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During the PhD program the students carry out their experimental research work in the laboratory of one of the participating faculty members. Research students will receive training in transferable skills including scientific writing, communication, presentation and moderation, leadership skills and others, in addition to those that are specific to their research discipline. We emphasize research training, including regular monitoring of progress, short courses in core and specialized techniques, and an organized discussion and critical evaluation of the published literature. There is an annual Graduate Seminar program at which students present and discuss their PhD work to a larger audience. All students are strongly encouraged to participate at national and international meetings. We encourage each PhD student to become a student member of a learned Society of their choice (OEGMBT, GOECH).

Core Curriculum


The progress of each student's thesis will be supervised by a thesis advisory committee including the immediate advisor and three other scientists. The purpose of the thesis committee is to monitor the progress of the work, to advise the students in their research and to be available for discussions outside the formal meetings. The thesis committee also decides whether the results obtained by a student are sufficient to fulfill the criteria of the Ph.D. degree and whether he/she will be admitted to the thesis defense. Both the thesis and the thesis defense must be in English.
Each student should nominate a thesis committee within the first three months of study (link to form). Selection of the committee's members can be made together with the student's advisor.
This committee will meet for the first time within the first six months of study and thereafter at regular intervals not exceeding 12 months. Meetings are normally convened by the student, but can be initiated by any member of the committee. Two weeks in advance of every meeting the student is expected to submit a written report to the committee summarizing the objectives, selected strategies, progress and problems arising during the last period of the project. The report, 3 to 4 pages in length, is to be written in English. Copies of this report, as well as a summary of each member's recommendations for the project (link to form) will be filed with the Program Manager at the conclusion of the meeting.


PhD candidates are expected to demonstrate a general knowledge of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a detailed knowledge of the topics related to the area of research. Moreover, it is essential that students become familiar with the literature of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and they should have the ability to keep abreast of major developments and to acquire a working background in any area. To assist students in achieving these goals, the DK will include an ongoing Literature Seminar for the duration of a student's training. The Literature Seminar is organized and operated by the students themselves. (KFU). Dr. Stefan Schild is the responsible supervisor.

previous organizers of the Literature seminar:
WS12/13 and SS13: Bastian Daniel (TU). Ivan Hajnal (TU). Horst Lechner (KFU). Irina Mrak

WS 11/12 and SS12:
Andras Boeszoermenyi (TU), Adam Redzej (KFU). Harald Nagy (KFU). Alexander Guttmann (TU). Sarah Pratter (TU). supervisor: Ms. Edina Harsay

Dr. Edina Harsay, associate professor at the university of San Diego, received a Fulbright-Fellowship for 2012. In the summer semester Ms. Harsay will teach as Fulbright-NAWI Graz Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Graz and University of Graz. Her expertise lies in Cell Biology: Insights From Yeast Genetics and Genomics

During her stay Prof. Harsay will lecture in :

Mol851 SS 2012: Special Chapters in Biochemistry

648.200 SS 2012: Seminar cell biology 2

647.500 SS2012: Literature Seminar


The purpose of this course is to enable PhD candidates to develop analytical, communication, and presentation skills and to engage effectively in scientific dialog. Doctoral candidates in the DK must present and discuss their PhD work to a larger audience once each year before writing up their thesis. During this two day event, each student will present and discuss their research in a half hour seminar. The grad semniar 2017 is planned June 30.

GRADUATE WORKSHOP IN MOLECULAR ENZYMOLOGY (647.510)/ Concepts in Molecular Enzymology (647.511)


The summer school program seeks to address the training needs of future research leaders in the complementary skills that they will require to lead large scale, collaborative research programs involving partners from multiple sectors (industry, business and/or the public sector as well as academic institutions). The program delivers specific professional skills training through facilitated workshops to a small group of young researchers engaged in research within an interdisciplinary thematic area (Summer School 2007). Courses are:

  • 647.501 Scientific writing (Dr.Rafael Luna) 2014

  • 647.501 Scientific writing (Prof. B. Holst) 2011

  • 647.501 Applied Bioinformatics (T Rattei, D.Turaev. T Weinmaier) 2010

  • 647.015 Gender in education and professional life (Prof. L. Frost). 2010. See details below:

  • 647.501 Scientific writing (Prof. B. Holst) 2009

  • 647.501 Research and transferable Skills trainings (M Hiden, K Scala, E Schreiner, J. Schwendenwein) 2007

    An exceptional course in SS 2009 was planned for NAWI PhD and Masters students interested in pursing a career in research. This course was offered by Prof. Dr. Laura S. Frost (University of Alberta, Canada), Aigner-Rollett-Guest professor of the KFUG.

    Biography Laura Frost:

    Prof. Frost has maintained international leadership in her field of molecular microbiology while performing executive functions as a Department Chair, Univ. of Alberta (2003-2008), editor of numerous journals (eg Molecular Microbiology, J. Bacteriology, FEMS Reviews), and grant study sections for Canadian funding agencies. Prof. Frost has evaluated numerous doctoral studies programs in North America. Her experience in research practice, policies and financing as well as in the training of graduate students makes Dr. Frost particularly aware of the challenges facing young scientists in establishing successful independent careers in research.

    During her sabbatical in Graz as an Aigner-Rollet guest lecturer Prof. Frost will offer:

  • 647.016, Kolloquium in Molecular Biology
  • 647.015 SE, Gender in education and professional life

    This course will investigate whether progress has been made in encouraging, recruiting and retaining women in science with an emphasis on the Austrian experience. Historically, women have been excluded from science with some important exceptions. What can we learn about success in science from these women and do we see them as role models or do we see ourselves as inadequate in comparison? More women are being hired by universities in science departments (medical, natural, social, political, engineering) but we have not reached the optimum gender balance in most subjects. Are women blocking their own chances for success or is society biased against women participating in science? Are women doing as well as men in attaining high scientific honours, promotion and power to influence science policy? Are these the correct measures of success? What are funding agencies doing to promote women scientists in Austria and other countries? What can each student do to prepare for a career in science?

    This Aigner-Rollet professorship was sponsored by NAWI-Graz, the KFUG, Land Steiermark and the DK: Molecular Enzymology.


    DocDays (648.009 TUG, 647.013 KFUG)

    Every semester a one day symposium is organized by a team of PhD students for seminars and posters presented by a selection of senior students in the NAWI Graz Doctoral School. All PhD students and Master students of the affiliated institutes are invited to attend. For each DocDay event two guest lecturers are invited to give plenary seminars about their research.

    Previous invited speakers of Doc Day events.

    WS 08/09 (program):

  • Manuela Baccarini (Department of Microbiology and Immunbiology, Max F. Perutz laboratories, Vienna Biocenter, Austria), "The MAPK-pathway - Scaffolding, Regulation and in vivo Roles"

  • Hans-Werner Mewes (Institute of Bioinformatics, GSF National Research Center, Neuherberg, Germany), "From Bioinformatics to Systems Biology: From Data to Quantitative Models"

    SS 2009 (program):

  • Helga Stan-Lotter (Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Austria), "Extremophilic microorganisms and the search for extraterrestrial life"

  • Gerwald Jogl (Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island), "Can’t live without drugs: antibiotic-dependence mutations in the ribosome"

    WS 09/10 (program):

  • David Teis (Department for Cell Biology, Medical University Innsbruck), "The ordered assembly of the ESCRT machinery is required for the degradation of transmembrane proteins"

  • Hannes Stockinger (Department of Molecular Immunology, Medical University of Vienna), "Signal transduction across the plasma membrane visualized by ultrasensitive single molecule imaging"

    SS 2010 (program):

  • Andrew Camilli (Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA), "Transitions of Vibrio cholerae into and out of the host"

  • Ronald P. Kühnlein (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, Göttingen, Germany), "Of lipid droplets and obese flies: fat storage homeostasis in the Drosophila model system"

    WS 10/11 (program):

  • Guido Krömer (Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France;), "The Desireable Death ... of the Cancer Cell)"

  • Heidi Halbwirth (Institute of Chemical Engineering, Vienna), "Hydroxilating enzymes in teh Flavonoid Biosynthesis"

    SS 2011 (program):

  • Terese Bergfors (Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Center Uppsala University, Sweden), "Crystallization strategy at RAPID: Rational Approaches to Pathogen Inhibitor Discovery“

  • Andrew W. Munro (Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, University of Manchester) “Enzymology and Biotechnology of Cytochromes P450“

    WS 11/12 (program):

  • Paul J. J. Hooykaas (Leiden University, Netherlands), "Plant genetic engineering by Type IV secretion of proteins and DNA molecules from Agrobacterium tumefaciens“

  • Gabriel Waksman (Institute of Structural Molecular Biology, Birkbeck and University College of London) “Mechanism of a protein assembly and secretion nanomachine at the bacterial outer membrane“

    SS 12 (program):

  • Werner Kühllbrandt (MPI Biophysik, Frakfurt, Germany) “Structure of the ATP synthase and respiratory chain complexes in the inner mitochondrial membrane“

  • Gerhard Schütz (Vienna University of Technology, Austra) Single Molecule Biology - Studying Movements and Meetings within the Plasma Membrane

    WS 12/13 (program):

  • Nico Callewaert (VIB Department for Molecular Biomedical ResearchUGent, Gent, Belgium) “Cooking course: make new drugs with lots of yeast, sugar and a sniff of bug and plant spice“

  • Nenad Ban ,(Inst. f. Molekularbiologie u. Biophysik, Zürich, SWITZERLAND) “Crystal structures of the eukaryotic ribosome and insights into the regulation and initiation of protein synthesis“

  • Dieter Kressler (Department of Biology, Biochemistry, 1700 Fribourg, SWITZERLAND) “Synchronizing nuclear import of ribosomal proteins with ribosome assembly“

    SS 13 (program):

  • Andreas Vogel (c-LEcta GmbH, Leipzig, Germany) “Enzyme engineering strategies for the preparation of industrial enzymes”

  • Martina Pohl (Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, IBG-1: Biotechnology Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich) “A toolbox for biocatalytic C-C-bond formation”

    WS 13/14 (program):

  • Manfred Sippl (Center of Applied Molecular Engineering; University of Salzburg) “Amazing protein folds”

  • Stefan Krahulec (Graz University of Technology) Industrial scale production of recombinant proteins in the biopharmaceutical industry

    SS 14 (program):

  • Petra Kienesberger – Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, Canada

  • Melanie Scharwey – Bayer Cropscience, Vienna, Austria

  • Manju Kumari – Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

  • Christoph Kurat – London Research Institute, London Great Britain

  • Stefan Liebminger – RCPE/Room Biotic, Graz, Austria

  • Tobias Madl – BioSysNet, Technical University Munich, Germany

    WS 14/15 (program):

  • James B. Kaper (University of Maryland, Baltimore) “Pathogenesis of Intestinal Infections due to Escherichia coli“

  • Pau Ferrer (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) “Systems metabolic engineering for recombinant protein production in Pichia pastoris“

  • Ruth Birner-Grünberger Medical University of Graz

  • Robert Eferl (Medical University Vienna

    SS 15 (program):

  • Rita Grosch (Leibniz Institute, Erfurt, Germany) “Factor affecting biocontrol effects at the field scale"

  • Kerstin Stemmer (Helmholz Center, Munich, Germany) “Bariatric Surgery: A Highway to Cancer“

  • Petra Kotzbeck (Helmholz Center Munich, Germany)

  • Andreas Winkler (Graz University of Technology, Austria)

    WS 15/16 (program):

  • Thomas Becker (University of Freiburg, Germany) "Mechanisms of protein biogenesis in the mitochondrial outer membrane"

  • Roman Jerala (University of Ljubljana) "Structural synthetic biologiy for the design of new modular protein folds"

  • Christof Wachter (Gerot Lannach Pharma, GmbH, Lanach Austria) "Studies finisched -Seeking now for a career in the pharmaceutical industry"
  • Harland Hofbauer (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)

    SS 16 (program):

  • Hans Brandstetter (Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg) “Dual peptidase and ligase activities in legumain and their physiological significance“

  • Alfonso Jaramillo Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology centre and School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick,) “Synthetic RNA to reprogram living cells“

  • Polona Žnidarši?-Plazl (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology), “Microscale processing in biotechnology“

  • Franz Radner (Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz) “PNPLA1 Deficiency in Humans and Mice: New Insights in Mammalian Skin Barrier Formation“

  • Erwin Zinser (FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Biomedical Science, Graz) “How to deal with high-level education “

    WS 16/17 (program):

  • Alexandros Vegiopoulos (German Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany) “Metabolic stem cell response and the plasticity of fat“

  • Carles Canto (Nestle Institute of Health Science Lausanne, Switzerland) “Mediation of adipose tissue lipolytic processes by mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) impacts on whole-body energy homeostasis“

  • Meta Kuehn (Duke University, North Carolina, USA) “Diverse mechanisms lead to a diversity of outer membrane vesicles“

  • Lorenzo Galluzzi (Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, USA) “Inside-Out: A Story of intracellular stress and organismal homeostasis“

    SS 17 (program):

  • Herbert Tschochner (University of Regensburg) “Specific features of the RNA Polymerase I transcription machinery“

  • Albert Weixlbaumer (University of Strasbourg) “Regulation of Transcription Elongation – biochemical and structural studies.“

  • Tilman Schirmer (University of Basel) Back and forth: c-di-GMP toggles a bifunctional histidine kinase/phosphodiesterase to control bacterial cell replication

  • Srinivasan Rengachari (EMBL, Grenoble) “Up and Above: From the valley to the mountains and back“

  • Gustav Oberdorfer (University of Graz) A (subjective) view on life post PhD

    Guest speakers financed by the DK

  • Albert Weixlbaumer (University of Strasbourg) “Regulation of Transcription Elongation – biochemical and structural studies.“

  • Srinivasan Rengachari (EMBL, Grenoble) “Up and Above: From the valley to the mountains and back“

  • Meta Kuehn (Duke University, North Carolina, USA) “Diverse mechanisms lead to a diversity of outer membrane vesicles“

  • Petra Kienesberger – Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, Canada

  • Manju Kumari – Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

  • Dr. Oliver Spadiut (Technical University of Vienna) “Efficient purification of a recombinant plant peroxidase by a mixed-mode resin“

  • Dr. Mario Feldmann (University of Alberta, Canada) "Shedding some light on OMVs (Obscure Membrane Vesicles)"

  • Dr. Leslie Poole; Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, USA, “Peroxiredoxins and cysteine oxidation in cellular defense and signaling“

  • Dr. Elisabeth Grohmann; (Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine University of Freiburg) "Enzyme modulation of conjugative coupling proteins from Gram-positive bacteria"

  • Robert V. Farese Jr. (Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease), "Mechanisms of Fat Synthesis and Storage: Tales of Thin Mice and Fat Cells"

  • Dewald von Dyk (Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto), " Exploration of the Yeast Kinome through Systematic Synthetic Dosage Lethality (SDL) Screening"

  • Richard Meyer (Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, Austin, USA), "Reduced Specificity of the R1162 Relaxasome Results in the Transfer of Chromosomal DNA"

  • Jean Schaffer (Molecular Biology & Pharmacology, washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA), "Looking for fat in all the wrong places"

  • David Rozzell (Pasadena, USA), "A Perspective on Biocatalysis: Where we have been, where are we going"

    Below is a list of DK courses for 2012/2013.
    Literature Seminar Seminar Room Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Humboldtstrasse 48, 3rd floor Mondays 8:30 s.t. (schedule)
    Graduate Seminar Humboldtstrasse 48 SR 44.31 June 30, 2017/td>

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