In publica commoda

Press release: Illuminating biomolecules

Nr. 141/2016 - 01.07.2016

Göttingen chemist receives Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council

(pug) Professor Claudia Höbartner of the Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry at Göttingen University has received a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Starting in July 2016 and for a period of five years, the ERC will be funding her project “Illuminating aptamers and ribozymes for biomolecular tagging and fluorogen activation (illumizymes)” to the tune of around two million euros. During the project, Professor Höbartner and her team plan to investigate how certain marker molecules can be illuminated to make them visible, for example, inside of cells using ultra-high resolution methods, such as stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy developed by Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Stefan Hell.

One of Professor Höbartner’s main areas of research focuses on the synthesis of new probes for fluorescence spectroscopy as well as new methods for coupling detector molecules to proteins and nucleic acids. Synthetic RNA and DNA molecules with new functional properties play an important role in this process, in that they catalyse chemical reactions and activate the fluorescence of latent chromophores. She is also interested in the structure and the chemical mechanism of these molecular tools, given that they play an important role in biochemistry and medicine applications.

Claudia Höbartner, born in 1977, has held the Chair in “Biomolecular Label Chemistry,” which was established to bolster the Cluster of Excellence “Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain” (CNMPB), since October 2014. She is also intensifying the Faculty of Chemistry’s research focus on functional biomolecular chemistry. Prior to her appointment, the native Austrian worked, amongst others, at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, where she headed a group of junior researches. Her accomplishments have been distinguished with several scholarships and prizes, including the Hellmut Bredereck Foundation Award and the European Young Chemist Award.

The European Union’s objective with its ERC Consolidator Grants is to help excellent principal investigators continue their scientific careers. The grant monies are meant to enable them to further consolidate their own research team and pursue innovative ideas.

Contact address:
Professor Claudia Höbartner, DSc
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Tammannstrasse 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone +49 (0)551 39-20906