Key elements of the training programmeSeminars and lectures given by the doctoral students and principal investigators and chaired by the doctoral students, expert lectures by visiting scientists (open to the GGL), method‐focused lab courses offering IRTG specific technologies, and the international workshops are the key elements. Presenters at expert lectures and workshops will put particular emphasis on the training character of these events, and the students will have sufficient time to meet the experts (see report for details of past workshops). To strengthen doctoral student independence and foster networking between Russian and German doctoral students, offspring meetings will be organised by and for the doctoral students without participation of the PIs in the first year of their doctoral training. Doctoral students will present their work in the form of oral or poster presentations in seminars, at the international workshops, and at topic‐specific national and international conferences
Doctoral development programme
Doctoral students of our IRTG will be mandatorily enrolled at the GGL or at MARA, which offer a Doctoral Development Programme organised in workshops and seminars comprising many basic and advanced scientific and transferable skills in the areas of research management, communication skills, career development, and teaching skills, as well as mentoring programmes for female researchers such as ’Scimento‘ or ’ProProfessur‘ (see 5.3). The integration into the GGL and MARA will increase the number of workshops to choose from and also the interdisciplinary interactions. IRTG‐specific modules will include a Russian language course to prepare the doctoral students for their stays at the Russian partner institutions. Additionally, the graduate students will participate in workshops on writing skills (to lay the basis for reports, thesis, and publications), presentation techniques, and fund raising (especially important for their own post‐graduate funding, see 5.2). Last but not least a 2‐day career development workshop “Pathways to a successful career” will be organised for each doctoral generation by the IRTG at Schloss Rauischholzhausen (in autumn 2011 and 2014). We will invite scientists who have successfully entered a career to talk about their experiences in planning and pursuing a career. These scientists, who will partially include former members of the participating groups, will represent a large spectrum of careers ranging from academia, research institutions, small and medium sized biotech companies, and large pharmaceutical companies, to science management in international organisations, journalism, and
politics (see report).
These lectures provide a systematic overview of current theoretical and methodological foundations
in the field of protein nucleic acid interactions, with particular focus on enzyme and multienzyme
complexes acting on nucleic acids. Lecture topics will also cover the general technologies and
approaches in the field, with particular emphasis on the IRTG‐specific expertise (see below).
Seminars (progress reports)
In this seminar series, first year doctoral students will present their work plan, giving information on any state‐of‐the‐art or preparatory work, aims, and methods to be used. Advanced doctoral students will present their results, interpretations, conclusions, and future directions. In addition to the scientific content, particular attention will be given on the clarity and didactics of the presentation.
Experts in the field from computational biology to cell biology will be invited to cover a broad range of methodological aspects on “Enzyme and multienzyme complexes acting on nucleic acids.”
Each research group conducts weekly journal clubs. In these small group settings, each research group focuses on scientific publications within its particular field of interest. Thus the students will be encouraged to read, present, and critically appraise current publications related to their work or to innovative, technological, or conceptual trends.
Method-focused lab courses
Doctoral students will select from topics offered by the groups, e.g. (alternative) mRNA splicing in vitro / in vivo; protein‐protein crosslinking; photochemical crosslinking; simulation and analysis of biochemical reactions using tools from systems biology; RNAi and LNA‐antisense techniques; chromatin immunoprecipitation; 5'‐ and 3'‐RACE; structural mapping based on chemical or enzymatic modification; DNA microarray technology; analysis of protein complexes by ultracentrifugation; isothermal calorimetry; advanced fluorescence spectroscopy; Drosophila genetics (e.g. knock‐outs); expression and purification of proteins with the baculovirus system.
International workshops will take place in Moscow, Schloss Rauischholzhausen (near Giessen and Marburg) and Vilnius. The workshops have three goals: (i) to make the students familiar with cuttingedge technologies and research projects related to the main topic of the IRTG, (ii) to reinforce and extend interactions between the participants, and (iii) to foster the exchange of expertise in research and teaching. The doctoral students will be involved in selecting topics and speakers as well as in organising and participating in the workshops in the form of oral and poster presentations. At the end of the funding period, an international symposium will be organised together with the doctoral students, which will be open to approximately 100+ external participants and will be widely advertised.
As members of the GGL, the doctoral students will participate in the organisation of the annual GGL conference and present their work to an interdisciplinary audience there. We will organise the IRTG programme so that our Russian doctoral students can attend some of the annual GGL conferences.
Topics for workshops will be:
• Global analysis of the exploration of gene structure and function: September 2011 (Moscow)
• Biophysical chemistry, computational and structural biology in the study of nucleic acid enzymes: March 2013 (Vilnius)
• Imaging (biology) down to the single molecule level: March 2014 (Marburg)
• International Symposium (“Enzymes and Multienzyme Complexes acting on Nucleic Acids”): September 2015 (Giessen)
Meet the Experts
Expert lectures and workshops will be supplemented by Meet‐the‐Expert sessions. In the absence of
the PIs, the doctoral students will direct questions to our invited experts – regarding science and also
individual careers in academia, industry, and business.
Qualification programme for graduates from Universities of Applied Science
Excellent graduates from Universities of Applied Science (Fachhochschulen) can enter the IRTG as regulated by the current “Promotionsordnung” of the Justus‐Liebig‐Universität which require a mandatory one‐hour qualification exam by three professors in subjects relevant to the doctoral work and, depending on the applicant, additional courses.
Based on positive experience with our doctoral students while participating in the supervision of Bachelor/Diploma/Master students or in the RISE programme (see report), which serves to integrate and supervise undergraduate students from North America and UK, we plan to integrate highly talented students from Giessen/Marburg as early as possible into the research programmes. We would like to offer research stipends for up to 6 months (part‐time “studentische Hilfskraft” up to 10 h/week). Research students will perform focused research projects in close collaboration with the more experienced (2nd or 3rd year) doctoral students. The research students will gain insights and experience in integrated international research projects while the doctoral student will apply and improve their planning, supervision, and teaching skills, respectively.