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New chemical biology centre opened in Konstanz

With the recent opening of the “Centre for Chemical Biology”, the University of Konstanz now has another interdisciplinary research centre on its campus. The modern building houses scientists from different life sciences areas and brings the departments of chemistry and biology closer together, thus facilitating collaboration across disciplines. The building will provide a new home for five life sciences professorships and two core facilities, an infrastructure that will also be available for the use of external clients.

Located in the northern part of the campus, the new building is on the edge of the forest surrounding the university campus. © Otlinghaus Bodmann/Ludwigshafen

The chemistry and biology departments at the University of Konstanz have already been working together for more than ten years. The Life Sciences programme offered since 2002 brings together content and issues dealt with in biology and chemistry, thus constituting the basis for the university’s special expertise in the modern field of biomolecular research. The Chemical Biology Graduate School, which has been funded under the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments since 2007, expands the university’s education and teaching activities by offering interdisciplinary education to doctoral students from the two departments. 

The university’s chemical biology research activities, which have become one of the university’s four priority research areas, are now housed in the new “Centre for Chemical Biology” building in the northern part of the university campus. The building is home to five life sciences professorships and it is expected that their spatial proximity will facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation to an even greater extent than in the past. “The building brings together core facilities and top-level researchers from the Chemical Biology Graduate School and the Chemical and Biological Principles of Cellular Proteostasis cooperative research centre under one roof,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger, rector of the University of Konstanz. “The new building is a prime example of the successful development of our chemical biology research priority,” Rüdiger continued.

The first research groups have already moved in

The new building houses spacious laboratories alongside office space for researchers. © BioLAGO

With around 2,700 square metres of workspace on four floors, the building houses spacious laboratories and has an open-plan layout. Individual work posts are separated by transparent glass panels, and the lakeside sections of the rooms offer a beautiful view over Lake Constance. The modular system of walls and furniture enables the laboratories to be adapted according to user requirements.

“I really enjoyed being able to design and arrange my future workplace,” says Prof. Dr. Christof R. Hauck, professor of cell biology, who was involved in designing the building’s laboratories and offices. Hauck’s research group was one of the first to move into the building in summer 2013. “We were able to equip the laboratories according to our needs and ideas, which made it relatively easy to move our laboratory equipment from our previous workplaces to the new site,” Hauck said. “Prof. Hauck was instrumental in planning the layout of the building. He knows the requirements of modern laboratory work from personal experience,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger. 

In addition to Hauck’s department, the Department of Molecular Toxicology headed up by Prof. Dr. Alexander Bürkle has already moved into the new building. Hauck’s and Bürkle’s former laboratories were located in a relatively old laboratory building some distance from the university campus.

The bridge to the main university building with its particular design and illumination looks like a pulsating umbilical cord. © University of Konstanz

The groups of Prof. Dr. Andreas Marx, professor of cellular chemistry, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Mayer, professor of molecular genetics, will also move into the new building shortly. Prof. Dr. Elke Deuerling, professor of molecular microbiology and spokesperson of the Chemical and Biological Principles of Cellular Proteostasis cooperative research centre, is quite relaxed about moving into the new building. “Our relocation into the new building has been thoroughly planned over a period of around two years or so and any problems have been solved effectively. Everything has been taken care of, which makes the move between buildings really easy.” The advantages of the new building are obvious. “We are not only housed in a modern building, but also have access to new devices and other state-of-the-art equipment, which of course brings new opportunities for our research. The only thing left now is for us to bring the building to life.”

Infrastructure platforms for strengthening the campus

In addition to the five research groups, the new building is also home to two core facilities – the Proteomics Facility and the Screening Centre. These two core facilities were relocated to the new building in May 2013 and were available for researchers before construction of the building was completed. The core facilities provide all research groups at the University of Konstanz with access to sophisticated and expensive devices for mass spectrometric and automated sample analyses. In addition to the devices, core facility users also have recourse to people with expert technological knowledge to assist in the development of suitable applications for specific research questions. The Proteomics Facility also offers mass spectrometry services to external clients who are seeking to have proteins and low-molecular compounds analysed.

Further information:
University of Konstanz
Communication and Marketing
Tel.: +49 (0)7531 / 88-3603
E-mail: kum(at)uni-konstanz.de

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/new-chemical-biology-centre-opened-in-konstanz