MBI’s Fingerhut Receives 2018 ERC Starting Grant

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Benjamin Fingerhut, junior group leader at the Max Born Institute (MBI), is recipient of the 2018 European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant to address ultrafast biomolecular dynamics via a nonadiabatic theoretical approach.

The award is granted by the ERC to support excellent researchers at the beginning of their independent research careers. The grants are designed to support researchers in establishing their own independent research program and are awarded to researchers up to seven years after receiving their Ph.D. to conduct a research program at a European university or research institute. The grants are awarded under the “excellent science” pillar of Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation program.

Fingerhut joined the MBI in 2014. He is currently funded by an Emmy Noether Early Career Grant of the German Research Foundation and has established the Biomolecular Dynamics Junior Research Group at the MBI. The group pursues close collaboration with experimental research conducted at MBI, which applies the most advanced methods of femtosecond nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy for mapping the relevant interactions of biomolecular processes. The group's research involves the development of state-of-the-art spectroscopic simulation techniques and their application to the real-time determination of ultrafast structural dynamics of molecular and biomolecular systems. The group combines analytical and computational approaches for novel simulation protocols suited to investigate complex nonadiabatic dynamics.

The project is devoted to the fundamental understanding of ultrafast biomolecular vibrational dynamics in the mid-IR/THz spectral region, where biologically highly relevant dynamics occur. The innovative nonadiabatic approach addresses fundamental problems such as proton transfer, vibrational lifetimes, and the dissipation of excess energy. The project aims to elucidate ultrafast biomolecular vibrational dynamics in dipolar liquids within nanoconfined environments and in the vicinity of biological interfaces. As such, the nonadiabatic approach to biomolecular vibrational dynamics facilitates insight into transmembrane proton translocation mechanisms, which is highly relevant as the microscopic foundation of cell respiration.

Published: September 2018
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