Press release: Interdisciplinary PhDs in biological physics
No. 52 - 09.05.2022
DFG to fund new Research Training Group at Göttingen University with around 6.8 million euros
The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund a new Research Training Group (RTG) in biological physics at the University of Göttingen. A total of 25 PhD students, one postdoc and one data scientist will receive financial support for tailored training in an interdisciplinary area in physics. The RTG is an initiative of the Faculty of Physics, the Faculty of Chemistry and the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Göttingen, with the participation of the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen. The DFG will initially fund the RTG for five years starting in January 2023 with around 6.8 million euros.
Living organisms consist of different types of cells, such as muscle, skin or immune cells. The cells owe their very different – and perfectly adapted – mechanical properties to the cytoskeleton: a complex network of fibrous proteins that is extremely adaptable, even though it consists of just a few different components. Thus, the cytoskeleton gives muscle cells the ability to contract, skin cells their stability and allows immune cells to migrate to the site of infection.
"Modern biological physics is a very interdisciplinary field of science. We aim at introducing early career researchers to this way of thinking right from the beginning of their PhD," explains Professor Sarah Köster from the Institute for X-Ray Physics at Göttingen University, who is the designated spokesperson for the RTG. Project leaders from physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology will jointly supervise these exciting and challenging research projects.
All PhD researchers will work together on a distinct topic, but from different perspectives in terms of scientific discipline and methods. "It is important to us that by the end of their PhD studies, the early career researchers will have learned to communicate with colleagues from other fields, to solve questions outside narrow disciplinary boundaries and to bring together different scales – from nanometer to micrometer – to answer their research questions," says Köster. "In this way, we hope for exceptional and surprising progress in all of these targeted research questions."
These PhD students will be trained in a contemporary and currently rapidly growing field of physics, and most importantly, they will master creative and goal-oriented problem-solving. The RTG promotes the international exchange of students through conferences, an extensive visitor programme and extended stays in collaborating research groups. The RTG is integrated into the University's graduate school GAUSS (Georg-August University School of Science).
Professor Sarah Köster
University of Göttingen
Faculty of Physics
Institute for X-Ray Physics
Friedrich Hund Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen
Tel: +49 (0)551 39-29429