The goal of CLiC is to educate 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 signal 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. Building on the groundbreaking work of the first funding period, we will continue developing more and more sophisticated one- and especially two-photon photolabile “caging” groups. The latter allow a highly precise three-dimensional photocontrol with resolutions down to few femtoliters. After the proof of principle, we will continue to investigate the new VIPER uncaging in which minute changes in caging groups can lead to unforeseen addressing selectivity. These strategies will be exemplarily applied to the photoregulation of DNA- and RNA-folding, the control of membrane protein reactions, receptor-clustering, chaperone function, immune suppressors, time-resolved mass spectrometry and protein synthesis inhibitors.

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 our Summer Schools. 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.