03.03.2017

HZB and Freie Universität Berlin are establishing the joint research group “Macromolecular Crystallography”

The teams of Freie Universität Berlin and Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin are engaged in the of training young scientists. The participants produce samples and examine at the MX beamlines of BESSY II.

For eight years, HZB’s “Macromolecular Crystallography” workgroup has been successfully cooperating with the “Structural Biochemistry” research group headed by Prof. Markus Wahl at the Freie Universität Berlin. They are about to intensify this cooperation. The two institutes are establishing a joint research group dedicated to studying the biochemistry of genetic information processing. This research group benefits in particular from access to the three MX beamlines, where it can study protein crystals using the synchrotron light from BESSY II.

“We are thrilled at how this cooperation agreement gives our workgroup a strong scientific connection, which will be fruitful for everyone involved,” Dr. Manfred Weiss, head of the HZB group “Macromolecular Crystallography” said at the inauguration of the research group on 22 February 2017.

While the HZB is primarily working on enhancing the instrumentation and methodological aspects of macromolecular crystallography, the group of the Freie Universität Berlin is introducing its expertise in the field of structure–function relationships in gene regulation. “We will benefit especially from the HZB group’s expertise in crystallographic methods of drug discovery,” Prof. Dr. Markus Wahl is convinced.

The teams of Freie Universität Berlin and Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin have been cooperating highly successfully for a long time already and, among other things, are actively engaged in the of training young scientists. Together with the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, they offer a methodological course for students, where the participants can produce samples and examine them at the MX beamlines of BESSY II. This practical education for budding biochemists is unique in Germany. The graduates become sought-after experts in a branch of research and economics that is very important in the Capital Region.

A significant contribution to this development came from the Joint MX-Laboratory, which has combined the expertise of five partners since 2010: researchers of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, the Max Delbrück Center and the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie enjoy easy access to the crystallography experimental stations at BESSY II and carry out joint research projects. “The Joint MX-Lab is a great success story for all partners involved and should be continued,” says Manfred Weiss.

(sz)