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Institut für Biophysik Institut für Biophysik

Nano-Analytics of Cellular Systems

From molecular dynamics, recognition and organization to membrane transport and motility

A highly interdisciplinary graduate college funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), titled Nano-Analytics of Cellular Systems (NanoCell), has the major goal to train next generation multidisciplinary graduates for frontier research in life- and cellular nano-science. Its scientific aim is to span the gap between the process of molecular recognition and structural rearrangements on the one side, and membrane transport and cell motility on the other. 

The educational and research program integrates a broad basis of scientific and technological fields related to biophysics, cell biology, nanotechnology, applied physics, theoretical physics, bioorganic and inorganic chemistry, structural and molecular biology, mathematic modelling, and scientifc computing. Participating institutions are: Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU), Institute of Science and Technology (IST), and Vienna University of Technology (TUW). Selected PhD students will be employed for at least 3 years with a contract that includes social benefits. They will be encouraged to spend one semester abroad joining other collaborating laboratories. All selection procedures, training activities, and communication will be in English. 

 

The students will enter the programm with diverse academic background, as their specific Master's degree is earned in various disciplines of natural science and engineering. In order to complement this specific background, core lectures, lecture courses, and practical courses are offered in the following topical fields: (i) MOLECULAR & CELL BIOLOGY, (ii) IMAGING & SPECTROSCOPY, and (iii) STRUCTURAL & FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS AND MODELING. 

The following table gives a survey on the total minimum credit points to be achieved by the students during their PhD thesis in the different categories.

Core lecture courses 6 ECTS
Lecture courses 3 ECTS
Practical courses 6 ECTS
Laboratory rotations 4 ECTS
Journal Club 3 ECTS
Work in progress seminar 3 ECTS
Soft skills 4 ECTS
Conferences and retreat 3 ECTS
TOTAL 32 ECTS

Core lecture courses, lecture courses, laboratory courses are tailored for each student individually, dependent on the student's education, experience, and topics of the thesis. Below possible constellations for a biologist and a physicist are given. 

     
BIOLOGIST    
Core Lecture Lecture Course Laboratory Course
Biophysics Membrane channels and transporters Patch Clamp
Biological interaction analysis   Practical course in structural biology
PHYSICIST    
Core Lecture Lecture Course Laboratory Course
Molecular biology of the cell Optical microscopy on biomolecules LRET microscopy
Biological interaction analysis   Quantitative methods of measuring cell adhesion

Monthly Meeting

Monthly meetings are alternating organized by the PIs and held 4 times per semester, 3 of them in Linz and 1 in Vienna. They consist of a journal club, where the students discuss recent scientific articles selected by a panel lead by the student of the organizing PI. Articles are chosen in fields of potential interests to all students  of the doctorate college and attendance is mandatory. The student of the organizing PI chair the discussion. Journal clubs are held in the morning followed by a social lunch meeting to enhance team formation and communication. Thereafter an external speaker invited by the student of the organizing PI presents a lecture. In the succeeding work in progress seminar 3-4 students present their research and critically discuss it with their colleagues and the PIs. Each student is challenged one time per semester for the progress report.

Annual Conferences

The guideline of the program includes participation in the annual "Linz Winter Workshop" at the first February weekend and an annual Summer School (2 credit points per year), the latter of which is held in a lake resort 1 driving hour from Linz mid of June.