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Forschungszentrum Jülich - Annual Report 2011

CreatingKnowledge Annual Report 2011 | Forschungszentrum Jülich 37 Continuous increase – third-party funding in the life sciences (research areas of biotechnology and health) has increased significantly over the last few years. Exemplary projects funded by third parties in biotechnology and the life sciences FlexFit – Versatile microorganisms for industry | With a production volume of three million tonnes per annum, the bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum is the most important microorganism used industrially to produce amino ac- ids. The collaborative project FlexFit, co- ordinated by Prof. Michael Bott from the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, aims to develop even more versatile bacteria capable of exploiting various carbon and nitrogen sources. Depending on price and availability, the cheapest starting materials could therefore be selected. The consortium comprises nine academ- ic partners and Evonik Industries. The German Federal Research Ministry (BMBF) has granted FlexFit funding from 2009 to 2013 worth almost € 3.3 mil- lion, of which around € 1.3 million is earmarked for Jülich. Research group studies Von Wille- brand factor | The Von Willebrand fac- tor regulates the balance between blood clotting and bleeding in the human body. In order to improve our understanding of this regulatory process, medical scien- tists, biophysicists, nanoscientists and physiologists from eleven institutions have joined forces in a new DFG research unit on “Shear Flow Regulation of Hemo- stasis – Bridging the Gap Between Nano- mechanics and Clinical Presentation”. Scientists in the USA and MEDILYS Laborgesellschaft are also involved. The long-term aim is to improve the diagno- sis and treatment of blood clotting disor- ders, thromboses and strokes. The DFG will fund the project with around €2.5 million from 2011 to 2014. SysEnCor – Making optimal use of en- ergy | The collaborative project involv- ing three partners from industry – Evon- ik Industries, InSilico Biotechnology and GeneData – aims to optimize the energy utilization of Corynebacterium glutami- cum. The carbon source used – a sig- nificant cost factor in industrial-scale production based on renewable raw materials – is primarily to be used to manufacture the desired product. The project is investigating the overall cellular energy budget of the bacterium. Headed by Prof. Michael Bott, the project will re- ceive a total of around €1.7 million from BMBF between 2010 and 2013, of which around € 500,000 will go to the Jülich group. Total third-party funding for Jülich life sciences (thousands of euros) 2008 2,391 2009 4,344 2010 4,614 2011 4,765 Physicists at Forschungszentrum Jülich aim to clarify the function of a key pro- tein involved in blood clotting in a new DFG research unit. Corynebacterium glutamicum is a soil bacterium used throughout the world in the biotechnological production of amino acids. As a microbial cell factory, it can al- so be used to manufacture many other products. DNP-NMR – Sharper focus on biomole- cules | The project “Dynamic Nuclear Polarization – Nuclear Magnetic Reso- nance” (DNP-NMR for short) combines two established techniques – nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin resonance – in order to clarify the struc- ture of molecules. The aim is to gain more information on complex biomole- cules or in the field of materials science to study surfaces, such as those of cat- alysts, in more detail. A team of re- searchers from the Jülich Institute of Complex Systems and scientists from the Heinrich Heine University Düssel- dorf were granted € 2.2 million for this purpose by the DFG for a period of three years (2011–2014). RWTH Aachen University and the University of Münster are also involved.