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  • Provide a group of well-prepared and talented students with a challenging doctoral program based on a framework of matching interdisciplinary scientific topics. These topics will be sufficiently focused so that exchange of ideas among students can occur, but also sufficiently diverse that students can have a look beyond the immediate problems related to their thesis research;

  • Offer an integrated program of training opportunities for the best of our students to prepare them for a career in molecular biosciences on an internationally competitive level;

  • Act as academic complement for the existing inter-institutional collaborative research networks (SFB LIPOTOX, GEN-AU project GOLD, Kplus Center Applied Biocatalysis). This synergistic connection strengthens the integration of the PhD program while facilitating the research goals of the projects;

  • Facilitate, enhance and enforce the international exposure of participating students;

  • Make expertise and infrastructure of the participating laboratories available to all graduate students to provide a strong interdisciplinary research environment for PhD training;

  • Generate a structure to organize and coordinate doctoral training activities for the Graz university cluster (KFUG, TUG and the MUG);

  • Set and maintain benchmark standards for doctoral education in the molecular biosciences


    Original research performed by the doctoral students fit well under the thematic umbrella “Molecular Enzymology“.

    The broad areas of interest are:

  • cellular lipid metabolism
  • biocatalysis
  • enzyme mechanisms and cellular functions in broader aspects of biology

    Dissertation projects for the new funding period (2008 to 2011) are again embedded firmly in an exceptional network of research programs [SFB LIPOTOX, GEN-AU project GOLD II, Kplus Center Applied Biocatalysis, and the national research network AGING]. Topics for ongoing thesis work are listed under projects (link). To provide a basic overview of Molecular Enzymology's scientific objectives, they can be structured into five interrelated components:

  • Discovery of Enzymes
  • Enzyme Structure
  • Enzyme Mechanisms
  • Cellular and Metabolic Functions of Enzymes
  • Exploitation of Enzymes for Biotechnological and Pharmaceutical Applications


    A key aspect of FWF financed DK programs is the emphasis placed on performing part of the thesis project at one or more different research institutions for a period of at least 6 months. Typically students work with their thesis committee to select an appropriate host laboratory among international research institutions for the collaboration. Depending on the research aims, students can divide their time abroad between two different laboratories. If the student spends a minimum of 6 months outside of the home laboratory, the student becomes eligible for a fourth year of salary in order to complete the degree requirements for doctoral studies at the home university. All students must complete their degrees by the end of the fourth year.

    DK students have carried out research stays at the following institutions:

  • Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Sweden
  • Dept. of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, US
  • Department of Chemistry, TU München, München, Deutschland
  • Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA (USA)
  • Laboratorium für Organische Chemie an der ETH Hönggerberg
  • Imperial College London, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Membrane Protein Crystallography Group
  • Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Lifesciences, Claremont
  • Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
  • Marburg (DE)
  • Harvard Medical School-Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Boston, MA, USA
  • FRS FRSC, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Department of Biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA
  • MRC-LMB, Cambridge, UK
  • CCBR, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, UK
  • BOKU, Vienna, Austria
  • SGC, University of Oxford, UK
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, USA
  • Department of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
  • Lipid Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

    Examples of published research done by students abroad:

  • Ghosh et al.: At4g24160, a soluble acyl-coenzyme A-dependent lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase., Plant Physiol. 2009 Oct;151(2):869-81.

  • Sollner et al.: Mechanism of flavin reduction and oxidation in the redox-sensing quinone reductase Lot6p from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biochemistry. 2009 Sep 15;48(36):8636-43.

  • Sollner et al.: Quinone reductase acts as a redox switch of the 20S yeast proteasome. EMBO Rep. 2009 Jan;10(1):65-70. Epub 2008 Nov 21.

  • Sollner et al.: Lot6p from Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a FMN-dependent reductase with a potential role in quinone detoxification., FEBS J. 2007 Mar;274(5):1328-39.

  • Kienesberger et al.: Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) deficiency causes tissue-specific changes in insulin signaling. J Biol Chem. 2009 Aug 31. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Mihajlovic et al.: Plasmid R1 conjugative DNA processing is regulated at the coupling protein interface. J Bacteriol. 2009 Sep 18. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Ghosh et al.: At4g24160, A Cytosolic Lysophosphatidic Acid Acyltransferase with Phospholipase and Lipase Functions. Plant Physiol. 2009 Oct;151(2):869-81. Epub 2009 Aug 21.

  • Kollau et al.:Mitochondrial nitrite reduction coupled to soluble guanylate cyclase activation: lack of evidence for a role in the bioactivation of nitroglycerin., Nitric Oxide 20(1): 53-60, 2009

  • Beretta et al.:Bioactivation of nitroglycerin by purified mitochondrial and cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenases., J. Biol. Chem. 283(26): 17873-17880, 2008


    The Doctoral School Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology maintains an interuniversity program for doctoral students of the molecular biosciences as a joint venture of the TU Graz and the KFU Graz. The program was launched as a NAWI-Graz project during the academic year 2007/08. Typically more than 120 doctoral students of the molecular biosciences and biotechnology at both universities, as well as the Institute of Biophysics and Nanosystems Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences are enrolled.

    The NAWI Graz Doctoral School thus jointly coordinates the Doctoral School of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry of the KFUG (link) and the Doctoral School Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology of the TUG (link).

    Affiliation of the Faculty Members of the NAWI Graz Doctoral School

    (1) Institutes of the Graz University of Technology

  • Biochemistry
  • Foodstuffs Chemistry and Engineering
  • Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering
  • Environmental Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biotechnology

    (2) Institutes of the University of Graz

  • Molecular Biosciences
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Chemistry

    External supervising faculty from:
  • Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (Medical University of Graz)
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics (TUG)
  • Biophysics and Nanosystems Research (OEAW)

    Students of the DK Molecular Enzymology may also select to join the Doctoral School of Chemistry (KFUG).

    The DK and the Doctoral Schools coordinate several activities for all students of the molecular biosciences in Graz. (see courses).

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