Next step: From excellent science to innovative start-ups

Next step: From excellent science to innovative start-ups

NEWS HIGHLIGHT: Chemistry 4.0: The incubator for start-ups in chemistry “Start4Chem” kicks-off.

PATHWAYS FOR WOMEN IN STEM

PATHWAYS FOR WOMEN IN STEM

How it went: The MUST/RESOLV gender and science meeting (9-10 September 2019).

RUHR EXPLORES SOLVATION SCIENCE

RUHR EXPLORES SOLVATION SCIENCE

We shape a new scientific discipline, inspire the scientists of tomorrow, and enable future technologies

WE ARE RESOLV

WE ARE RESOLV

Over 200 scientists from about 50 research groups in 6 institutions

ZEMOS: Home of Solvation Science @RUB

ZEMOS: Home of Solvation Science @RUB

The first research building for Solvation Science in the world. Hosts over 100 scientists, it's home to 6 disciplines.

WHAT is RESOLV?

The Cluster of Excellence RESOLV is an interdisciplinary research project of the Ruhr University Bochum and the TU Dortmund University, as well as four other institutions in the German Ruhr area. Since 2012, about 200 scientists cooperate to clarify how the solvent is involved in the control, mediation and regulation of chemical reactions. Our research is essential to advance technologies that could reuse CO2 for chemicals production, increase the efficiency of energy conversion and storage and develop smart sensors. RESOLV is funded by the German Federal Government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with 42 Mio. EUR over the period 2019-2025. 

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Microscope images of dying HeLa cell. Top: Healthy cell with Bax (green) in the cytosol, mitochondria are intact (violet). Bottom: Dying cell, Bax has attacked the mitochondria. @Bleicken

#Asktheauthor: How proteins regulate cell death

Nat. Comm.: 3 Questions to RESOLV scientist Stephanie Bleicken about her recent Nature Communications publication on programmed cell death.

 

1. What is the new discovery that you made?

We focused our research on three Bcl-2 type proteins that cooperate in programmed cell death (the so-called apoptosis): The proapoptotic Bax protein (involved in the opening of pores in the outer membranes of mitochondria), the proapoptotic cBid (activates Bax) as well as the prosurvival Bcl-xL (inhibits Bax). We discovered that the interactions between these proteins strongly change if they are in solution or in membranes. For example Bcl-xL associates with cBid both in solution and membrane, while Bcl-xL binds to Bax only in membrane. 

2. What is its significance?

Apoptosis is a kind of cell suicide program to remove infected, damaged, overaged, or unneeded cells from our body - a vital process. Apoptosis initiation needs to be tightly regulated or severe illnesses like cancer or auto-immune diseases as well as neurodegenerative ones can be induced. The Bcl-2 protein family has a key function in executing and regulating apoptosis, that´s why these kind of proteins are an attractive target for drug development.

However, the current knowledge on Bcl-2 interactions is mainly limited on studies in solution. Tackling protein interactions in membranes is much more difficult and therefore less understood - but it is exactly in the mitochondrial membrane that apoptosis regulation kicks-off. We were able to target the protein interactions both in membranes and in solution by using the same technique, Fluorescence-cross-correlation-spectroscopy (a microscope-based method). This approach was crucial to compare the two environments.

We sumarize our results into a new model that integrate the knowledge from previous models that were considered controversal. This is a significant step towards understanding cell death, yet we have to deepen our knowledge before being able to manipulate this vital process.  

3. Is this related to Solvation Science? If yes, how?

Yes. We studied protein-interactions in two different environments, or, in other words, in two different solvents. In our case, moving from the hydrophilic cytosol to the hydrophobic membranes changed the protein interactions drastically, a clear example of solvent effect in biology.

English press release

Original publication

Posted on
Microscope images of dying HeLa cell. Top: Healthy cell with Bax (green) in the cytosol, mitochondria are intact (violet). Bottom: Dying cell, Bax has attacked the mitochondria. @Bleicken

#Asktheauthor: How proteins regulate cell death

Nat. Comm.: 3 Questions to RESOLV scientist Stephanie Bleicken about her recent Nature Communications publication on programmed cell death.

 

1. What is the new discovery that you made?

We focused our research on three Bcl-2 type proteins that cooperate in programmed cell death (the so-called apoptosis): The proapoptotic Bax protein (involved in the opening of pores in the outer membranes of mitochondria), the proapoptotic cBid (activates Bax) as well as the prosurvival Bcl-xL (inhibits Bax). We discovered that the interactions between these proteins strongly change if they are in solution or in membranes. For example Bcl-xL associates with cBid both in solution and membrane, while Bcl-xL binds to Bax only in membrane. 

2. What is its significance?

Apoptosis is a kind of cell suicide program to remove infected, damaged, overaged, or unneeded cells from our body - a vital process. Apoptosis initiation needs to be tightly regulated or severe illnesses like cancer or auto-immune diseases as well as neurodegenerative ones can be induced. The Bcl-2 protein family has a key function in executing and regulating apoptosis, that´s why these kind of proteins are an attractive target for drug development.

However, the current knowledge on Bcl-2 interactions is mainly limited on studies in solution. Tackling protein interactions in membranes is much more difficult and therefore less understood - but it is exactly in the mitochondrial membrane that apoptosis regulation kicks-off. We were able to target the protein interactions both in membranes and in solution by using the same technique, Fluorescence-cross-correlation-spectroscopy (a microscope-based method). This approach was crucial to compare the two environments.

We sumarize our results into a new model that integrate the knowledge from previous models that were considered controversal. This is a significant step towards understanding cell death, yet we have to deepen our knowledge before being able to manipulate this vital process.  

3. Is this related to Solvation Science? If yes, how?

Yes. We studied protein-interactions in two different environments, or, in other words, in two different solvents. In our case, moving from the hydrophilic cytosol to the hydrophobic membranes changed the protein interactions drastically, a clear example of solvent effect in biology.

English press release

Original publication

Our scientific fields

Research Area I

Local Solvent Fluctuations in Heterogeneous Systems

 

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Research Area II

Solvent Control of Chemical Dynamics and Reactivity

 

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Research Area III

Solvation under Extreme Conditions

 

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Video: The solvent of life

Water. It’s the most abundant substance on Earth´s surface and in our bodies. But is water a passive spectator in the animated scene of bio-chemical reactions inside our cells? RESOLV scientists investigate the important role that water plays in the most diverse processes, bringing solvation science into the spotlight.

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Microscope images of dying HeLa cell. Top: Healthy cell with Bax (green) in the cytosol, mitochondria are intact (violet). Bottom: Dying cell, Bax has attacked the mitochondria. @Bleicken

#Asktheauthor: How proteins regulate cell death

Nat. Comm.: 3 Questions to RESOLV scientist Stephanie Bleicken about her recent Nature Communications publication on programmed cell death.

 

1. What is the new discovery that you made?

We focused our research on three Bcl-2 type proteins that cooperate in programmed cell death (the so-called apoptosis): The proapoptotic Bax protein (involved in the opening of pores in the outer membranes of mitochondria), the proapoptotic cBid (activates Bax) as well as the prosurvival Bcl-xL (inhibits Bax). We discovered that the interactions between these proteins strongly change if they are in solution or in membranes. For example Bcl-xL associates with cBid both in solution and membrane, while Bcl-xL binds to Bax only in membrane. 

2. What is its significance?

Apoptosis is a kind of cell suicide program to remove infected, damaged, overaged, or unneeded cells from our body - a vital process. Apoptosis initiation needs to be tightly regulated or severe illnesses like cancer or auto-immune diseases as well as neurodegenerative ones can be induced. The Bcl-2 protein family has a key function in executing and regulating apoptosis, that´s why these kind of proteins are an attractive target for drug development.

However, the current knowledge on Bcl-2 interactions is mainly limited on studies in solution. Tackling protein interactions in membranes is much more difficult and therefore less understood - but it is exactly in the mitochondrial membrane that apoptosis regulation kicks-off. We were able to target the protein interactions both in membranes and in solution by using the same technique, Fluorescence-cross-correlation-spectroscopy (a microscope-based method). This approach was crucial to compare the two environments.

We sumarize our results into a new model that integrate the knowledge from previous models that were considered controversal. This is a significant step towards understanding cell death, yet we have to deepen our knowledge before being able to manipulate this vital process.  

3. Is this related to Solvation Science? If yes, how?

Yes. We studied protein-interactions in two different environments, or, in other words, in two different solvents. In our case, moving from the hydrophilic cytosol to the hydrophobic membranes changed the protein interactions drastically, a clear example of solvent effect in biology.

English press release

Original publication

igss summer school

The integrated Graduate School Solvation Science hosts an annual Summer School at the Ruhr University Bochum. The school always takes place during Whitsuntide and is an integral part of the GSS students' training during their doctoral studies. This year's iGSS Summer School took place from the 11th to the 14th of June, 2019.

International speakers, suggested by the students themselves, are invited to give keynote talks on their research in the field of Solvation Science. The Advanced Laboratory Modules give the students an excellent opportunity to learn new and interesting experimental and theoretical techniques within a specific research topic of their own choice. 

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Publications highlight

R Schwan, C Qu, D Mani, N Pal L van der Meer, B Redlich, C Leforestier, JM Bowman, G Schwaab, M Havenith
Observation of the Low-Frequency Spectrum of the Water Dimer as a Sensitive Test of the Water Dimer Potential and Dipole Moment Surfaces, Angew. Chem. 58 (2019), DOI: 10.1002/anie.201906048

N Berger, LJB Wollny, P Sokkar, S Mittal, J Mieres-Perez, R Stoll, W Sander, E Sanchez-Garcia
Solvent-Enhanced Conformational Flexibility of Cyclic Tetrapeptides, ChemPhysChem 20 (2019), 1664, DOI: 10.1002/cphc.201900345

A El Arrassi, Z Liu, MV Evers, N Blanc, G Bendt, S Saddeler, D Tetzlaff, D Pohl, C Damm, S Schulz, K Tschulik
Intrinsic Activity of Oxygen Evolution Catalysts Probed at Single CoFe2O4 Nanoparticles, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 141 (2019), 9197, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b04516

D Mani, R Pérez de Tudela, R Schwan, N Pal, S Körning, H Forbert, B Redlich, AFG van der Meer, G Schwaab, D Marx, M Havenith
Acid solvation versus dissociation at “stardust conditions”: Reaction sequence matters, Science Advances  5 (2019), eaav8179, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav8179

CAJ Hutter, MH Timachi, LM Hürlimann, I Zimmermann, P Egloff, H Göddeke, S Kucher, S Štefanic, M Karttunen, LV Schäfer, E Bordignon, MA Seeger
The extracellular gate shapes the energy profile of an ABC exporter, Nature Communications 10 (2019), 2260, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09892-6

 

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