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GGNB Research Focus

Neurosciences - Biophysics - Molecular Biosciences

Science without boundaries: Interdisciplinary cooperation on the Göttingen Research Campus

Neurosciences, biophysics, and molecular biosciences are traditionally strong in Göttingen. These fields are rooted in the principles of mathematics, physics, and chemistry and require interdisciplinary approaches. Based on well-developed research collaboration on the Göttingen Research Campus, the graduate education is jointly organized across institutional borders by the University of Göttingen, three Max Planck Institutes and other research institutions.

Neurosciences. In Göttingen Neurosciences have a long tradition of excellence and the Göttingen Research Campus comprises one of the largest neuroscience faculties in Germany. Research at all levels of complexity is represented, ranging from structural biology, molecular neurosciences, genetics and electrophysiology, to behavioral, computational and theoretical neurosciences. Research topics include investigation of SNARE-mediated fusion mechanisms in synaptic transmission using super-resolution STED microscopy or the molecular and cell biology of myelin or sensory signal processing. Studies on molecular mechanisms underlying neurological and psychiatric diseases form the basis of an integrated research portfolio spanning from molecules and methods development to clinical models including transgenic mice as disease models.

Biophysics and physics of complex systems have contributed to important scientific discoveries including the microsecond recognition dynamics of ubiquitin characterized by a combined NMR and atomistic simulation approach or high-resolution optical microscopy enabling direct observation of nanoscale dynamics of membrane lipids in a living cell. The invention of superresolution microscopy in Göttingen constitutes a breakthrough for the field of light microscopy. The Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen funded by the BMBF unites computational and theoretical neuroscientists. The theoretical neuroscience community, in close collaboration with engineers and local companies, also established the Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology bridging theoretical aspects and practical applications for neuronally controlled technical devices.

Molecular biosciences focus on developmental biology, microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology and modern structural approaches such as X-ray crystallography and NMR, cryo-electron microscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, and cutting-edge mass spectrometry. Supramolecular complexes such as spliceosome, ribosome, nuclear pore complex, and the mitochondrial protein machinery are studied. Other areas of molecular research include transcriptional and translational control and the conformational dynamics membrane fusion catalyzed by SNARE proteins or the elucidation of the tRNA movement during ribosomal translation, the structure of neuronal SNARE proteins and complexes regulating light-induced differentiation and metabolism in fungi. The groups oriented towards molecular biology in Göttingen are united under the roof of the Göttingen Center for Molecular Biosciences (GZMB).