Entry into the training program will be competitive and the students must be officially enrolled in the respective graduate/medical schools of the host institutions. The composition of their advisory committees will meet the requirements of the host degree-granting institution and should include at least 2 PIs from the CRC (one must be from a different project than the students are working on). The committees for the PhD students will meet at least once per year, for the MD students at least twice during their tenure. Both, MD and PhD students are expected to publish their research in peer-reviewed Pubmed listed journals. Published papers may be used by MD and PhD students to submit a cumulative thesis, according to the regulations of the host degree-granting institution. Ideally, MD students prepare their thesis within six month after their tenure. While we will offer MD studentships for one year under the IRTG, it may be that some of the MD students will elect to extend their research to two years in order to qualify to obtain an MD/PhD which is offered at the UKE and other institutions. Support for the extension of their research period will be organized by the host laboratory or by successfully applying for a stipendium. Students wishing to obtain and MD/PhD will of course have to apply to and be accepted into the MD/PhD progam of their host institution. PhD students will be expected to complete their studies and submit their thesis within the normal 3 to 4 years.


Central aims

  • communication and presentation techniques
  • scientific writing
  • good scientific practice
  • project and time management

Structured training program

  • basic seminars in cell biology, biochemistry, statistics and immunology
  • advanced seminars
  • advanced methodological courses
  • counseling and mentoring program from PhD for MD students, termed P4M

These elements will improve students’ understanding of the basic mechanisms of inflammatory diseases and of AN biology, and will facilitate the translation of this knowledge into experimental and clinical settings. The students will obtain the necessary credit points as stipulated by the respective faculties. The courses in the list below are a sample of what they may choose from to meet these requirements.

Regular journal clubs in which new high-impact papers will be presented and discussed by the students/postdocs, will complement the seminars and methodological courses. As members of the CRC the trainees will participate in a monthly Science Afternoon, consisting of an invited lecture and progress reports from the CRC projects and attend the annual Scientific Retreat. Trainees who are not in Hamburg will participate via video conference.


Basic seminars

  • innate and adaptive immunity
  • cell biology of immune cells (T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils etc)
  • cell biology of ‘target cells’ of inflammatory processes studied in the CRC (neurons, mucosal cells, adipocytes etc)
  • enzymology
  • cell signaling mechanisms (paracrine signaling, intracellular signaling)
  • metabolism
  • basic statistical methods

Advanced seminars

  • Ca2+ signaling
  • ryanodine receptors (RYR)
  • TRP channels
  • metabolism and function of adenine nucleotide second messengers
  • chemistry of adenine nucleotide messenger molecules
  • differentiation and plasticity of T cells
  • immunosenescence and immune exhaustion
  • biology of Treg cells
  • purinergic signaling
  • adipocyte cell biology
  • autoimmunity

Advanced methodological courses

  • generation and use of antibodies and nanobodies
  • specialized live cell imaging techniques
  • optogenetics
  • electrophysiology
  • determination of protein structures
  • generation of transgenic and knock-out mouse models
  • innovative data analysis techniques
  • animal models of inflammation and disease

To increase student’s exposure and promote international scientific cooperation, the MD and PhD students will be able to organize short-term visits, with the aim of learning new techniques, to the labs of other PIs of the CRC (Hamburg, Göttingen, Bonn, and Munich) or to other national or international cooperation partners. The students will also be responsible for inviting some of the seminar speakers and keynote speakers for the annual retreat. 



University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf 
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology 
Martinistrasse 52
20246 Hamburg

Scientific Coordinator

Dr. Björn-Philipp Diercks
Fon: +49  (0) 40 7410 54338
E-Mail: b.diercks©


Laura Mitsching
Fon: +49  (0) 40 7410 50301
E-Mail: l.mitsching©