Institute of Molecular Biology starts international PhD program on "Dynamics of Gene Regulation, Epigenetics and DNA Damage Response"

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation funds a new program for 30 outstanding doctoral students from all over the world

21.12.2011

The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) establishes a new international PhD program in the Life Sciences with the support of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. The program will allow innovative research at the highest international level. It is coordinated by the Institute of Molecular Biology and includes additional groups at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the University Medical Center Mainz, and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. In addition to the education of talented young scientists, this initiative improves the integration of institutions in Mainz already conducting research within the field of molecular biology. "The new initiative will help to create synergies between the participating groups. The program will also increase the visibility and international attractiveness of life science research here in Mainz," says Professor Dr. Georg Krausch, President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).

One of the program's key features is the education of doctoral students. "We not only want to attract the best international talents to Mainz, but we also want to offer them opportunities that cannot be found in most other institutions," states Professor Dr. Christof Niehrs, Founding Director of IMB. "We offer our young scientists opportunities to address cutting-edge scientific questions and to work with first-class resources while receiving advanced training." The training program comprises a broad range of lectures and practical courses, and is tailored to the specific needs of PhD students. Besides training in up-to-date methods and knowledge, students will be trained in soft-skills such as project management, communication skills, and grant writing to prepare them for a successful career once they have finished their doctoral thesis.

The organizers of the program hope this concept will lead to exciting research results and, when combined with very high educational standards, will create the next generation of leading scientists. "This program will set new standards in modern molecular research. Our most sincere thanks go to the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. Their further commitment to the Institute of Molecular Biology allows us to attract young and talented scientists to Mainz and also guarantees that our students receive the best possible education," says Götz Scholz, Chancellor of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Managing Director of IMB.

Research within the program focuses on three cutting-edge areas: dynamics of gene regulation, epigenetics, and DNA damage response. These emerging fields of modern biomedical research are of great significance for basic biological processes and are also linked to diseases such as cancer. For example, the dynamics of gene regulation and epigenetics play an essential role during embryonic development, the adaption of organisms to its environment as well as during ageing, and are of high importance in many diseases. Moreover, the program offers research projects on stem cell biology, which forms the basis for regenerative medicine. The third research focus centers on DNA damage response. DNA repair is a key mechanism that protects cells from damage and keeps us healthy. Defects in the DNA repair machinery cause a number of diseases, including cancer.

 

About the Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

The Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB) is a center of excellence in the life sciences that was established in 2011 on the campus of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). Research at IMB concentrates on three cutting-edge areas: epigenetics, developmental biology, and genome stability. The institute is a prime example of a successful collaboration between public authorities and a private foundation. The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has dedicated EUR 100 million for a period of ten years to cover the operating costs for research at IMB, while the state of Rhineland-Palatinate provided approximately EUR 50 million for the construction of a state-of-the-art building.

About the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931-1991), a member of the shareholder family of the company Boehringer Ingelheim. With the PLUS 3 Perspectives Program and the Exploration Grants, the foundation supports independent group leaders. It also endows the internationally renowned Heinrich Wieland Prize as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists. In addition, the foundation pledged to donate EUR 100 million to finance the scientific running of the IMB at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz for ten years. In 2013, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation donated a further EUR 50 million to Mainz University.