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Towards Femtosecond Electron Diffraction of Proteins


"Proteins are highly dynamic machines, perfectly engineered by nature to fulfil their dedicated function like e.g. catalysis of chemical reactions or signalling processes. Crystallography and ultrafast spectroscopy techniques gave fundamental insights to develop a time-resolved picture of biological function. However experimental tools to study ultrafast protein dynamics with atomic and ultrafast time resolution in the same experiment to fully access and describe the structure-function correlation of biochemical processes have been lacking so far. The ambitious goal of the proposed project is to explore sample preparation strategies for the test systems Bacteriorhodopsin and Myoglobin/Hemoglobin to extend the new technology ""Femtosecond electron diffraction"" (FED) to studies of proteins. FED is a method complementary to ultrafast studies using new X-ray free electron laser sources. The main challenge for this study is sufficient sample preparation and development. For this the group of Oliver P. Ernst at University of Toronto, a world-known structural biologist specialized in rhodopsin research, acts as outgoing host. In the group of R. J. Dwayne Miller, acting as host, at Max-Planck-Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Hamburg, the femtosecond electron diffraction experiments will be carried out, grounded on their expertise as the world-leading group in developing ultrabright electron sources on par with the European XFEL and inventors of the FED technology. The researcher Henrike M. Müller-Werkmeister is the perfect candidate for this extremely interdisciplinary project, as biochemist by training and experienced in measurements of ultrafast biomolecular dynamics using multidimensional laser spectroscopy."

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/analytical chemistry/spectroscopy
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/geology/mineralogy/crystallography
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/optics/laser physics

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IOF - International Outgoing Fellowships (IOF)


Hofgartenstrasse 8
80539 Munich
Activity type
EU contribution
€ 242 049,60
Administrative Contact
Rj Dwayne Miller (Prof.)