General Information


Life science research (NanoBioMed ) is one of the core research areas of Saarland University.

Research in such institutions is highly interdisciplinary and requires close collaboration between faculties from different disciplines. This is particularly challenging, as each discipline also requires a dedicated "mindset" and way to approach scientific problems. Based on their training, a biologist undoubtedly views a scientific problem from a different perspective than a chemist or a pharmacist. Therefore, the goal of this graduate school is to train doctoral candidates from different disciplines to understand and speak "the scientific language of the other".  A skill set that is often required in the PhD-related research projects, where often methods of different fields (natural product chemistry, microbiology, medicine, chemical ecology, bioinformatics and systems biology) have to be integrated or are part of the broader project context. The interdisciplinary mindset and education is not only necessary in academia, but also highly demanded in industry!


Within the framework of this interdisciplinary doctoral program, doctoral students in chemistry, pharmacy, biotechnology, as well as human and molecular biology will get the opportunities to train and learn to collaborate on joint projects in the field of natural product research. Due to the diverse study backgrounds, the doctoral candidates bring a wide range of modern, but also very different, methods into the program. This lays the foundation for innovative interdisciplinary research.

Scientific Key Topics

The scientific topics of relevance for the graduate training program fall into the following main subcategories:

  • Organic (total) synthesis of natural products
  • Isolation/characterization of natural products from microorganisms
  • Biotechnological and molecular biological methods for the production of natural products
  • Bioinformatic and chemoinformatic approaches in natural product chemistry
  • Pharmacological and functional evaluation of natural product-based drugs
  • Design and synthesis of drug-like scaffolds
  • Host-microbe-pathogen interaction

Training Concept

The graduate training programme has the aim to bring doctoral candidates of the UdS together and assist them in their training to become the leading scientists of the next generation.
A canon of selected courses will impart key competencies in neighboring disciplines. For example, a lecture series on "Natural Product Research" or block courses on new methods are particularly suitable, but also attending courses from neighboring disciplines is recommended. The educational program extends over a period of three years, during which a specific set of courses should be completed.
These could include attendance of scientific colloquia as well as events of the Graduate Program GradUS of the UdS, advanced lectures and scientific conferences. To support active participation in conferences (poster presentations and lectures), we can also assist in acquiring e.g. travel fellowships of different organization. Furthermore, the graduate school organizes symposia and colloquia where doctoral candidates not only present their results but also invite high-ranking members of the research community from all areas of natural product research.

Advantages for Doctoral Candidates

Interdisciplinary Research: Attendance of interdisciplinary lectures, seminars and block courses
Networking: e.g. social events, interdisciplinary exchange with other doctoral candidates, connection to industry, get-to know your next employer,
Presentation and discussion skills: e.g. Student Symposium
Help and Support: E.g acquire financial support for participation in professional events and further education
Certificate upon completion of the program stating your training achievements according to the graduate school program


Interested individuals can apply at any time to the coordinator of the graduate school. Further information can be found here.