BMS Guest: Dr. Martin Frank

martin frank Dr. Martin Frank research crosses the border of real and virtual: he creates computational molecular models and performs virtual screens. Since the first days of computer science he was hooked on code and is using it ever since to answer the burning questions of chemical biology. Involved in several international initiatives to systematically introduce the bioinformatic tools into the field of glycobiology, like EuroCarbDB and (the first one discontinued due to lack of further funding), Dr. Frank pleads for standardization of glycan analysis data and better communication between chemists, biologists and computer scientists. His open source software CAT (Conformational Analysis Tool) is freely available for use by the scientific community. But, hinting at the human lack of understanding of molecular processes and imperfections of any software tool, its Terms and Conditions states: "If you are using CAT you agree that you do this completely at your own risk!!!". Now, dare you say scientists are not funny!


berlin minds Berlin Minds: A Community of Leaders in Science, the Arts, and Business

For the House of Cards addicts amongst you, my favorite character is young, ambitious and somewhat silly journalist Zoe Barnes. Do not underestimate her, though - the way I see the development of the show, she will be the only one with mind, wit and skills to step on Frank Underwood´s tail *. We meet her running errands as a Washington Herald trainee and, when she suggests to her then-boss-later-lover Lucas Goodwin that she would like to start a Capitol Hill kiss and tell blog for the Herald, he brushes her off with the remark that she just wants to show-off with rubbing shoulders with the mighty and powerful.

Life at the Biomolecular Systems is not always a "ponyhof", as a German would put it. What really keeps us going is that once and then we get a blast of doing something extraordinary, sometimes ludicrously heuristic and annoyingly unpredictable, still, something with a huge impact. My visit to the Berlin Minds event on one of the  last days of 2013, was such an occasion. ...

BMS Newcomer: Dr. Fabian Pfrengle

fabian pfrengle, mpikg, plant carbohydratesChemical synthesis of plant carbohydrates is a brand new theme arising in the Department of Biomolecular Systems where chemical synthesis of naturally occurring carbohydrates is a common denominator. To get down to the subject, Dr. Fabian Pfrengle left the sunny hills of La Jolla, California where he spent his formative postdoc years in the Paulson Laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute and joined our intellectually flourishing Department in rainy Berlin. Armed with a set of new skills for defining carbohydrate based ligand-receptor interactions in immunological studies, Dr. Pfrengle will use his strong background in organic synthetic chemistry and his vast teaching experience to establish a research group Synthetic Plant Carbohydrates. The Group will use the automated solid-phase synthesis for creating a library of synthetic plant carbohydrates, then tackle their biological and medicinal application.

BMS Interview: Dr. Jens-Peter von Kries and Dr. Marc Nazaré

jens peter von kries, marc nazare, fmp berlin screening unitDr. Jens-Peter von Kries and Dr. Marc Nazaré are researchers of specific allure: they bring the industrial way of thinking into academy. They are front-runners of the new wave of the Health Politics in Berlin-Brandenburg: cluster facilities to support large-scale research, deduce from the plenty of data, analyze in details, implement, spin-off and translate to the market e.g. to the bedside. Still, they keep their eyes open and their mind tuned to simultaneously investigate some basic questions in the field of Chemical Biology. ...