Research Training Group RTG 1331

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Our Research Training Group (RTG) is based on a collaboration between the University of Konstanz (UKN) and the research-driven pharmaceutical companies Nycomed and Boehringer-Ingelheim. In addition, several excellent Swiss partners are participating.

The overall aim is to provide students, by hands-on-research, courses, and seminars, with an understanding of the principal roadmap to biomedical progress:

Disease symptoms -> reduction of symptoms to low-complexity (cellular) systems -> molecular understanding of disease mechanism -> correlating back to disease symptoms -> validation and adaptation of the model(s) -> intervention strategies/correction.

The research program forges a link between basic molecular cell biology and the application and validation of model systems in biomedical research. A proven track-record in this translational approach is not only given by the partners from industry, but also by 5 professors with a strong focus on cellular test systems in pharmacology-toxicology, and is further strengthened through a collaborative center on this topic (CAAT) together with Johns-Hopkins-University in Baltimore. The core academic groups with expertise in cell biology are also members of the new Graduate School Chemical Biology (KoRS-CB) supported by the German Exzellenzinitiative. The combined experience at the interface between basic and applied pharmaceutical research generates the genuine profile of the graduate training program.


Research projects are centered around three interconnected topics:

A Compound – cell interactions: What is the molecular and cellular basis of the interaction between exogenous substances (e.g. a toxic molecule or a microbial product) or endogenous messenger molecules?

B Cellular response and communication: How do cells respond to these substances (Phenotypic responses of the receiving cells due to cellular signal transduction and/or communication with other cells in the body)?

C Mechanisms and intervention: What are the key regulatory components and switches that determine the cellular response – and how can these be influenced to prevent or ameliorate disease symptoms?

Due to the intensive interactions across the boundaries of disciplines, the students are trained to elucidate complex disease mechanisms, and to become the future specialists for translation of basic research findings into biomedical applications or for validation of such approaches.