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    EUR 5.4 million for new Research Training Group


    The use of antibiotics also leads to multidrug-resistant bacteria. A new Research Training Group at the University of Würzburg will provide 14 doctoral training positions to develop alternatives to antibiotic treatment.

    Am neuen Graduiertenkolleg an der Uni Würzburg sollen Alternativen zur herkömmlichen Antibiotika-Behandlung erforscht werden.
    At the new Research Training Group at the University of Würzburg, alternatives to conventional antibiotic treatment are to be researched. (Image: Pixabay)

    Our world is full of bacteria. And this is not so bad after all since most of them are completely harmless to humans. Infections caused by harmful bacteria are treated with antibiotics if necessary. But due to the overuse of these antimicrobial drugs, some bacteria have become resistant to multiple antibiotics and no longer respond to this kind of treatment. This poses a major threat especially for elderly patients or people with a weakened immune system in hospitals.

    To tackle the rise of antimicrobial resistance, the University of Würzburg will establish a new Research Training Group to explore alternative ways and therapies that could replace conventional antibiotic treatment. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with a total amount of EUR 5.4 million for four and a half years. The project will be kicked off on 1 April 2020.

    Research on mechanisms is scarce

    The new Research Training Group at the University of Würzburg is titled "Metabolism, topology and compartmentation of membrane-associated lipid and signalling components in infection". Its goal is to identify targets for novel anti-infective or immunotherapeutic strategies by focusing on the sphingolipid metabolism.

    Sphingolipids are components of cell membranes that play an important role in infections and immunity. "We have found that the metabolism of sphingolipids changes fundamentally during infection. But we still understand little about the underlying mechanisms," says Professor Jürgen Seibel, the spokesman of the new Research Training Group.

    14 interdisciplinary doctoral training positions

    14 young scientists will research and qualify in doctoral degree programmes of the Research Training Group. The interdisciplinary focus plays a central role here: The scientific fields of microbiology, infection biology, immunology, biological chemistry, high-resolution spectroscopy and analytics will all be represented.

    Unlike traditional doctoral programmes where doctoral students are supervised by one professor, a Research Training Group provides the opportunity to work within the framework of a coordinated training programme supported by several lecturers. This is complemented by special courses, such as seminars, colloquia or workshops.

    "Research Training Groups pursue a structured training strategy for the qualification of doctoral researchers. By providing doctoral students with an environment for early interdisciplinary and international networking, they not only encourage early scientific independence but also promote skills that are decisive for their professional careers in science or industry later on," says University President Professor Alfred Forchel.


    Prof. Dr. Jürgen Seibel,  Institute of Organic Chemistry, University of Würzburg, T +49 (931) 31 85326, seibel@chemie.uni-wuerzburg.de