Horizon2020 grant for NCMM Assistant Director

A prestigious Horizon 2020-MSCA-ITN European Training Network grant has been awarded to a collaboration between a number of research groups and organisations which include the group of NCMM Assistant Director, Hartmut Luecke.

Photo of Hartmut
Professor Hartmut Luecke, Group Leader & Assistant Director NCMM. Photo: Oda Hveem

The project, coordinated by Professor Peter Pohl from the Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria, involves 12 different laboratories from across Europe. Amongst the collaborators, which include several leading universities and research institutes, are pharmaceutical companies Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma and Intana Bioscience.

The project, PROTON, aims to better understand the mechanisms behind proton transfer. Proton transfer is a crucial element involved in numerous biological and chemical processes. Whilst the field has been studied for decades, the understanding of how confined water mediates proton dynamics remains a challenge in chemistry and biochemistry.

Applications for common diseases such as cancer

Obtaining better insight into how this proton transfer works, in particular the long-range proton transfer reactions along extended structures like membranes or collagen, or short-range transfer across membrane channels and transporters, will have applications in many fields. For example, progress in the area would enable researchers to pharmacologically interfere with proton transfer reactions that could help us to more effectively treat diseases such as cancer, obesity, chronic gastritis, and gastric and duodenal ulcers.

Potential to create new biofuels

The project findings will also have applications for developing new and sustainable biofuels. A deeper understanding of proton transfer would help with developing biomimetic applications, such as the ATP biosynthesis in microcapsules. Substituting aqueous solutions with ionic liquids would help to advance existing biomimetic applications, contributing to the possibility of developing new biofuel cells in the near future.

Grant provides for training the next generation of scientists in the field

The grant means that funding is now secured for 15 PhD students, two of which will be based with the Luecke Group at NCMM. The students will receive multidisciplinary training to equip them with the skills necessary to generate high-impact scientific knowledge. The practical training that they will receive will also help to provide them with the necessary skills for their future careers in either academia or industry. 

Further information about the PhD positions available through PROTON can be found on the JKU website.

Calls for the two PhD student positions to be based at NCMM are expected to be published in the fall 2019.


About the MSCA-ITN Grant

Innovative Training Networks (ITN) drive scientific excellence and innovation. The grants are designed to bring together universities, research institutes, and other organisations such as industry and biotech companies. Their main goal is to train researchers to doctorate level. 

European Training Networks help researchers gain experience of different working environments while developing transferable skills.

They must involve at least three partners from inside and outside academia. Organisations managing such a network should be established in at least three different EU or associated countries, though additional participants can join from across the world.

Visit the European Commission MSCA webpage for more information.

Published June 21, 2019 9:21 AM - Last modified July 8, 2019 1:34 PM