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Chemists Afford a Better Insight into the Cell: Fellow of the Humboldt Foundation at the Jacobs University


November 15, 2017

The cell is the smallest entity of the living world. Their components are tiny, numerous and they constantly change. A small dysfunction causes a disease; a large dysfunction can cause the immediate death of a cell. The synthesis of chemical probes to better understand and even image cellular processes is the goal Dr. Chusen Huang, who joined the Jacobs University Bremen as a fellow of the Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation.

The interior of the cell is a dynamic network comprised of an incredible number of simultaneous processes. The 33-year old chemist has previously synthesized chemical probe molecules at the Shanghai Normal University in China, which can visualize the localization of a specific biomolecular target. „They fit into a lock like a key, and they illuminate once they have found a suitable lock“, explains Dr. Huang. However, they cannot be removed, and changes of the locks or keys cannot be followed with the current method.

At the Jacobs University, the scientist is now going to develop improved chemical key molecules, which can also visualize dynamic processes in the cell without affecting them. The interest in this type of research is huge. A better understanding of the complex processes inside a cell can help in understanding diseases and may aid in developing more efficient or alternative therapies.

The Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation supports intercultural dialogue between German and foreign scientist through academic exchange. The fellowships are highly prestigious. „I was excited and flattered at the same time, when I heard that my proposal is going to be supported“, says Dr. Chusen Huang. One part of the fellowship is a four-month German language course, which the scientist has already successfully completed.

More information:

Questions will be answered by:
Prof. Dr. Werner Nau | Professor für Chemie und Dekan
w.nau [at] | Tel.: +49 421 200-3233