Elsa Sánchez-García receives „PLUS 3“ grant from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

September 09, 2015

Three more years of research and a grant up to 900.000 Euro: The Perspective Programme of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation provides outstanding young scientists with excellent conditions for their work. Dr. Elsa Sánchez-García from the Theory Department of the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung was accepted into the programme this August. The Foundation supports her project “Computational Design of Molecules with Therapeutic Potential”.

The molecular understanding of the events involved in enzymatic activity is of key importance for successful research in enzymology. In this context the group of Dr. Sánchez-García develops computational models for the rational manipulation of enzymatic properties. These models may guide the experiments and help to avoid time consuming, expensive, and frequently unsuccessful “trial and error” work in the lab. On the other hand, the cooperation with top experimental groups allows one to assess the quality of the models and to verify the theoretical predictions.

One of the goals of the project is to regulate enzyme properties via the rational manipulation of three factors: the mutagenesis of key residues, the interactions with the solvent, and the introduction of ligands that are able to alter protein function. Methodologically, the research of Dr. Sánchez-García combines molecular dynamics simulations with quantum mechanics, molecular mechanics and free energy calculations.

The project is funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, which is an independent, non-profit foundation committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. The Perspective Programme “PLUS 3” gives outstanding young group leaders in the fields of medicine, biology, and chemistry the chance to sharpen their research profile and gain suitable career opportunities.

Independent group leaders can apply for between 200.000 Euro and 300.000 Euro annually for up to three years. The support covers the salary for the scientist's position, personnel expenses as well as equipment, consumables and travel allowances. The decision about the selection is taken by the Executive Committee of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and is based on the recommendations of the foundation's scientific board of advisors as well as external reviews.

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