Innovation through Collaboration

Chemists and biologists are increasingly confronted with questions that require interdisciplinary expertise to answer. In fact, the foremost questions of basic and applied research can only be tackled and resolved through close collaboration among professionals with different but overlapping scientific backgrounds.

Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology (KoRS-CB) aims to prepare the next generation of chemical biologists to tackle one of the great challenges of the future: explaining the processes of life in chemical terms. We have created an academic environment that fosters interdisciplinary education and research, thereby dissolving the traditional boundaries between research disciplines. This is the aim, too, of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "Chemical and Biological Principles of Cellular Proteostasis" which is closely related to our graduate school.

Training Tomorrow's Scientific Leaders

The main objective of the interdisciplinary Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology is to establish and support research and training programs that transcend traditional disciplines. We aim to provide and develop novel approaches that increase understanding of biological processes and their interconnections at the molecular level. The research program is based on successful collaborations within and between the fields of Synthetic Chemistry, Cellular Biochemistry, Biophysics, Biomedicine, and Computational Life Science.

Why have we adopted this approach? Ever since the human genome was sequenced, untangling the intricate network of molecular interactions that govern physiological processes has become a major focus of investigation in both basic and applied research. A potential key to understanding the mechanisms that determine and control biological processes is the comprehensive characterisation of individual proteins and their interaction with small and macromolecular ligands.

To accomplish this fascinating and challenging task, the traditional separation of science into different disciplines is no longer justified. The respective capabilities of different research areas have merged into synergistic interdisciplinary approaches. Indeed, there is an increasing demand in academia and in industry for scientists who are trained at the interface of chemistry and biology.

A Tradition of Excellence

Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology was founded in fall 2007 within the framework of the German Excellence Initiative. We were awarded continued recognition and financial support in the second phase of the Excellence Initiative as well. Currently, about 100 doctoral researchers are enrolled, and more than 50 young scientists have received doctoral degrees.

The doctoral training programme builds on the interdisciplinary Bachelor/Master study course Life Sciences at the University of Konstanz, that was established in 2001.

Video: The Chemistry of Life

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This video was produced for the DFG Video portal on the excellence intiative

"Interdisciplinarity starts with support"

Excerpt from interview with Dr. Heike Brandstädter, General Manager of the Graduate School:

What exactly are PhD students offered?

Each PhD student has not just one supervisor, but a committee of three professors from at least two fields. Each PhD student is offered courses that his/her background has thus far failed to give him/her - biology for the chemical scientists, chemistry for the biologists. We also offer courses in rhetoric and presenting as well as courses leading to management qualifications.

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