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News Archive

BIOTEC Forum successfully realized


17/12/2009

From 14 December to 15 December 2009 the second BIOTEC Forum with this year?s subtitle ?Probing the Cell? took place at the MPI-CBG in Dresden. Organized by the BIOTEC group leaders Petra Schwille, Daniel Müller, Erik Schäffer and Ralf Seidel the conference provided high level talks from internationally well known speakers reporting on their latest results. The scope of the conference where newest technological methods to probe the function and structure of cells ranging from single nanometer-sized molecules towards whole organisms. This involved Imaging Technologies, in particular electron and optical super-resolution microscopy, Optical Probes, such as organic fluorophores, quantum dots and non-fluorescent gold nanoparticles, Force-based Probe Microscopy and new application of these techniques to Probe the Cell.

The audience of more than 200 attendees not only appreciated the outstanding scientific talks but also the discussions with the participating scientists during the poster session and the breaks between the talks.

In addition industrial participants presented newest biotechnological applications and products during short talks and the industry exhibition. We thank the participating companies for their generous financial support of the conference and their continous support of biotechnological research in Dresden.

Based on the success of the BIOTEC Forum series in 2007 and 2009, the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden is planning already the third BIOTEC-Forum for 2010 that shall bring again a scientific consortium of internationally outstanding speakers and guests to Dresden.


Student of the molecular bioengineering masters course awarded DAAD-Prize 2009


11/12/2009

On 11 December 2009 Maisie Gan will be awarded the DAAD Award 2009 for her excellent course achievements and her social engagement. The award is combined with a reward of 1.000 ? and will be handed over by the rector of the TU Dresden Prof. Hermann Kokenge during a celebratory event where the best alumni of the TU Dresden will be awarded. This ceremony takes place in the Lecture Hall of the SLUB.

Maisie Gan is Canadian and studied within the Masters Course Molecular Bioengineering from 2007-2009. She completed her degree as best alumni of the year. Her engagement as student representative of her age-group and her ambitions to improve the organization of the master courses of the BIOTEC lead to this award.


Höchstdotierter deutscher Forschungspreis für Biophysikerin Professor Petra Schwille von der TU Dresden


04/12/2009

Der Hauptausschuss der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) hat heute die Preisträger im Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Programm für das Jahr 2010 bestimmt.

Einer der insgesamt zehn Preise geht an Prof. Petra Schwille vom Biotechnologischen Zentrum (BIOTEC) der TU Dresden.

Der Preis ist mit 2,5 Millionen Euro dotiert und gilt als der Nobelpreis der deutschen Wissenschaft. Die für einen Zeitraum von sieben Jahren zur Verfügung gestellten Mittel kann die Preisträgerin nach eigenen Bedürfnissen flexibel einsetzen.

In einer ersten Reaktion äußerte sich der Rektor der TU Dresden, Prof. Hermann Kokenge, sehr erfreut: "Ich gratuliere Petra Schwille herzlich zu dieser Auszeichnung und freue mich sehr über diesen Erfolg. Das ist für uns auch der Beweis, dass an unserer Universität hervorragende Wissenschaftler lehren und forschen sowie eine Chance, andere Spitzenwissenschaftler für die TU Dresden zu begeistern." Prof. Michael Brand, Direktor des BIOTEC, sieht in dieser Auszeichnung eine Bestätigung der erfolgreichen Rekrutierungspolitik im Bereich Biotechnologie: "Diese Auszeichnung von Prof. Petra Schwille zeigt, dass wir es an der TU Dresden tatsächlich geschafft haben, die besten Köpfe nach Dresden zu holen und in der Person von Petra Schwille eine hervorragende Verstärkung für den Bereich Biophysik gewinnen konnten."

Petra Schwille hat mit ihren Arbeiten sowohl die Entwicklung als auch die Anwendung der Fluoreszenzspektroskopie zur Lösung von Fragen der Zellbiologie erheblich vorangetrieben. Bereits seit ihrer Promotion beschäftigt sich Schwille mit der Entwicklung ultrasensitiver fluoreszenzspektroskopischer Methoden, mit denen sich die Funktionen einzelner Proteinmoleküle charakterisieren lassen. Dabei konnte sie vor allem zur Entwicklung und Optimierung der sogenannten Fluoreszenzkorrelationsspektroskopie (FCS) beitragen, einer der elegantesten nichtinvasiven Methoden, um molekulare Vorgänge in biologischen Systemen zu erfassen. Durch die Kombination der FCS mit Zweiphotonanregungen gelangen Petra Schwille spektakuläre neue Einblicke in zelluläre Mechanismen. In neueren Arbeiten sucht sie die FCS-Methode auch in der Entwicklungsbiologie zu etablieren und konnte diese bereits in ersten lebenden Modellorganismen wie dem Zebrafisch und dem Fadenwurm anwenden. Auch zur Erforschung der Wechselwirkungen zwischen Proteinen und Lipiden setzt Petra Schwille die FCS-Methode ein und hat sich dadurch international einen Namen gemacht.

Petra Schwille wurde am 25. Januar 1968 in Sindelfingen geboren. Nach dem Abitur studierte sie an der Universität Göttingen Physik und Philosophie. Nach dem Studium arbeitete sie bei Nobelpreisträger Manfred Eigen in Göttingen und promovierte in Braunschweig, bevor sie als Postdoktorandin nach Göttingen und an die Cornell University ging. Wiederum am Göttinger Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie baute sie danach ihre eigene Nachwuchsgruppe auf, 2002 wurde sie als Lehrstuhlinhaberin für Biophysik an die Technische Universität Dresden berufen.

Seit Beginn dieser Professur bekam sie für ihre Forschungen 2003 den "Young Investigator Award for Biotechnology" der Peter- und Traudl-Engelhorn-Stiftung und 2004 den Philip Morris Forschungspreis. 2005 wurde sie zum Max-Planck-Fellow des MPI für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik ernannt. Am 9. November 2009 wurde Petra Schwille zum dritten Mal Mutter.


President of the Helmholtz-Gesellschaft visits CRTD and BIOTEC


28/11/2009

On 28 November, 2009, CRTD and BIOTEC have been visited by the president of the Helmholtz-Gesellschaft (HHG) Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek to get an impression of the scientific activities in the area of Molecular Bioengineerung and Regenerative Medicine of two of the leading research institutions of Dresden.
Prof. Mlynek was welcomed by director Michael Brand and Prof. Gerd Kempermann, who gave him a detailed introduction into the research program of the CRTD and the BIOTEC. After the presentation, the CRTD and BIOTEC representatives guided the president of the HHG through the labs and showed him the newly installed stem cell robot of the Kempermann group, symbolizing the strong effort and already high class of research in Dresden.
This was a very important visit regarding the prospective growth of research in Dresden, as the CRTD network is currently working on the setup of a center for neurodegenerative diseases as partner institute of the Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankung (DZNE), which is run by the HHG as concluded by the government of Germany in 2007. We do already have feedback that this visit left an excellent and persistent impression on Prof. Mlynek, which may even lead to a core center membership in the DZNE network instead of only a partner location.


DFG funds research on lipids in Heidelberg, Dresden, and Bonn


25/11/2009

A new collaborative research center / Transregio (SFB/TTR 83) will be established at the Universities of Heidelberg, Dresden, and Bonn with the topic ?Molecular Architecture and Cellular Functions of Lipid/Protein Assemblies?. After a successful evaluation, the German Research Foundation (DFG) approved funds in the amount of 8.66 million Euro. Speaker University is the University of Heidelberg. The SFB/Transregio will start in January 2010 and will be funded over four years. The goal in the long run is to research the functional and structural contribution of each species of membrane lipids. Between the different spaces of reaction in a cell, proteins and lipids are continuously exchanged through the biological membranes. It became evident that lipids control an unexpected number of functions, for example during membrane transport or signal transduction. Partner of the SFB/Transregio is amongst others the BIOTEC and the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden.


Nano factory wins silver medal for BIOTEC team in the international student competition iGEM


20/11/2009

A team of master students at the BIOTEC can be happy: their work for the student competition iGEM was awarded with the silver medal in November at the MIT in Boston. The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. The teams presented their projects at the iGEM Championship Jamboree October 30 to November 2, 2009 at the MIT in Boston, Massachusetts. The medals were given in three different cups. The cups were divided in different scientific areas. The BIOTEC team won the silver medal in the field manufacturing. This year, 112 teams with over 1700 participants from countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the US took part in the competition.
The BIOTEC team participated with the idea of a nano factory: The structuring of matter in the area of nano- and micrometers needs very precise tools that control how and when certain components are put together. Exactly for this purpose, the BIOTEC team designed a nano factory. The product is a modified protein. On this protein, a silver nano particle can crystallize. Traditionally, there is a whole world between bio and mechanical engineers. With this project, the students try to overcome this division by combining protein expression and directed metallization.
More information.


The membrane as an important player during programmed cell death


12/10/2009

Scientists from Dresden identified the mechanism of an important regulatory step for the cell death. With the help of fluorescence techniques and membrane model systems, they found that the inhibition of so called death proteins takes place mainly in the cell membrane of mitochondria. These results offer new perspectives for the development of drugs for cancer therapies. Every complex organism has an actively controlled program -- apoptosis -- in order to kill own cells. Uncontrolled growth of tissue can lead to malignant tumors and then to cancer. That's why, one goal of cancer research is to induce apoptosis in these abnormal cells. The members of the protein family Bcl-2 are key regulators of the programmed cell death and are in the focus of a study from scientists of the BIOTEC. Their results in the current issue of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology show that the membrane of the mitochondria (power house of the cells) strongly fosters the binding between two proteins of the Bcl-2 family. Moreover, the sensitivity towards blockers, which influence cell death, is also influenced in the membrane of mitochondria.


Get your doctoral cap before you finish school ? make your junior doctor!


30/09/2009

You don?t want to wait until university for a doctor?s degree? Here is your chance to get one before you even finish school! All you need to do is to visit at least seven stations from November 2009 to June 2010 in research institutions and companies. You will learn about interesting topics in natural sciences, medicine, society, and economy. The CRTD and the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden are offering three stations this year about microscopy with electrons, therapies for eye diseases, and a virtual travel in the world of proteins. At each station you get a stamp in your junior doctor pass and you have to answer a question about the issues you just learned.

How can you participate? You can register from September 28, 2009 here. The stations in the CRTD and the BIOTEC are offered to pupils in grade 3-7 and 8-12.


BIONANOMACHINES: PROTEINS AS RESISTANCE FIGHTERS


14/08/2009

Scientists of Dresden BIOTEC and MPI-CBG measure drag/friction of single molecules Friction limits the speed and efficiency of macroscopic engines. Is this also true for nanomachines? A Dresden research team used laser tweezers to measure the friction between a single motor protein molecule and its track. The team found that also within our cells, motors work against the resistance of friction and are restrained in its operation - usually by far not as much though as their macroscopic counterparts. These first experimental measurements of protein friction could help researchers to better understand key cellular processes such as cell division which is driven by such molecular machines. (Science, August 14, 2009) See German and English press release


Enlightened: Seeking the communication in living organisms with a new method


04/08/2009

Scientists at the CRTD and the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) have been able for the first time to quantitatively measure the binding affinities between two proteins ? receptor and ligand ? with a new microscopic method in a living zebrafish. This method opens up completely new perspectives to research the cell communication in living organisms, e.g. during the vertebrate development. So far, it was difficult to study the communication between molecules, because measurements outside the living organism cannot reflect the complexity of living cells and molecules. A solution offers a new study that describes quantitative measurements in living organisms and is presented in the current issue of Nature Methods. In the focus of the new method of biophysicist Prof. Petra Schwille and development geneticist Prof. Michael Brand is the binding between growth factor Fgf8 (Ligand) and the receptors Fgfr1 and Fgfr4 in the cell membrane that bind the Ligand. For the quantitative measurement in the living organism, different strengths from recently developed techniques of the fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) were combined in a modular setup. In this way, the scientists could measure how strong with which affinity the ligand binds to the different receptors. Press Release in German.


New funding period: Mobility within Europe with the Erasmus Mundus Program at the BIOTEC


21/07/2009

Getting to know several universities in Europe during the studies -- the Erasmus Mundus program of the European Union (EU) makes it possible for non-European students and supports them in addition with a scholarship. The Erasmus Mundus master-program was established at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) at the TU Dresden in 2005. Next to the BIOTEC, four other universities in Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands were in the program in the first period. This program will be funded for five more years. For the students there will be a few changes: so far, the students could spend each year of the two year master program at a partner university of their choice. Now, every student will study for the first year at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, in order to start with consistent conditions. The two universities in the Netherlands will not be part of the consortium in the new funding period. Instead, the French Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble will be new in the program. In place of the double degrees from two universities, a joint master degree is planned. At the BIOTEC, the Erasmus Mundus students will be integrated in the master 'Nanobiophysics' with focus on biophysics and nanoelectronics. Every year, 3 to 5 Erasmus Mundus students come to Dresden.

More information


Transregio-Collaborative Research Center 67 in Leipzig and Dresden - Two projects at the BIOTEC


01/07/2009

A joint research project of the Universität Leipzig and the Technische Universität Dresden will be funded from July 2009 on from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) as Transregio-Collaborative Research Center 67 for firstly four years. The funding for the project is about 10 million ?. The goal of the new Transregio is to research and develop functional biomaterials for the control of healing processes in bone - and skin tissue. With the project, basic research in material science and biochemistry shall be bridged with clinical applications. Speaker of the Transregio 67 it Prof. Dr. Jan-Christoph Simon from the clinic for dermatology, university hospital Leipzig, deputy is Prof. Dr. Hartmut Worch, institute for materials science at the Max Bergmann Center for Biomaterials at the Technische Universität Dresden.
Two subprojects of the new Transregio are located at the BIOTEC: Prof. Petra Schwille will quantitatively investigate the role of the extracellular matrix for the binding behavior of ligands (it is either an atom, ion, or molecule that binds to a central metal to produce a coordination complex) to their respective receptors. The underlying hypothesis is that the matrix slows down ligand diffusion directly at the cell membrane, acting as a sink to accumulate ligands. The project of Dr. Mayte Pisabarro will apply computer modelling and simulation techniques to characterize at atomic detail the structural requirements for binding of growth factors and cytokines (signaling molecules ) to GAGs (glycosaminoglycans). GAGs are common constituents of the extracellular matrix and of critical importance in intercellular communication. These studies will be the basis for the synthesis and rational modification of GAGs-derivatives and their immobilization in matrix scaffolds in biomaterials to promote bio-specific cell behavior.


Long Night of Science attracted more than 900 visitors


20/06/2009

During the 7th Dresden Long Night of Science on June 19, 2009, a diverse program with 16 different highlights was presented to visitors in the CRTD, the Biotechnology Center, and the BioInnovationCenter. More than 900 visitors came from 6pm to 1am to get a glimpse into labs and experience science in action. Among others, visitors could explore different light microscopes, stem cells of a mouse, regeneration in zebrafish, and nanomagnets. One company in the building (Transinsight) introduced their search engine for life sciences. The littlest visitors discovered zebrafish babies and the salamander Axolotl in a special kid's tour.


Looking for an adventure? Attend the 7th annual Dresden Long Night of Science!


21/04/2009

Get ready! On June 19, 2009 from 6pm to 1am, numerous research institutions will open their doors to visitors during the Long Night of Science. The CRTD and the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden will again offer interested guests the chance to learn about the latest discoveries in biotechnology and regenerative medicine on Tatzberg. In four talks and at eight stations, scientists will explain their work and provide insight into the everyday life of a researcher. For the littlest visitors, there will be a special kids tour presenting the 'water monster' Axolotl and the zebrafish. Using microscopes, kids can get a close-up view of science in action. The cafeteria will offer snacks and beverages. You can find all details in the full program (in German). The Long Night of Science in the CRTD is a stop on the "Forschungsexpedition Deutschland" in the year of science 2009. In this program, all citizens are invited to take their own expedition through the labs and think tanks of Germany. You can get a stamp for your passport at the CRTD.


Dresden Biotech-StartUp "nanometis" wins Science4Life Venture Cup 2009


10/03/2009

nanometis, a spin-off project of the BIOTEC, is a prize winner in the concept phase of the nationwide business plan competition "Science4Life Venture Cup 2009". nanometis is one of 10 winners and was able to stand up to 80 business ideas from all over Germany in the areas of Life Sciences, Biotechnology and Chemistry. The business idea of nanometis is to analyze the effectivity of drugs. Basis is a software solution, developed by nanometis, for an automated analysis of molecular interaction of membrane proteins that are located on the cell membrane and controls the communication of a cell. Via the membrane proteins, drugs can be introduced to the inner of the cell to fight diseases more effective. The software solution of nanometis works with data of a novel analysis method -- the atomic force spectroscopy. Single proteins can be researched with it and at the same time the reactions with medical agents can be tested. For the analysis of the huge amount of data that is produced by this method, nanometis has developed a powerful software platform that allows for an automated analysis of the data. nanometis will be founded in Dresden and gets important support by "dresden exists" and the research group for Bioinformatics at the BIOTEC.


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