America! Tropyl radicals, sports and campus life.

When I was first thinking about where to go for the GSS internship, I considered whether I should join a group that was using helium nanodroplet infrared spectroscopy, the same technique that we use in Bochum to study aggregates of small organic molecules with water. The alternative would have been to get an insight into a different experimental technique. Finally, I decided to increase my expertise in the setup I already knew, and I opted for a stay at the University of Georgia (UGA), Athens, Georgia, USA; in the group of Gary Douberly, from April to June 2015.

During the preparation period, Gary proposed a project: solvating the tropyl radical in helium droplets and measuring the infrared spectrum of the CH stretch modes. He also told me about the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy (ISMS), which would have took place in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois at the end of June. Since he would go there with his entire group, he suggested that I should join them to participate and present my data there. What a great opportunity! So the place and the timing for my stay abroad was fixed, yet, I didn’t know what to expect. I was full of excitement.

Sun, bikes, and a bro

I arrived in Athens at the end of March in beautiful warm weather – spring was already underway. The weather stayed pleasant for the whole time and I never needed warm clothing. It also meant that I could easily explore the area by bike. There are several parks like the State Botanical Garden that were worth visiting.

The view on a part of the Atlanta skyline from the Piedmont Park.

I already knew one of Gary’s graduate students – Chris – whom I had met a year before at the Gordon Research Conference on Atomic and Molecular Interactions at Stonehill College near Boston. When he heard that I was looking for a place to stay, he offered me his apartment, as he had a spare room and no room mate at that time. I immediately agreed, for I knew he was a bro.

Downtown music and university sports

Athens is a college town, with a population of about 100,000. It is located in a beautiful countryside about the Oconee River. The downtown area is dominated by bars with frequent live music events. The music scene is active around there, with some popular bands like R.E.M. and B-52. Many festivals take place, like the ‘Twilight Series’, an annually occurring series of bicycle races through downtown.

A live band playing in downtown Athens.

The UGA, funded in 1785, is the oldest public university in the US and ranks high in academics and research. From Chris’ apartment I could either take the bus that is circuiting campus or ride the bike to the campus.

In most of the colleges athletics is a big deal, and teams of different universities compete regularly. The Georgia Bulldogs – this is how the athletics teams at UGA are called – are successful overall. Especially their football team receives a lot of attention. Unfortunately, since the football season takes place in fall, I could only watch a practice game once. The UGA has a center for recreational sports, the Ramsey Student Center. It is a huge building with two gyms, two swimming pools, an indoor track, training halls for many sports and a number of multi-purpose halls, even walls for climbing. The Ramsey membership for 3 months was only 40$ for students, and I was able to use all of the facilities.

Time to measure cold radicals        

Gary’s research group consisted of one postdoc and four graduate students at that time. They were using a helium droplet machine that had been running well for years already. But they were also setting up a new machine, that is able to produce large helium droplets, opening possibilities for a lot of new experiments. While the assembly was already moving towards completion, a lot of things still needed to be taken care of. Essentially only three persons including me were working with the running setup measuring radicals, a circumstance that gave me a lot of opportunities to perform experiments.

While their experimental setup is almost identical to the one I use at RUB, Gary’s lab focuses on small organic radicals, their reactions and complexes with other molecules. In Bochum on the other hand, we mainly conduct measurements on complexes of small organic molecules with a few water molecules, focusing on the microscale solvation processes.

In the first weeks we measured the hydroxy radical and some of its bimolecular complexes. Upon incorporating a brand new, homebuilt permanent magnet, we could observe the Zeeman splitting of the radical. In the process I got to know the helium cluster machine and the specifics of their setup. Finally, the bitropyl that I needed as a precursor for producing the tropyl radical, was delivered. By that time I was able to operate the machine and conduct the measurements on my own.

Science Zone

Helium droplets are used as a matrix for isolating and stabilizing small organic radicals, that are then probed by an infrared laser. Upon exciting a ro-vibrational transition the absorbed photon energy is quickly transferred to the helium, leading to evaporation of helium atoms and a decrease in the size of the droplets. This change is recorded as a depletion spectrum in a mass spectrometer.

The roller derby   

Gary’s group met up in the evenings several times during my stay, hanging out at bars in downtown, relaxing and drinking.

The Turner Field baseball stadium in Atlanta during the game.

Once, we went to Atlanta to watch a baseball game, where the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds. Another time, we went to watch a football practice game of the Dawgs. Also, Chris introduced me to some of his friends and we met a couple of times, brewing beer, playing frisbee, having barbecue, playing the Settlers of Catan board game or hanging out downtown after work and on weekends.

I even got to know a sport I hadn’t been aware of before: the roller derby. It is a game where two teams of girls on roller skates go around a track and one member of each team – the jammer – tries to overtake members of the opposing team and the rest of the team tries to hinder the enemy jammer. It is a dynamic game and surprisingly fun to watch.

The ISMS conference and a trip into the mountains

Finally, end of June came, it was time to attend the ISMS conference at Urbana-Champaign. Together with some colleagues of Gary’s lab we rented a university car and hit the road going north, direction Chicago. It was a 10h road trip to the conference site. . Nevertheless, the long drive was worth it, since the meeting had many interesting talks.

Several sessions on different topics took place simultaneously all the time, with mostly short talks on specific topics. There was a separate room, where you could get coffee and donuts all day – a habit that can become really unhealthy! However, there was a bowl of fruit, too, which got empty more frequently towards the end of the conference.

Snapshot during a roller derby game at The Classic Center in Athens.

I spent the last weekend of my stay in the mountain area where North Carolina borders Georgia and Tennessee, enjoying the countryside, relaxing and racing a quad bike on mountain trails. And suddenly, I was on my flight back to Germany! Looking back, the three months were over in a blink. I had learned a lot and gained some insight into a part of this huge country and its culture. All people I got to know were open and friendly, and everybody took care that I got the full American Experience.

Even though I was working on essentially the same experimental setup I am using at home, I experienced working in a different environment and a different lab as a new approach to research. I also learned a lot more about the helium droplet technique, by getting to know different ways to deal with experimental challenges. I am grateful that I got this opportunity and I want to thank Gary for making my stay possible in the first place and Chris, who made sure that it was always great.

The Douberly Lab including me at the conference in Urbana-Champaign.                                    From right to left: Joe, Gary, Chris, Peter, Alaina, Bernadette and I.

About the Author

portraitMatin Kaufmann, born in 1986, has studied Physics at the Universität Vaihingen in Stuttgart, obtaining his diploma in 2012. Since 2013, he is part of the spectroscopy group at the Lehrstuhl für Physikalische Chemie II under Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith, and investigates small complexes of glycine with water, isolated in helium droplets using infrared spectroscopy. He completed his internship at the University of Georgia within the framework of the Graduate School Solvation Science (GSS).

White Nights at the Finnish Nanoscience Center

The land of thousand lakes, a nickname Finland has earned from the naturalists, elegantly describes the two colors green (land) and blue (lakes) at any point in the country. Add to that the possibility to see a ravishing nature of light known as Aurora Borealis and you get a couple of reasons that convinced me to make a research experience at the Nanoscience Center, University of Jyväskylä from October to December 2014.

Why I choose Jyväskylä?

Jyväskylä is known as the cultural capital or Athens of Finland. Therefore, an internship in the University of Jyväskylä was an appealing choice to learn about the culture and history of Finland. This decision also spared me from the gloomy winters of the north, because the university is in the central Finland. But of course there are also scientific reasons.

My interest in understanding the bio-molecular mechanisms with quantum and classical mechanics helped me narrow down my list to the University of Jyväskylä where I could gain experience working in the field of theoretical and computational chemistry. This decision was also encouraged by my supervisor in Bochum, Prof. Dr. Lars Schäfer. He was a former colleague of my supervisor in Jyväskylä, Dr. Gerrit Groenhof. A recommendation always gives an advantage in this kind of applications, and it helped in my case too.

A smooth application Procedure

As soon as I received my invitation from Jyväskylä, the administrative offices from both universities were extremely cooperative and helpful to ensure a comfortable stay and experience. The accommodation arrangement was quite elegant and the administrative staff in Jyväskylä were kind enough to guide me through the complete process. KOAS and Kortepohja are two government supported student organizations that facilitate accommodation for students in Jyväskylä.

 Science zone

During my internship I implemented different computational approaches to study the reaction mechanisms of a light sensitive protein called phytochrome. The photo-receptor phytochrome detects light on a time-scale of femtoseconds to picoseconds: Thereby it harvests energy in form of photon absorption in plants, bacteria and fungi to control their biological functions like photoperiodism (seasonal change in day/night change), circadian rhythms (physiological changes in organisms in the 24h), and photomorphogenesis (light-mediated development). For example, a strawberry plant regulates its flowering pattern more than 6 months in advance based on the circadian cycle. In our study we used the QM/MM hybrid molecular simulation approach: Quantum mechanical (QM) methods described the photo-reactive part of the protein, while the remaining system was modelled with classical force fields (MM).

Updating my computational skills to 2.0.

I enjoyed my brief stay working at the Nanoscience Center at the University of Jyväskylä. It is the only university in Finland with a separate state of art research facility for nanoscience. Besides, the interdisciplinary work environment is a boon for advancing in the field of computational chemistry.

Regular group meetings and interaction opportunities with different research groups helped me adapt to the Finnish university system and to the life in Finland. The research and administrative staff was competent in the English language. That made the communication easy and comfortable with everyone at the university. Coordinators assigned to the Erasmus students provided enough information about every available facility at the university.

Some of the skills I acquired during my stay in Jyväskylä involve critical assessment of the scopes and limitations of various approaches/approximations, team work and collaboration, visualization and graphical presentation of practical results, general knowledge of experimental and computational methods, acquaintance with work flow of conferences and seminars. The different perspective and way of thinking during assessment and discussions are some important experiences one should look forward to during such internships.

An aurora is well worth a wait.

It happened on my return flight to Germany. Within minutes after take-off, I noticed a glare on the window. I looked outside and found myself staring into the sky at something beautiful. It was racing through the vast space with striking colors ranging from different shades of green, red to pink. I had to wait for three months to capture that beautiful sight from Jyväsyklä. The further away you go from a city the better the chances to see the aurora in winters.

Sauna represents another great part of the Finnish culture and history. Based on surveys and statistics almost every household in Finland has a sauna. It is the perfect place to relax and get to know the Finns even better. An advantage of staying in one of these housings is the free access to the sauna. A swim in the lake after the sauna is must for anyone visiting Finland for the first time (even better if you have already experienced it before). It does not matter if it is summer or winter (when temperature drops below freezing point), a dip in the lake after sauna is an adventure you will cherish for a long time.

The central lane in Jyväskylä is famous for hosting different cultural events almost every weekend. A music lover can always find a gig or live event at one of the pubs in the city. Jyväskylä also hosts the Neste Oil rally every summer, which is the biggest public event in Nordic countries.

Summer is also a good time to experience the midnight sun, or the white nights, another remarkable natural phenomenon. The sun stays above the horizon for over 70 days in summer in the Lapland. For other parts of the country the nights are still white with the sun briefly dropping below the horizon and rises again masking the transition between dusk and dawn. On my flight back to Germany I considered that I still missed the white nights, but then life gave me another chance. In 2015 I came back to the Nanoscience Center, University of Jyväskylä, to start my PhD.

Where great things come from

A Finnish proverb says – ‘Great things come from small beginnings’. My time in Jyväskylä was an insightful experience and has helped me shape up my profile towards a better future in science. The opportunity to learn about a new culture with an optimistic objective from Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is something every student should look forward for. I hope my work in Jyväskylä brings a positive impact on motivating future collaborations between the two universities.

Link to iMOS international Master’s program

About the Author

Hi!! I am a theoretical chemist and a sports enthusiast. I was born in Surat (India) and have an engineering degree (B.Tech) in Bioinformatics from Amity University Rajasthan. I moved to Germany in 2013 to join the IMOS program, during which I carried out my international internship and master thesis as Erasmus student at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland). I am presently working as a PhD student in the group of Dr. Gerrit Groenhof at the University of Jyväskylä.

Being a visiting student in Irit Sagi Lab

My name is Elena Decaneto and I am a graduate student in Chemistry at the Ruhr University of Bochum currently working at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (in Muelheim an der Ruhr) with a scholarship funded by the International Graduate School Solvation Science of the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV. In January 2015 I moved from Germany to Israel since I had the opportunity to undertake an internship of three months at The Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot), in the group of Prof. Irit Sagi in the Department of Biological Regulation.

Weizmann Institute of Science / Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology Joint Conference on Cell Communication in Translation Research, 22-23 January, 2015, Rehovot, Israel.

From the first day I was able to learn from competent scientists and to discuss scientific issues in a friendly and challenging environment, comparing my knowledge with those of other students and researchers with different backgrounds. This internship was a valuable and necessary experience for me to learn a large number of biological techniques I will need in the future (both for a future in the academy and for working in a company), get practical tips on my current PhD project, using cutting-edge instruments for applied biology which are currently not available in the institution where I work in Germany, visit an experimental animal house, participate in international conferences and seminars, presenting and discussing my data to a group of pure biochemists and biologists and establish possible future collaborations.

Science Zone

The Sagi group is mainly focused on the use of advanced biophysical and imaging techniques for unravelling cellular environment molecular mechanisms, design endogenous-like inhibitors and modulators targeting matrix enzymes and studying molecular recognition of super-structured substrates.

My project involved the development of a fluorometric activity assay for the protein Lysyl Oxidase-2, the expression of different types of protein constructs both in yeast and bacteria and the development of protocols for high-level expression, purification and enzymatic characterization for crystallization purposes.

In addition to the scientific aspect, I enjoyed being part of a group of friendly and jovial people, participating in group travels and going out together even outside working hours. In Prof. Sagi`s group I found friends rather than just colleagues, and I go back to Germany enriched not only with new skills but with wonderful memories.

The Weizmann Institute of Science

The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of the most important centers of research and higher education in the world. Known for its scientific and technological research in the forefront, the interests of the institute span the entire spectrum of contemporary science: environmental science, drug development, from genetic to oncology, renewable and alternative energy technologies, astronomy, high energy physics, etc. Inside the institute the language is English and students are only Master of Science or PhD from 5 different faculties (Physics, Math/Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology and Biochemistry). The Feinberg Graduate School (of which Prof. Sagi is now the dean) is the greatest strength of the institute, which since more than 50 years aims to train researchers in the field of natural sciences.

Koffler accelerator of the         Canada Centre of Nuclear Physics inside the campus.

All the students are exempt from tuition fees and receive a salary that allows them to spend all their time to study and research, and the duration of a PhD project is usually about 4-5 years. Surrounded by greenery, this institution is a veritable paradise for scientists thanks to the high quality of science (large equipped laboratories, new machines and cutting-edge instruments, high-impact publications, seminars, workshops and international conferences, international environment) and the high quality of student life (access to libraries, gyms, swimming pools, courses of all kinds, bars, pubs, restaurants, dormitories and apartments for students with common places and free wi-fi). Students visitors like me, stay in the international guest house inside the campus which is a perfect place to get immediately in contact with other students, get to know people from all over the world and organize together trips, parties and other activities.

Sentence spoken by the scientific visionary first president of Israel        Dr. Chaim Weizmann written on a wall of the campus.

Impressions of Israel

For over 2000 years this narrow corridor of land on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean exerts an influence that has no equal on the planet. Linked to the three major world monotheistic religions (Christianity, Islam and Hebraism), Israel is a destination full of charm that includes many biblical sites, churches and mosques, but it is also an area of natural wonders from the desert landscapes, to the lush green of the north of Israel, in addition to the white beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. While Jerusalem is an ancient city on a hill with a fundamental religious importance for millions of people around the world, Tel-Aviv is a seaside town that basks in the sunshine of the Mediterranean Sea with barely a century old. Traveling in Israel is really easy if you have a driver’s license. Rental cars are quite cheap and allow to visit from north to south all the wonderful places that this country offers: from the port of the ancient Akko to the Bahá’í gardens in Haifa, from the Dead Sea to the Negev desert. Anyway, Israel is not only history and wilderness: it is a real tourist area of the Mediterranean which offers beautiful beaches with modern infrastructures. In these three months I used to travel every weekend but nevertheless there are still many places I would like to visit and which represent a good reason to return.

Non conventional view of Jerusalem from the roofs of the market.

It is a stereotype all too used, but it’s really hard not to draw attention on the incredible meeting of past and modernity in these places. In Jerusalem, you can meet next to each other, Orthodox Jews who wear traditional dress and Christian pilgrims with cutting-edge digital cameras, smells of incense and candles mixed with spices, sounds of bells intertwined with the song of the muezzin. In the Negev desert, the Bedouins use mobile phones with familiarity, while in Galilee palestinian farmers lead the oxen in the fields according to the rules of biotechnology. This great contrast is also reflected in the political situation of the country. My stay corresponded to the period of political propaganda for the election of Israeli prime minister and his party, so that I was inevitably spectator of the frequent and fervent political discussions during this period.

Rosh HaNikra grottes, a geological formation on the Mediterranean Sea at the border with Lebanon.

There is a very influential part of the society that believes that Israel should strictly abide by the laws of the Torah, while most people do not want that and look with horror to a confessional state. Despite the bad publicity in the European press and the frequent alarmist headlines with regard to safety, Israel and the neighboring territories of Jordan and the Sinai are perfectly safe for tourists and visiting students. Unfortunately it is not uncommon that political tensions explode in some act of terrorism but usually not undermine the safety of people and the Weizmann Institute can be regarded as a haven of peace. On the streets my attention was captured by the joviality of the people, their meaningful greeting “shalom” (“peace”) and the preponderance of the military: they are mostly citizens who perform military service which is compulsory from 18 years of age and lasts three years for men and two years for women.

Israeli Food

Israelian food is often simple and modest but tasty and substantial, reflecting the great ethnic mix of this country. The oriental dishes mostly consists of meat and grilled fish, stuffed vegetables and a variety of meze. Quick meals like shawarma, humus with pitta and falafel are found almost everywhere.

At the market in Akko you can find hundreds of different types of spices, along with the special “Said’s humus” famous for being considered the best humus of Israel .

Among the Armenian specialties, I especially enjoyed the malawach: a sweet flat bread with flask shape and different salty fillings. Jewish culinary tradition follows the rules of Kashrut: it is not allowed to eat “impure” meat (such as pig, rabbit and horse), while the meat from the other animals has to be deprived of any trace of blood before being cooked. Also, meat and dairy products cannot be eaten together in the same meal. During my stay I had the opportunity to celebrate the Passover, during which it is forbidden to sell and eat leavened foods like breads and pastries of all kinds. My favorite meal was definitely the typical Israeli breakfast, which consists of different types of bread, eggs, salad, cream of soft cheese, cream of olives and spicy sweet tomato. So different from a simple coffee and croissant and a great way to start the day in the lab (if you don’t fall asleep on the lab-bench!). Although Israel is often seen as a culinary desert by Europeans, I definitely had to change my mind after seeing that this country offers a wide culinary tradition, with very good food and lots of variety.

Different kinds of Israeli almond and nut cakes and sweets made with halva (from semolina, tahini or sunflower butter).

Despite wines (which are quite good in Israel, especially the white ones) during these years in Germany for my PhD I have inevitably stepped up my critical thinking about beers. It is hard to believe that until a few years ago the Israeli craft beers were practically nonexistent, but now many cafes and restaurants serve good craft beers of the place (mainly Ale beers) and I especially liked the unique taste of barley and bitter from the hop of Malka.


Link to Graduate School Solvation Science

Link to Weizmann Institute of Science

About the Author

Profile picture_597x768Elena Decaneto was born in 1988 in Fidenza (Italy). She got her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics at the University of Parma in Italy. She performed her master’s thesis research project on “spectroscopic characterization of metal nanoparticles” at the Sarría Chemical Institute in Barcelona (Spain). Currently, she works on her PhD thesis about “the coupling of solvent water and enzymatic activity in a matrix metalloproteinase” at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim a. d. Ruhr in the group of Prof. Lubitz and the Department of Physical Chemistry II in RUB under the supervision of Prof. Havenith.



Visiting Cardiff during the Rugby World Cup

I had the great opportunity to have a research stay for two months in the laboratory of Prof. Hutchings at the Cardiff Catalysis Institute in Wales in the end of 2015. RESOLV Graduate School of Solvation Science gave me the financial support to be able to make my journey. My project during my stay there consisted of several tasks. First of all, I had the opportunity to test my materials for various catalytic reactions which were not applicable in our laboratory. My PhD project mainly focuses on photocatalysis, that is, the utilization of (preferably visible) light instead of heat to run heterogeneously catalyzed reactions. Due to my experience in photocatalysis, I could help my colleague with whom I worked closely together during my stay. Her project also focuses on photocatalytic reactions and she started her PhD round about 6 months ago at the time when I arrived. The idea was to build a set-up which is quite similar to the set-up I use at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung. Although we had some great progress, we couldn’t finish the job before my flight back to Germany. Anyhow, I am pretty sure the set-up will be ready in the first weeks of January.

Safety first! My colleague and I putting on proper UV-safety eyewear before setting up the Xenon lamp. – Safety first! My colleague and I putting on proper UV-safety 
eyewear before setting up the Xenon lamp.

The third part consisted of a detailed investigation of the support effect on glycerol oxidation for various kinds of catalysts. I’d chosen this as a small project which was also an important aspect of the side-project of my colleague and I felt glad to contribute to this topic. All in all there was plenty of work to do during my two months stay at Cardiff University. It turned out to be a very productive task and the results might be published in the near future. Splitting your working time on several tasks seemed to be the way to go for my stay.

Science Zone

My research project consists of the utilization of the visible light absorption properties of nanosized gold particles for the chemical transformation of glycerol to value-added products. The whole progress of utilizing light for driving chemical reactions on a catalyst is known as photocatalysis. The purpose of my stay was the investigation of various gold containing catalysts for different reactions (glycerol oxidation, H2O2 synthesis, CO oxidation, benzyl alcohol oxidation etc.). On the other hand, the group was about to build a photocatalytic set-up. My experience in photocatalysis would help to build the set-up and investigate photocatalytic reactions.

Typical picture during the photocatalytic reaction: Illumination of the reaction solution through the glass window of the stainless steel reactor with green light from the top. My colleague in Cardiff will eventually be able to have a similar set-up at the end of January 2016.– Typical picture during the photocatalytic reaction: Illumination of 
the reaction solution through the glass window of the stainless steel 
reactor with green light from the top. 
My colleague in Cardiff will eventually be able to have a similar 
set-up at the end of January 2016.

I arrived on a Friday afternoon in Cardiff with a flight time of only one and half hour and had a very warm welcome from my colleagues. Luckily, they were all heading to the pub after work, so I could quite early get to know many faces. I used the weekend to get familiar with the city and – most importantly – to get used to the fact that people drive on the left side in the UK. This and other things which were different compared to other countries (like the plug sockets, the safety switches on the plug sockets, the lack of plug sockets in the bath room due to safety reasons, the lack of good bread etc.) were something which gave us always plenty to talk about when having conversations with my colleagues from abroad. Cardiff offers lots of things to do during your spare time. Every weekend there is a 5 km run through the Bute Park along the River Taff. The first time I joined the run, there were about 500 participants! Roath Park which, unfortunately, is way smaller than Bute Park was the next place I visited for my running session. Beautiful and informative places like Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Castle and National Museum Cardiff were also visited. Luckily, the weather was untypically dry and calm. Rainy and windy days accumulated only at the end of my stay.

Top: The chemistry department of Cardiff University (left) and the National Museum Cardiff (right). Bottom: Rugby ball “smashed” into the wall of Cardiff Castle due to the Rugby World Cup 2016 (left) and the two teams Cardiff Blues (in red) and Nottingham playing against each other in the British & Irish Cup.– Top: The chemistry department of Cardiff University (left) and the 
National Museum Cardiff (right). Bottom: Rugby ball “smashed” into the
wall of Cardiff Castle due to the Rugby World Cup 2016 (left) and the 
two teams Cardiff Blues (in red) and Nottingham playing against each 
other in the British & Irish Cup.

Of course, there are a lot of pubs where you can try various kinds of beers. Talking about a good beer – I really appreciated my curiosity for trying new things out like different Ales or IPAs (India Pale Ales). The fact that they also served Lager beer saved me from my curiosity and helped me to enjoy more familiar beer types. A full English breakfast on the other hand is for me unarguably the best thing you can get to eat in the morning. Last but not least, a visit to Wales or UK in general will not be complete if there is no rugby game. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a ticket for the quarter finals Wales against South Africa but I managed to join a game after the Rugby World Cup trouble – the Cardiff Blues against Nottingham. The matches of the Rugby World Cup were watched in the fully crowded pubs. Football requires a lot out of a body but I think Rugby puts some things into a new perspective. When you have enough from Cardiff, you can easily reach Bristol or Bath in England in about one hour by train. The highlight of my stay was the trip to London for one weekend with my cousin and some friends of her. I was really satisfied that I achieved a lot of things in the laboratory and also could manage to see a lot of Cardiff and other cities in the UK.

 Last get-together before leaving Cardiff.– Last get-together before leaving Cardiff.

Eventually, I would like to thank Prof. Hutchings, my supervisor Dr. Simon Freakley and my colleague Laura Abis who not only gave me the opportunity for this research stay but also made every effort to have a productive and nice stay in Cardiff.

Link to Cardiff Catalysis Institute

About the Author

ProfilePicGDGeorgios Dodekatos, born 1988 in Minden, achieved his      B.Sc. in Chemistry at the Georg-August Universität Göttingen and his M.Sc. in Chemistry at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, where he decided to focus on heterogeneous catalysis, especially photocatalysis. Currently, he works on his PhD thesis about glycerol valorization via plasmonic photocatalysis in the group of Dr. Tüysüz at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung.
His scientific motto is: “A scientist has to work very hard to get to the point where he can be lucky.” – R. B. Woodward

Völlig losgelöst – Completely detached

Jump to photo gallery.

RUB; völlig losgelöst

Opening with cutting the ribbon. left to right in the back: Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith, Mayor of Bochum Thomas Eiskirch, Rektor Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich, Prof. Dr. Katrin Sommer
; left to right children: Leonie, Leon, Matthias

 © RUB, Marquard


The Adventure starts

An impressive deep space expedition comic. Elegantly dressed men whispering. A film crew in the middle of ‘action’. Where did I land? Am I right here?
Jens comes to greet me kindly. Okay, I am right here. The film shooting about the Solvation Science exhibition ‘Völlig losgelöst’ and about its opening ceremony just started.

RUB; völlig losgelöst - resolvAusstellungseröffnung

The deep space expedition comic at the entrance. © RUB, Marquard

We write the year 2016, 8th of January, and I make my first round very quickly, just taking a glance at every part. Too many words to read. Where should I start? There is still enough time until the opening, so I just wander around in the hall and stop at some places, read randomly some of the writings. After a while, I finally grasp the coherent structure of the entire exhibition.
Okay, I start again from the very first word in the comic at the entrance, now reading everything in detail.

The main aim of the creators of the ‘Völlig losgelöst’ exhibition in the Blue Square in the city centre is to make the community of Bochum familiar with science’s underlying concepts and scientists’ personal approach of working “under the roof of science”: Science is done by human beings including all types of peculiarity. “RESOLV will encourage the presentation of the human face of science to the public.” – Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith, the RESOLV Speaker, will say later.

RUB; völlig losgelöst - resolvAusstellungseröffnung

Some modules of the exhibition. © RUB, Marquard

The exhibition introduces science as a space-mission with scientists being the astrounauts. Martina Havenith: “As a child, I always wanted to be an extra-terrestrical astronaut – and now I am one!” Seperate booths invite me to explore the work of six research groups of RESOLV in a structured fashion. There is a cartoon of each person in full height, dressed in an astronaut coat, on which they have their own identity logo – the mission patches; the attribute of their research area. A different colour is assigned to each folding-screen (These are actually real flight cases!) and a light under them gives me the impression, as if they were floating in space. The mysterious pictures on them anticipate the mysticism of scientific research. The entire design of the exhibition is compellingly imaginative and arresting! The designers and constructors did an outstanding performance!

The presentation of the six professors’ research in RESOLV starts with a fact sheet, that gives hidden insights into their academic work, such as how close they are to a breakthrough or how big the workload is on weekends or how much the annual consumption of coffee is in their working group. The central question of their research is also summed up in one sentence. “How does life function in molecular detail?”, asks Prof. Dr. Lars Schäfer, for instance. Afterwards, I can read the scientists` own quotes about their approaches and interests. Generally, what drives scientists, is curiousity to understand the physical world (“I’m a scientist because I really want to understand why things are the way they are.”, Prof. Dr. Martin Muhler), and also to achieve exceptional goals (“I enjoy running experiments others have deemed impossible.”, Prof. Dr. Frank Schulz).

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Prof. Dr. Lars Schäfer preparing for an interview. © RUB, Marquard

The Opening

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Prof. Dr. Martina Havenith gives here talk.

Now, time has come. I leave the exhibition hall and climb up two floors to a big conference room in the Blue Square. A very refreshing glass of champagne is given to me by the door. Many illustrious guests already arrived, such as professors, directors of museums, and members of the management of the Ruhr-UniversitRUB; völlig losgelöst - resolvAusstellungseröffnungy, as the Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich, the Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt, the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Professional Development Prof. Dr. Kornelia Freitag. Even the Mayor of the city of Bochum, Thomas Eiskirch, is here! The light is dimmed a bit and Jens tinkles with a glass as a signal that the opening is about to start – the glass didn’t brake, fortunately. So, everyone takes a seat; in the first few rows of chairs the professors of RESOLV, the organizers of the exhibition and the speakers occupy their pre-assigned seats. The room gets quiet.

The Rector of RUB, Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich, welcomes everybody in a short greeting in which he emphasizes the meaning of the Cluster of Excellence for the University: “The RUB is immensely proud of the success of RESOLV”. Thomas Eiskirch, Mayor of Bochum, enlightens the importance of RESOLV and the exhibition for the city: “Today we can say that it arrives more and more in the city, and the city is very pleased about that.” Prof. Martina Havenith gives an exciting presentation, where she mainly outlines the near-past and near-future activities in RESOLV, and also talks about the concept and aim of the ‘Völlig losgelöst’ exhibition. For a moment I get lost: Did I hear well? RESOLV is organizing a mission trip to space for its scientists?!

The opening ceremony ends with Prof. Dr. Katrin Sommer’s speech including thankful words to all the creators of the exhibition, and then we finally go down to the exhibition. Three children, who in the meanwhile did some of the hands-on experiments offered, cut a ribbon and thereby constitute the actual opening act – then we are free to join the ‘expedition’.

I continue my journey, enjoying the delicious flying buffet and reading the posts to find out more about the research topics introduced. Each case gives a clear description of the general research question, the methods of investigation and the results achieved so far. Great pictures, videos and exhibits illustrate the writings. I discover, for example, the U-Tube Reactor provided by Prof. Dr. Muhler, and the lead salt diode laser provided by Prof. Havenith.

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Creating new antibiotics, research on corrosion, anti-freeze proteins, simulation of biomolecules, catalysis, antifouling coating for ships etc. How does water come into the picture in these investigations? My conclusion: Water is indeed the engine of physical life. With its unique properties and capabilities it is the most fascinating substance on earth.

Visit the exhibition together with your colleagues and friends and get a deeper impression – it`s worth!

Blue Square, Kortumstraße 90, 44787 Bochum

Photo Gallery

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Christian Strippel, the organizing person in charge. © RUB, Marquard

Photo Gallery

Photographs by: © RUB, Marquard, Nina Winter

 About the Authors

Debora BeeriDebora Beeri is one of the new iMOS-students in this Wintersemester 2015/16 at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. She obtained her Chemistry BSc degree in Hungary, after which she went to London for a six-months internship in a Theoretical Chemistry lab, where she gained research experience.


© RUB, MarquardJens Ränsch holds a Diploma in Physics and a Ph.D. in Plasma Physics. He worked for a funding agency for five years, where he gained experience in the development of research fields, evaluation of research proposals, managing of industrial research projects as well as in different public outreach projects. In 2014 he joined the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV as a kind of “all-round” Science Manager.

iMOS Master: Infrared Spectroscopy of Highly Reactive Aggregates in…

Infrared Spectroscopy of Highly Reactive Aggregates in Helium Nanodroplets

Daniel Leicht

In my master thesis I investigated the infrared (i.e. the vibrational) spectrum of helium solvated allyl radicals. The radicals were produced by pyrolysis of 1,5-hexadiene and trapped in superfluid helium nanodroplets. The helium droplet beam was overlapped by the output of a tunable infrared laser to obtain the infrared spectrum. After obtaining the experimental infrared spectrum ab initio calculations were carried out as a basis of the spectral assignment. Different DFT methods were compared with respect to their viability since open-shell species often pose a problem in such computations.


Spin density surface of the allyl radical.

Based on the quantum chemical calculations five CH-stretching bands were assigned to the observed spectral features. The rotational fine-structure of the recorded spectrum was investigated as well. Due to the very low droplet temperature of 0.37 K, also weakly bound complexes can be studied using this technique. As an outlook I proposed an investigation of the allyl:HCl complex, which has been carried out and published at a later time.

After finishing his iMOS Master’s thesis Daniel Leicht started his PhD research in the group of Prof. Havenith.

Link to  Master course in Molecular Sciences and Simulation (iMOS) at Ruhr-University Bochum

Internship in Alicante

In spring 2015, thanks to the RESOLV Graduate School Solvation Science, I was able to spend three months in Alicante, Spain. Internship at a foreign University is an exciting opportunity RESOLV is able to provide for young researchers.
Alicante is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Spain in the Valencian region and it is about the size of Bochum but completely different in so many aspects. The biggest difference is the touristic appealing the city has, it attracts thousands of tourists and during spring and summer the city is always crowded. In fact many Spanish from the inland cities (as Madrid) have their summer houses also next to the sea so they can drive down to the coast and enjoy a relaxing weekend at the beach.

Luckily, I started my internship at the end of April, just when the nice season starts. And what a nice season! Three months and one week during which it was raining for not more than four hours in total!
I could find a room in a flatshare thanks to the help of a Spanish friend while I was still in Bochum so I had no problems regarding the accommodation.
I was welcomed warmly at the University and I immediately got to know the whole research group of the Institute of Electrochemistry. They helped me since the beginning not only in the lab but also giving me advice on life (and food!) in Spain. The first impression of the University in Alicante is quite astonishing for someone who is used to the Ruhr-University Bochum: small buildings of maximum three floors spread around a big campus full of palms and flowers.
The atmosphere was welcoming and the other PhD students in turn helped me in the lab showing me their know-how. The lab-instruments were different and I was not independent during the first week but later on I managed to do everything on my own. It is very useful to learn different experimental techniques and how to handle different instruments than the ones I am used to. It was a unique opportunity because at the Ruhr-University one of the experimental techniques I learned cannot be performed because the instrument is not available.

Science Zone

At the Institute of Electrochemistry in Alicante I worked under the supervision of Prof. Victor Climent and Prof. Juan Feliu. The research consisted of two main topics. One was the study of the kinetics of defect formations on the surface on Pt(111) single crystals in alkaline solutions. The other one is the laser-induced temperature jump method applied on an Ir single crystal having a (111) preferential orientation.  The technique consists of nanosecond laser pulses fired at the electrode-solution interface to suddenly increase the temperature, providing evidence on the net charge orientation of water at the interface. Thanks to this technique it is possible to differentiate between the responses of the double layer to a potential difference and the charge-transfer processes at the interface.

The first days I was communicating in English, but due to the similarity of my native language (Italian) to Spanish I soon started to pick up words and communicate in their language. The thought of learning Spanish was on my mind, but I didn’t think it was so easy to do it!
My coworkers were mostly Spanish but there were also Chileans, Mexicans, Colombians and Brasilians among them. They could all talk in English but the whole communication in the lab has been done in Spanish, so learning it helped me a lot on both scientific and social life.


What about a stroll on the beach to relax after work? In Alicante you can!

The head of the Electrochemistry Institute is Prof. Juan Feliu, former president of the International Society of Electrochemistry and maybe the worldwide most known professor in the field of single-crystal electrochemistry. The group is a bit smaller than the group of Prof. Schuhmann in Bochum and it is split in two adjacent buildings. But we were gathering all together for lunch and we also had dinner together every now and then.

I had interesting results in one of the two topics I was investigating in Alicante and a collaboration is established now to finalize the project. With the collaboration of one of the PhD students of Prof. Climent we will perform another set of experiments. This internship was indeed a great opportunity to expand my scientific network outside Germany!

Link to the Institute of Electrochemistry in Alicante

Link to Graduate School Solvation Science

About the Author

Profile Photo_Alberto GAlberto Ganassin was born in 1988 in Castelfranco Veneto (Italy). He got a bachelor in Material Science at the University of Padua in Italy and a master in Material Science at the Technical University of Munich. He is currently a PhD student in Prof. Schuhmann’s group and the topic of his PhD is “Electrochemistry of gas evolution reaction”

Kaminabend – Meet the Professionals

“Networking is THE key tool for your future career” was one of the eye catcher sentences in the advertising mail for an event called ‘Kaminabend – Meet the Professionals’. Beside the attached guest list with the participating companies from industry, it was this sentence, which caught my attention and convinced me to participate in this event.

The main idea of this event is to offer PhD students the opportunity to get into contact with professionals from industry in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. At the beginning of the event, which took place in the really nice restaurant ‘Strätlingshof’ in Bochum, there was a short introduction of each company representative, which I really liked because it gave the event a good basis. For me, the last part of the short introduction round, which was about the “personal or scientific motto”, was the most interesting one, since some of them really inspired me. As a consequence, I rather decided spontaneously to whom I want to talk.

According to the phrase ‘business before pleasure’, not only the professionals had to do a task. Each PhD student was asked to state in which sector he or she wants to work in the future. For me, the result was impressive, because the vast majority favors a job in academia and research over management or consulting.

Science Zone

In my PhD project, I use time-domain Terahertz spectroscopy in combination with fast temperature jumps to probe the solvation dynamics during the (un)folding of  the small protein Ubiquitin.
Terahertz spectroscopy is a powerful tool to study solvation dynamics around molecules like salts, proteins and sugars. With frequencies ranging from 0.1 THz to 10 THz, intermolecular and collective motions in the water network can be investigated.
The main aim of my study is to investigate and understand the influence of Ubiquitin on the dynamics of the surrounding water  molecules during the structural rearrangement of the protein.

After everyone’s work was done, the time was right for dinner. The idea was that six to eight PhD students join one professional for one course of the buffet. After finishing the first course, the PhD students were supposed to change tables and join another professional they wanted to talk to. I had the impression that at the beginning of the first course everybody was a little bit uncertain about what to expect from the evening and therefore hesitated to ask questions. But as the dinner proceeded, the atmosphere got more and more comfortable with many fruitful and interesting discussions and a delicious buffet.

I talked to three representatives and really enjoyed all of the discussions. It was interesting to learn something about their individual professional careers and milestones (or problems) they faced. In all the discussions I attended, the majority of questions addressed the individual professional careers rather than the profiles or the business of the companies they represented. All of the representatives were willing to answer all our questions and to give us constructive feedback.

I really appreciate that the representatives were frank to us and shared some of their personal professional experiences, since this resulted in a very informative discussion with a high input. For me, as belonging to the small group of PhD students who rather want to apply for a consulting career than staying in academia, this event was some kind of encouragement to also think about a career in industry. This encouragement can be attributed to the highly motivating conversations with intellectual and experienced professionals.

Based on my experience and motivation which I gained on that evening, I strongly recommend to participate in such networking events, not only because of the delicious food and the served drinks, but rather (and more important) because of the possibilities to broaden one’s horizon in regard to the upcoming job decision. It was stated in the advertising mail for the ‘Kaminabend’, that “Networking is the key tool for your future career”. Now, after I attended the ‘Kaminabend’ event I think it really is.

About the Author

Hanna Wirtz_614x768Hanna Wirtz was born in 1989 in Essen. She obtained the B.Sc. as well as the M.Sc. in Chemistry at the Ruhr-University in Bochum. In her PhD project, she is currently working on the investigation of Ubiquitin using time-resolved Terahertz absorption spectroscopy with temperature jumps.



Photos of ‘Kaminabend-Meet the Professionals’

All photos: © Sinja Klees, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, RESOLV



ACHEMA Exhibition, 2015 Frankfurt

Day 1, Construction
Construction. Trouble. These are the words, that come to my mind, as I enter the exhibition hall. Wooden cases, ladders, posters, packing materials, technical exhibits everywhere. And noise. Here I’m passing a noisy drill, there someone is hammering. I cannot go through, I have to take a detour. But where is our booth?

It is Sunday morning and I am in Frankfurt at the exhibition ACHEMA. I only had 30 minutes delay in the three-hours long journey. That’s quite good of the railway, isn’t it?
After I had found my way to the enormous Day of stand constructionexhibition grounds, and had reached the right exhibition hall 9.2, now I am searching for the RESOLV exhibition stand C82. It must be somewhere at the back. I struggle through the junks on the passageways, and I try to remember the design of the stand that I saw in a presentation half a year ago…
There it is! I read “RESOLV” on a light banner and think: “Oh, constructed already!” Actually, I came here this early to unpack and set this special eye-catcher together with the stand-builder, so that I could help him and also learn how to do it for next time. But it seems he has already finished it. It looks definitely good from the gangway, and it is also eye-catching from a distance. So: all done well in the design and planning.

StandAround midday the others are arriving, and life fills the place: the exhibits brought are set up: the differently coated metal sheets, the autoclave, the fuel cells, the nanobalance, and the interactive homogenizer. Monitors are installed, plugged in, and switched on. Brochures displayed, the give-aways arranged, and in the end the stand wiped. Done!

At five o’clock the stand quard arrives, we go to the hotel and later in the evening we will go to have something to eat together.


Day 2, Monday, Let’s get started!

Opening Session
There are mainly middle-aged men in dark suits standing around the round bar in the lobby. The atmosphere is relaxed: I frequently hear loud laughters, glimpse into friendly faces, and see warm greetings. The “Opening Session” will shortly begin, so I go to the hall. I like to be there earlier, so that I can secure a good seat on the side for myself. The huge half-round room is filled with blue light, the word “Welcome” can be read on the major screen in a dozen languages, and the quiet background-music creates a nice atmosphere. I sit down and watch how the hall is slowly filled. Do I see Prof. Wolf-Dieter Lukas there, the head of the department “Key Technologies – Research for Innovation” in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)? So I understand: the announced minister Mrs. Wanka will not come.

dancersAnd now, it all begins. A male and a female dancer, dressed completely in white, give a performance, where they ludically interact with the film that is displayed on the screen. Wow! That looks really great!

Judith Rakers comes on stage. She is well-known, among other things, as the spokeswoman of the newscast “Tagesschau”, and she moderates the event at ease and very enjoyably. First of all, the winners of the pupil-competition are awarded. Pupils from class 7 to 11 could participate, and more than 3,000 teams took part in the first turn. 877 of them could then do experiments, and around 550 successful experiment reports were evaluated. 44 of them were awarded with magazines-abos and books. Out of these 44 teams 3 were selected as winners, who will now be introduced.Pupils on stage
While the teams are standing on stage, the moderator interviews them individually: What was your favourite question? Did something go wrong in your experiment? etc. In some cases it goes really funny.
Moderator: “How often did you use google in the competition to answer the questions?”
Answer: “For every question!” Laughter in the hall.

After honoring the students Stefan Hell comes on stage. Well, I think it’s not necessary to mention that he is one of the three Nobel-price winners for Chemistry in 2014. He gives his speech very amusingly, in which he graphically explains his technique – the STED microscopy – , and also shows photos of the Nobel-price conference and of the subsequent banquet.
Stefan-HellThe STED-microscopy allows us to make images with a light microscope, that are 10 times sharper, than what was possible earlier. And whether you believe it or not, light microscopes are still frequently used today in most scientific publications in the Life Sciences, in spite of the fact that there are electron microscopes, since light microscopes are non-invasive and therefore they allow to get insights into living cells.
Next, Wolf-Dieter Lukas, the department manager in BMBF, speaks. Typically for a politician, he gives a speech without showing any slides. After the great presentation of Mr. Hell, Mr. Lukas has difficulty to pick up the pace. Among other things he speaks about the meaning of the Chemistry branch as “enabling technology”, that enables technical progresses of many other branches in the first place. Since I’ve already heard this argument in many talks about many branches similarly I feel bored and deeply wish that politicians finally start to talk straightly.

Now come the honors with the ACHEMA founder-price. In the “Energy” section a start-up of the RESOLV-partner Fraunhofer-Institut UMSICHT wins. The start-up “Volterion” develops batteries to store photovoltaic energy for domestic use.
The event ends with a short fast-motion video, that shows the construction of the exhibition in the last two weeks, and the people stream out of the hall. It was good, that I sat at the edge, so now I come out as one of the first ones and I can avoid the stream of people. The round bar is filled again, the people are chatting and then they slowly move on to the exhibition halls.

“Meet your friends”-Party
There was a big party in the evening and we got one free ticket. Yep, one. So I go there without knowing anybody. But just how the coincidence wanted, while I was looking for the location I became acquainted with a woman, so we continued searching together. Then, at the entrance came the surprise: I didn’t have an admission ticket.
“You cannot enter without a ticket.” Even my most beautiful smile, with which I tried to impress the reception lady, didn’t count.
“But we must have a ticket! Is it maybe depositedparty on the roof somewhere?” I tried a last option.
“Oh I see, yes, there is a desk downstairs, you shall inquire there again.” She could have mentioned this right away, couldn’t she?
Luckily, the card was on the desk, and it was a nice evening. I chatted with several people, exchanged business cards, danced to live-reggae and rock’n’roll, and enjoyed the splendid warm weather and the great view from the huge roof-terrace, where the whole party took place. I also got to know some people from a Russian company here, who offered me in a discussion on the following day, to give us an access to a microbiological security-bank for six months for free.
So: a successful evening.

Day 3 and 4, A completely normal exhibition-madness
To be on the exhibition stand in the morning at half past eight and to look good and smiling the whole day – I will soon be k.o. The weirdly stuffy air in the exhibition hall (despite the air-conditioning) , the constantly high noise level, and the change between unpeopled periods and complete onrushes on our stand claim their tribute. In spite of my determination to go without coffee, I tap the small Senseo-machine for a “Black Magic” all the time.
My nights are correspondingly restless…

interaktive-HomogenizerSince we take part in the Science Rallye of the stand BMBF as partners, troops of students come frequently by, and they want to know how many atoms the exhibited protein model MMP-14 in reality has (2,690), what we mean by solvation, and what a homogenization process is, by which two in fact immiscible liquids are mixed. Certainly, the exhibited interactive homogenizer is used vigorously for explanation.  It’s indeed good that we could close the small leak that cropped up on the first day…

Altogether, the concept of our exhibition stand turned out to be good: the visitors stopped amazed in front of our eye-cather exhibit (“Imore-people-on-stands it a heart?”), and we got into a conservation with several interesting people. Since we divided the supervision of our stand into shifts of four persons, each of us could quite extensively look around the exhibition. During these excursions we spoke actively to different corporations, and so overall more than fifty contacts came about. We shall see, whether they result in a co-operation…

For me today – on Wednesday evening – it has come to an end. I travel home, and Nina will take my place from tomorrow. So the stand-personell changes once – only Marie and Christopher need to stay until Friday. Keep up!


About the Author

Jens_128x171Jens Ränsch holds a Diploma in Physics and a Ph.D. in Plasma Physics. He worked for a funding agency for five years, where he gained experience in the development of research fields, evaluation of research proposals, managing of industrial research projects as well as in different public outreach projects. In 2014 he joined the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV as a kind of “all-round” Science Manager.


Photos of ACHEMA Exhibition



iMOS Master: Correlation of solvent fluctuations with dynamics of…

Correlation of solvent fluctuations with dynamics of simple ligand binding to biomolecular surfaces

Christopher Päslack

Image1_ChristopherWe   used   classical   atomistic   molecular   dynamics   (MD) simulations  to investigate how and to what extend collective protein-water motions affect the dynamics of ligand binding to a biomolecular surface. Therefore, the free energy surface (i.e. potential  of mean  force,  PMF)  along  the  reaction  coordinate was determined via Umbrella Sampling and based on that we obtained static one-body friction/diffusion profiles of the ligand along  the  reaction  coordinate.  The  reaction  coordinate  was defined  as  the distance  between  the  hydrophobic  patch  of ubiquitin and the ligand (LJ-spere).

We could show that dynamics of the ligand are affected both by the binding affinity in terms of the PMF as well as by internal motions  of  the  protein.  Furthermore,  the  ligand couples  to solvent  fluctuations  in  the  vicinity  of  the  hydrophobic  binding patch of ubiquitin.

Folie_Christ.1024_768After finishing his iMOS Master’s thesis Christopher Päslack started his PhD research in the group of Prof. Lars Schäfer.

Link to  Master course in Molecular Sciences and Simulation (iMOS) at Ruhr-University Bochum