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2 million euro for research alliance project

University of Hamburg gets BMBF funds to research molecular structures

The University of Hamburg is to receive around EUR 2 million in funds from the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) for a joint research project using the X-Ray radiation source PETRA III at the DESY research centre. Teams of researchers in the excellence cluster, the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI) at the University of Hamburg, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) will take part in the project called “Hadamard crystallography as a method for time-resolved investigations of the structural dynamics of biomolecules.” The project will be funded for three years.

Developing customized medication

Prof. Arwen Pearson, Director of the CUI project, said: “This is a great success for our research. The funding will allow us in Hamburg to play a leading role in researching time-resolved structural biology over the next years. Then we will finally understand how biomolecules change when they are active in the body. Research needs this knowledge to develop, for instance, customized medication.”

Film shows changing molecular structure

In Hadamard crystallography, a reaction is triggered in a biomolecule. Then this is examined with a sequence of X-ray pulses resulting in a crystallographic picture like a similarly-lit photograph. The experiment is repeated with other sequences of light pulses so that a different crystallographic picture emerges every time. A film showing how the structure changes in the molecule is gleaned from the deviations in the pictures and pulse sequences.

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