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Cornerstone laying for "TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies"

New protein research center on the Garching campus

2017-10-25 – Nachrichten aus dem Physik-Department

With the “TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies” (CPA), protein research at the Technical University of Munich now has its own address. It will bundle research into the interactions of proteins interdepartmentally. On this basis, the interdisciplinary center will develop biomedical applications, especially against diseases resulting from dysfunctions in complex biomolecular protein systems. The construction costs of around 40 million Euro will be funded on federal and state levels. The laboratory building will be built at Ernst-Otto-Fischer-Str. 8.

TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies (CPA)
Image of the future TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies (CPA), which is being built at the Ernst-Otto-Fischer-Straße. – Image: Meck Architekten

Human cells comprise a complex ensemble of biomolecules whose ordered interactions keep the organism alive and well. When dysfunctions occur, they can lead to serious diseases. Healing these kinds of illnesses requires a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of cellular functions.

Decisive in this quest are proteins, which are made up of long amino acid chains. Their functionality and spatial structure have long been the subject of research at TUM. Albeit, the complexity of most processes has only become researchable incrementally following recent methodological advances.

New (bio)medical applications

Cornerstone laying for the TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies (CPA) at the Garching Campus
Cornerstone laying for the TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies (CPA) at the Garching Campus
Cornerstone laying for the TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies (CPA) at the Garching Campus – TUM President Prof. W. A. Herrmann (left), Bavarian Minister of Science Dr. Ludwig Spaenle (right) and Prof. Andreas Bausch (Director CPA). – Photo: Uli Benz / TUM

These dynamic protein interactions and the resulting functions will be investigated in the halls of the new research facility, which will offer some 4,400 square meters of research space spread across four stories. Physicists, biochemists and bioengineers will work in an interdisciplinary approach to research molecular and supramolecular mechanisms of action and to develop (bio)medical applications based on the results.

The CPA pools the expertise of its scientists and offers a range of large equipment as central technologies – like confocal optical microscopy, bio analytics and electron microscopy as well as X-ray crystallography. This infrastructure provided by CPA allows TUM wide collaborations – extending much beyond the members of CPA and their faculties.

The architectural office Carpus+Partner in Aachen are responsible for the planning. The metal facade of the building will take its form based on a design by the Rosenheim artist Rena Ina Rosenthal. The building grounds were conceived by the Munich office of Nowak und Partner. Because of the center’s supra-regional relevance, the construction costs of 40 million Euro will be shared equally by the German Federal Government and the State of Bavaria.

Pioneering concept for biomedicine

Bavarian Minister of Science Dr. Ludwig Spaenle: “The scientists of the Technical University of Munich have been doing excellent work in the field of protein research for many years. The TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies will provide the optimal framework to meet the challenges of research today and in the future. The construction will result in a research facility for which Bavaria and the German Federal Government will share the costs of 40 million Euro. That the Federal Republic of Germany is contributing to this research facility bears testament to the significance of the building within the national research infrastructure.”

TUM President Professor Wolfgang A. Hermann presented the integration of the protein research center within a comprehensive concept: “Our biomedical research will draw its future impetus from interdisciplinarity. The Munich School of BioEngineering provides the overarching bracket, associating protein research as well as the new Bavarian Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center and, in the future, the Multiple Sclerosis Center funded by the Tschira Foundation in the vicinity of our medicine.”

As a so-called integrative research center, the TUM Munich School of BioEngineering will provide the shared teaching and research platform for all relevant activities of the various faculties, including the medically relevant fields of engineering and informatics. A wide array of cooperations with professors in Garching, Weihenstephan and Straubing extends the concept in the direction of biotechnology.

The founding director of the CPA, the biophysicist Professor Andreas Bausch, emphasizes the great support by the Bavarian government, the German federal government as well as the administration of TUM. “The building will host about 200 researchers from different fields, working on the exciting question of how proteins act together. Ultimately we would like to understand, how the interplay of different proteins leads to the workings of life.”

Participation of the Physics Department

These research groups from physics are involved at the CPA:

Professor Research group
Prof. Dr. Andreas Bausch, Director CPA Cellular Biophysics
Prof. Dr. Matthias Rief Molecular Biophysics
Dr. Zeynep Ökten Biophysics
Prof. Dr. Martin Zacharias Theoretical Biophysics
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Gerland Theoretical Physics
Dr. Andreas Battenberg, Dr. Johannes Wiedersich
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