This Research Training Group (RTG) is dedicated to educating PhD students in the synthetic realization, theoretical description, photochemical characterization, and biomolecular application of photolabile protecting strategies for the control of chemical and biological processes with light.

Light is an ideal external trigger whenever spatial or temporal aspects are important in an experiment. Highly precise levels of control can be obtained with a photolabile group which prevents correct folding or reactivity until the moment of “uncaging” with a laser pulse. Up to now, the majority of systems that have been developed rely on irreversible triggering of single processes unidirectionally with 2D spatial resolution.

This RTG will go considerably beyond this state of the art and develop complex uncaging strategies including novel irradiation strategies, wavelength-selective addressability of multiple caging groups and methods for two-photon uncaging with 3D spatial resolution. On the application side this RTG will explore new scenarios of light-control with special foci on time-resolved NMR spectroscopy in solution and in solid-state and advanced light microscopy as methods. In particular we will investigate protein and RNA folding, transport processes across and enzymatic processes within membranes and protein arrangement in three-dimensional space and we will develop new tools for subcellular or ultraresolution localization of proteins and RNA. For this highly interdisciplinary goal, the RTG consists of groups with expertise and publications in computational design, organic synthesis, NMR and optical spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, (membrane) protein engineering and advanced light microscopy.

The teaching curriculum of this RTG is vital to conduct high impact research in this direction, as it will provide the necessary educational support across disciplines along with the generic skills for a fast and successful PhD phase. Important elements in the RTG will be the high coherence of the group of PhD students together with the PIs, a close supervision, structured scientific interaction, a fine-tuned selection of courses in generic skills, the guest scientist program as well as several workshops that will be held. Thus, we will ensure an optimal research education for PhD students who will obtain training in synthesis, theoretical description, spectroscopic methods and advanced light microscopy for diverse career options in academia and industry.