Graduate School of the SFB1423

The goal of this Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) is a training program that comprehensively addresses all aspects of current GPCR research. This profile will qualify graduates for an independent career in various acdemic and industrial areas. The doctoral researchers are expected to spend about 5-10% of their time on qualification, which is mainly covered by this program. A comprehensive qualification program will be established comprising four sections: scientific modules, annual summer schools, international laboratory rotations, and professional skills workshops. The SFB1423 depends on interdisciplinary collaboration of the project leaders. That also applies to the research projects of the doctoral researchers. Therefore, each doctoral researcher will be co-supervised by at least two advisors.

Upcoming Events 

more information coming soon

Advancing as a scientist, both out- as well as inside academia, comes with increased leadership responsibilities. In the interactive workshop “Leadership Skills for Natural Scientists” the participants learn the essential leadership skills which are necessary to be successful as a PhD student, to start supervising MSc and BSc students and to later facilitate a successful transition from PhD to senior scientist or the dream job outside academia.

The participants learn about the distinct leadership styles with their advantages and drawbacks, and we further discuss how situational leadership can be applied. In a simple role play the participants practice clear communication between supervisor and student, which is beneficial in both roles. Further, through this activity the participants get acquainted with bottom-up leadership. As a group we determine the traits of “a good leader” and practice additional leadership and communication skills such as self-presentation, networking, pitching and storytelling techniques.

registration: send an email to Juliane 

3 PM

in this PhD meeting you can get feedback on your talks/posters for the upcoming Retreat


The training on “Visual Communication of Science” is made for doctoral students, Postdocs, and other researchers. The aim is to train scientists in the principles of visual communication so that they can present their ideas and results clearly and effectively in journal papers and grant proposals, on posters and on slides—one training to cover all of their essential visual communication requirements.

Date: 16-17 May 2022

Format: online


DAY 1 (9:00 am – 4:30 pm)
  • Communicating with scientific vs non-scientific audiences
  • Visual perception and what humans find intuitive
  • Visual organization: simplifying comprehension through structured layout
  • Eye-flow:effortlessly guide the audience through the design
  • Colours:how to amplify, not ‘fancify’
  • Discussion on pre-submitted figures: facilitator’s feedback on a selection of pre-submitted figures from participants
  • Drawing exercise & group work: participants draw a graphical abstract of their research and give each other feedback on how to improve

DAY 2 (9:00 am – 1:30 pm)

  • Slides that amplify messages and don’t distract when presenting
  • Discussion on pre-submitted slides: facilitator’s feedback on a selection of slides from participants
  • Posters: strategy and process for creating posters that attract and explain
  • Group work – posters feedback: participants share their posters and give and receive feedback

Trainer: Facilitator Dr. Jernej Zupanc, Founder of Seyens LTd.

“My goal is to help scientists effectively communicate their ideas and findings and make an impact with their research. Communication is my professional passion. I read and study eclectically, always looking for approaches from diverse fields that scientists can readily apply. I distil the principles and broadly applicable practices into relevant, enjoyable, and engaging learning experiences. Everything is structured, memorable, and facilitated so researchers can learn and apply the new knowledge in the shortest possible time. I want to create the world’s best transferrable communication skills training.

Since 2013, I have worked with over 4000 researchers in 22 countries (Europe, US and Asia) and regularly run training for clients around the world at excellent research institutions, universities, and multinational companies.

I did my doctorate and was a postdoc in computer science at the University of Ljubljana and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Northeastern University, Boston. Before my full-time professional dedication to training, I worked at a startup as Head of Computer Vision and as an Evaluator of Horizon 2020 projects for the EC. I also consulted companies on European funding and helped 20 clients receive over €25 million in public and private funding. My professional profile is on LinkedIn.”

Please register by sending an e-mail to 

4 PM

Speaker will be announced soon

4 PM

Speaker will be announced soon

Registration Closed.

Date: 1-5 August, 2022

Format: online via zoom

The class will meet virtually on 5 days in the week from August 1st to August 5th always 3 pm-6 pm . The laboratory portion will proceed on the same dates 7 pm-10 pm. Additionally, a short introduction to the Linux command line will be offered on the first day. This is a one credit course.

Announcement & Program: click here


Proteins and nucleic acids have characteristic three-dimensional structures which equip them to play specific roles as, e.g., receptors, enzymes, transporters, antibodies, or cellular scaffolds. The number of experimentally determined structures of biological macromolecules in the worldwide protein databank (PDB) has increased substantially over the last years, and more than 200,000 biomolecular structures are currently available. By analyzing these structures, we not only obtain detailed insight into the way how biomolecules function, but also gain understanding about the design principles of proteins and the evolution of protein structure on a large scale.
To access, interpret, and manipulate structural data of biological macromolecules, computational methods have become an indispensable tool that enables researchers to solve diverse biological problems. For example, how do mutations in a gene affect a protein’s shape or the binding of a small-molecule substrate? How do membrane proteins couple chemical signals to the transport of small molecules or ions across the cell membrane? How can the affinity of an antibody recognizing a viral protein be increased to block virus entry into cells and prevent an infection?
The course will cover the theory, computational algorithms, data resources, and practical tools used for the study of biomolecular structure. Students will get introduced into ALPHAFOLD, ROSETTA, and AMBER, comprehensive software packages used for a wide range of applications such as the prediction of protein structures with and without the aid of experimental data, the modeling of the interaction of proteins and peptides with each other and with small-molecule ligands, and the design of proteins with improved or completely new functionalities. Computational structural biology methods become increasingly important for the interpretation of biological findings (e.g., from genomics data) and the engineering of therapeutics and probe molecules in biomedical research. The course will include practical lab exercises that will consolidate the theoretical concepts learned and train students how to use ALPHAFOLD, ROSETTA, and AMBER to perform advanced computational experiments.

Please register by sending an e-mail to

3 PM

in this PhD meeting you can get feedback on your talks/posters for the upcoming Retreat

more information coming soon

4 PM

Speaker will be announced soon

4 PM

Speaker will be announced soon

4 PM

Speaker will be announced soon

Doctoral Researchers

Here you will find the young scientists currently participating in the graduate school who have agreed to this online list.

Project Group A

Project Group B

Hannah Lentschat (B01)

Lisa Peuker (B01, associated)

Manuel Christian Troll (B01)

Project Group C

Maik Pankonin (C01)

Pauline Löffler (C05, associated)

  • Marvin Bremer (A03)
  • Miron Gershkovich (A03)
  • Md Abdus Sattar (B03)
  • Fabio Pieretti (B04)


We believe that the doctorate is the most important and decisive period in a young researcher’s career planning process. Therefore, all doctoral projects are generally co-supervised by two advisors to ensure a constant feedback from two independent backgrounds. The main advisor is the leader of the project the researcher is employed in and a second advisor preferentially with an orthogonal expertise is chosen in agreement between doctoral researcher and advisor. The second advisor may also come from Vanderbilt University. In addition, modern science is highly international and interdisciplinary, therefore, we strongly encourage our researchers to indulge in such international exchange and expose themselves to a solid piece of work experience abroad.

All doctoral researchers and thesis advisors need to sign a mutual supervision agreement that regulates the details of the support, expectations, the frequency mode of progress reports and other practicalities during the thesis. Also, measures of conflict resolution will be detailed in this agreement as well as support for young parents. We will also discuss these issues with all Project Leaders on the first retreat of the CRC and develop a common text that can be used by each group.

Download PDF: click here

Professional Training

The Graduate School offers a variety of resources and professional development programs to help graduate students and postdocs achieve their professional goals. Doctoral students and postdocs will benefit from our continuing education programs. 

Course contents

  • Chemical Modification of GPCRs
  • Expression Technologies
  • Endocrinology
  • GPCR Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology
  • Evolution of GPCRs
  • Computer Modelling
  • GPCR Drug Discovery
  • GPCR Cell Biology

Coming soon.


PhD Meetings

One of the tasks of the graduate school is to establish a good network between the post-scientists involved in SFB1423. To this end, monthly meetings are held for doctoral students to present and discuss their own research topics.

Juliane gave an outlook of the upcoming programme of the Graduate School

Franziska Wiechert gave a talk about her work

Robin Schick (A06, AG Sträter) “Investigating the GPS cleavage of dCIRL”

Friederike Höpfner and Nina Reininghaus gave a talk about their research

Anne Borman gave a talk about her research

David Speck will give a talk about his research.

Florian Seufert will give a talk.

Farewell to 2020

Mareike Hemberger (Langenhan Group B06) will give an overview of her current work. Anett Albrecht will give a short insight in “Lab book guidelines & handling of research data” (30min). 

Victoria Most (A07, AG Meiler) “Tackling the challenge of modeling long loops with irregular tertiary structure”

The second online PhD-Meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 23 at 3 PM.

Summer Schools

A key element of the summer schools will be presentation of their research by the doctoral researchers. These presentations will be given without the project leader of the project being present such that a good learning atmosphere will be created.

Our first Winter School took place March 14-17, 2022

Our second Summer School took place September 08 – 10, 2021

Our first Summer School took place September 14 – 18, 2020

2022s Winter School took place in Naunhof (>>program (PDF)).

2021s Summer School took place in Lutherstadt Wittenberg (>> program (PDF))

2020s Summer School took place virtually (>>program (PDF)).

2022: Research Data Management 

2021:  Posterfeedback focussed on visual aspects

Lecturer: Birgit Lukowski

2020:  Convince with your conference talk presentation skills for scientists

Lecturer: Dr. Carsten Rohr


  • Sören Schuster (CFH Management GmbH, Venture Capital-Industry)


  • Dr. Guido Reuther (Professor for applied physics, HTWK Leipzig)
  • Dr. Tilman Häupl (Teacher)


  • Dr. Martha Sommer (Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, Charité Berlin)
  • Dr. Lars Baumann (Bayer AG, Research & Development, Pharmaceuticals, Lab head “Peptide Drug Innovations”)

Laboratory Rotations

undergraduate students
graduate students
faculty members
joint publications

International exchange is a normal mode of successful research in the 21st century. Over the last 10 years, very extensive scientific collaborations between Vanderbilt and Leipzig Universities have been established. 

Key elements of this ongoing collaboration are scientific exchanges of students, postdocs, and Project Leaders for extended periods of time to conduct research, learn new methods, and teach scientific courses. So far, 47 teaching modules have been taught by Project Leaders at the respective partner university. We would like to emphasize that this exchange took place on all academic levels involving: so far 53 undergraduate students, 32 graduate students, 22 postdoctoral researchers, and 65 Project Leaders toke part in this exchange program, and has resulted in 59 corporative scientific papers.

The graduate students and postdocs in the CRC are require to undergo a 3 to 6-month lab rotation in a group of the partner university on either side of the Atlantic. 


  1. Find suitable lab among the labs within the CRC or from the Vanderbilt University.
  2. Create a short description of the project, include your CV and an invitation letter from receiving lab.
  3. Send your Proposal to the coordinator Juliane Adler ()
  4. The decision on the proposal is made by the board.


The SFB1423 offers fellowships (up to 5 months) for doctoral projects in its subprojects for

  • Scholarships for PhD students with a master’s degree or diploma (university) in natural sciences
  • Scholarships for medical students (after first level of the Medical Exam)

The scholarship provides financial support for carrying out the experimental part of the doctoral project.

Amount and duration of the scholarship
Scholarships can be awarded up to five months. The amount of the fellowship is 861 Euro per months for medical students and 1.000 Euro per month for PhD students in natural science.

Who can apply?
PhD students in natural sciences and medical students who have passed the first level of the Medical Exam.

How do I apply?
Please visit the homepage of our collaborative research centre and find out about the subprojects in the SFB1423. Please contact the principal investigator of the subproject you are interested and send your application forms to him/her.

Application deadline
Applications are possible at any time. There is no application deadline.

Instruction sheet for the application of scholarships in SFB1423 
(1st funding period, valid from 01.01.2020)

Downloads (Documents and Forms)