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Hamburg to become leading centre of infection research

Interdisciplinary Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) opens on DESY campus

The Centre for Structural Systems Biology celebated its grand opening Thursday (June 29, 2017) on Hamburg’s DESY Campus, according to a press release. The new interdisciplinary research centre brings scientists from ten different research institutions together to work on the functioning of viruses, bacteria and parasites. “The grand opening of CSSB is a milestone for interdisciplinary infection and resistance research. Here the scientists have access to European-wide, unique light and X-ray sources and therefore the chance to combine structural, infection and systems biology. Thus creating in Hamburg a novel research focus that places the complex processes and interactions between pathogens and their hosts in the limelight,” said Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg.

Hamburg as a centre of science

Katharina Fegebank, Senator for Science, Research and Equality, said: “The new CSSB building is an important step towards making the campus a top centre of structural research with international attraction and gives the entire city of Hamburg and the Metropolitan Region a boost.” The building’s basement was especially designed for the installation of five electron cryo-microscopes, which will enable CSSB scientists to visualize pathogens at various scales of resolution and complexity: zooming in to locate single atoms within a molecule, and likewise panning out to observe the dynamics of host-pathogen interactions happening in real time.

Interdisciplinary research

The new CSSB building, specifically designed to enhance collaboration, innovation and mentoring opportunities for young researchers, will provide scientists with state-of-the-art, in-house technology as well as direct access to DESY’s world renowned X-ray light sources like the synchrotron storage ring PETRA III, and the nearby free-electron laser, European XFEL. The four-storey building with its combination of laboratory and office space will be home to approximately 180 scientists and staff. The building was financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (EUR 36.5 million), the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (EUR 8.5 million), the Federal State of Lower Saxony (EUR 5 million) and the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein (EUR 2 million).

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