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23.07.15 13:30

Award | Claus Seidel

The European Union will support Prof. Dr. Claus Seidel with around 2.5 million euros in the next five years. The researcher of the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf (HHU) was awarded the highly prestigious Advanced Grant in 2014 of the European Research Council (ERC) in the Panel PE4 (Physical and Analytical Chemical Sciences). These Advanced Grants are awarded in a very strict selection process only to established, successful top researchers and are therefore considered a special scientific award.

Prof. Dr. Claus Seidel was successful with his project proposal "hybridFRET - deciphering Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics". The focus of his project lies in deciphering the structure and dynamics of biomolecules.

Proteins are key players in the processes of life, because they have many tasks and functions in living organisms. In order to understand and later influence biological processes in cells, molecular models for the spatial and temporal connections in the responsible proteins are needed. In his research project Prof. Seidel will pursue a novel integrative hybrid approach. The achieved major advances in fluorescence-based spectroscopy and imaging in the recent years, as well as in computational modeling of complex biological systems are to be merged.

For this is a novel platform has to be developed in order to characterize the structure and dynamics of proteins with an ultimate spatial (smaller than a nanometer, a billionth of a meter) and time resolution (shorter than one picosecond, a trillionth of a second) and to simulate. For this purpose it is necessary to integrate certain molecules, which luminesce after being excited, (called fluorophores) at selected positions in the protein and from the measured properties of their fluorescence signal, the structure and dynamics of the labeled protein can be deduced. A key technology is the distance dependent Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between two different fluorophores: here, distances in the order of nanometers can be measured. The developed hybrid technology will be applied to proteins with medical relevance, so the various challenges in biophysics, biochemistry and cell biology will be addressed in an integrative approach.

The project is funded for a period of five years with a total of around 2.5 million euros each from the European Research Council. The research is expected to begin later this year.

ERC Advanced Grant

The European Research Council is the funding agency for leading fundamental research of the European Union. It encourages researchers from the EU to submit their proposals for new research projects on a competitive basis. In various funding schemes both young researchers and established researchers are addressed.

Target group of the ERC Advanced Grants are established, active researchers with an outstanding academic performance. For the assessment of the scientific performance the last ten years before the application are decisive. In the ratings publications in international journals, patents, conference proceedings, research awards and Academy memberships are considered. ERC Advanced Grants are usually encouraged with a maximum of 2.5 million euros for a maximum five-year duration. Project proposals will be evaluated in a multistage peer review process by independent experts solely on the basis of academic excellence.

The special award to receive an ERC Advanced Grant, is also documented by the success rate: They fell at the current bid by approximately 4% to less than 8%.

Responsible for the content: E-MailProf. Dr. Claus Seidel