The team of the Center for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) gave a warm welcome to seven RESIST members who came to visit on 29 August. First, the guests received general information about the center in the lecture hall from Prof. Kay Grünewald, the Scientific Director of the CSSB, who is also a RESIST researcher. Afterwards, the research of the 18 CSSB (including five associated) research groups and the four central facilities was presented to them in an interesting and descriptive way by the respective group leaders in short lectures. Prof. Blanche Schwappach-Pignataro, Chair of the CSSB Council and Dean of the Medical Faculty at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, then presented the new Cluster of Excellence initiative “Gateways to Health”. This revolves around interdisciplinary approaches to preventing or combating pathogens that have an impact on global life.

Prof. Schulz continued the program with a presentation of the Cluster of Excellence RESIST. He emphasized that RESIST brings together the North German institutions MHH, TWINCORE, TiHo, HZI, CSSB and the University of Lübeck. “RESIST has also laid the foundation for a better connection between the MHH, CSSB and the University of Lübeck. Building on this, it was possible to establish the joint new research training group “VISualisation and imaging of virus InfectION (VISION)”, which focuses on dynamic imaging and structural virology,” he said. The RESIST spokesman also reported on the “Hanover-Glasgow Infection Strategy” (HAGIS) project, in which RESIST working groups from Hanover and Hamburg are collaborating with the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) towards a joint international graduate college. Prof. Schulz also explained that the new MHH professorship at the CSSB, whose financial support was recently approved by the state of Lower Saxony, will deepen the relationship between the MHH and the CSSB. In addition, he noted that further joint projects are being planned.

A tour of the laboratory of RESIST researcher and MHH professor Jens Bosse, whose “Quantitative Virology” working group is based at the CSSB, and of one of the cryo-electron microscopes rounded off the RESIST guests’ visit to CSSB.

Strengthened cooperation

The Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) is a joint initiative of nine research partners from northern Germany – three universities, including the MHH, and six research institutes dedicated to infection biology research. There, researchers use state-of-the-art technologies and methods to investigate the molecular mechanisms of infections and thus understand how pathogens infect humans. The goal is to pave the way for more effective treatment options.

There are 13 research groups in the CSSB, five other teams are associated. In addition, there are the four central facilities for the key technologies light and fluorescence microscopes, cryo-electron microscopy, protein production and protein characterisation. At the CSSB there is also a research hotel for young researchers in the transition phase from post-doc to independent principal investigator. There are also plans to set up a cryo-electron microscope in a biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory, something that has not been done before anywhere in the world.

“We are happy to have had guests from RESIST visit CSSB,” notes Kay Grünewald “and we are looking forward to strengthening the interactions with RESIST colleagues, to explore future joint projects and to midterm welcome a further group from MHH at CSSB.”

It is possible – particularly for MHH researchers – to use the four CSSB core facilities for their own scientific work and also to participate in the necessary training courses beforehand. The Bosse group is happy to receive guests of the MHH at CSSB. If you are interested, please contact Prof. Dr. Jens Bosse, e-mail:

The photo shows the RESIST guests together with the CSSB hosts in front of the CSSB.