Humboldt University and Charité receive research building for optobiology


The Science Council gives Berlin the green light: great opportunity for the further development of an important future field in biology and medicine. At the end of April, the German Federal and State Science Council recommended the joint application of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin for the funding of a new research building with the amount of approximately 69 million euros. Based on this recommendation, the Joint Science Conference of the Federal and State Governments (GWK) will decide on the funding in early summer.

The new optobiology center of HU and Charité is to become a competence center for photobiology, optical neurobiology with optogenetics and microscopy, the core of which will be the new research building. Scientists working on technologies to advance research into the interaction between light and organisms or to make light sources usable for research purposes and medicine will come together in the building. This is intended to give this internationally important research area an even stronger presence in Berlin.

Hertie Professor of Neuroscience Peter Hegemann played a major role in the application for the construction of the new Optobiology Center. Peter Hegemann conducts research on sensory photoreceptors from Chlamydomonas microalgae and is considered one of the discoverers of channel rhodopsins. These light-sensitive proteins are the basis for the scientific field of optogenetics, which Peter Hegemann co-founded.
The Optobiology Center's research program focuses on learning from this biology of light control, understanding its mechanisms and using it for applications in a variety of biological and medical research fields.

"For biomedical research, this center will open up entirely new perspectives. The optogenetic approaches make it possible to visualize cell processes even in the natural environment and thus to understand normal functional processes and their changes during diseases," says Prof. Dr. Axel R. Pries, dean of Charité.

The new building, with approximately 3400 square meters of space, will provide room for new professorships and junior research groups that have emerged and are still emerging from the clusters of excellence and research associations and that work on optobiological topics.


Source: Charité & HU press release

Contacts for press inquiries:

Hans-Christoph Keller
Press Officer
Humboldt University Berlin
Phone +49 30 2093 12710

Markus Heggen
Press Spokesman
Charité - University Medicine Berlin
Phone +49 30 450 570 400

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