research training group “Chemical biology of ion channels (Chembion)” is dedicated to both the design, synthesis, and modification of small molecules that modulate ion channels, as well as their application to study the molecular, cellular, and integrative channel (patho)physiology.
We will structurally analyse and deorphanize ligand binding sites, develop novel subtype-selective ligands, and image the localization and density of ion channels. The (dys)function of ion channels will be investigated on the molecular and cellular level, from single cells to integrative systems.
Research areas of Chembion
Ligand recognition Aim: To decipher ligand recognition of ion channels on the molecular level and to deorphanize ligand-binding sites. Subtype specific modulation Aim: To elucidate the (patho)physiological role of a particular channel isoform/subtype by the use of subtype-specific modulators. Molecular imaging Aim: To study ion channels at the (sub)cellular level by fluorescence imaging, super-resolution techniques or high affinity probes for in vivo tracing. Molecular and cellular physiology Aim: To investigate novel ion channel modulators in single cells either individually in cell culture systems or as part of cellular networks. Integrative (Patho) Physiology Aim: To test integrative compound actions in various systems, e.g. immune cells, cardiomyocytes, cancer, pancreatic β-cells, sperm, neuronal networks and pathophysiological animal models.
The RTG Chembion aims to educate a new generation of scientists, who are experts in their particular field, but with a broad interdisciplinary perspective. The graduates are excellently prepared for interdisciplinary research at a university or research institute (academic career) and, moreover, for interdisciplinary work at a pharmaceutical company.
The most distinctive aspect of the training program is that the doctoral students will accomplish their PhD thesis under the joint guidance of two PIs – one from the Natural Sciences and one from the Medical Faculty. Each student has their home laboratory with one PI, but routine internships in the partner laboratory will deepen insight into the corresponding research field.
The Chembion training programme also comprises the promotion of international experiences, self-responsibility and independence, as well as development of important soft skills.
How can I apply?
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