2019-03-29

Klaus Faber endowed professorship for substance bioinformatics officially launched

Olga Kalinina is the new endowed professor at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland

An increasing number of bacteria are developing resistance to commonly used antibiotics, making it imperative to advance research into new antibiotics for clinical and medical use. Olga Kalinina, the new endowed professor for substance bioinformatics, is dedicating herself to this task. Since January this year, the scientist has been based at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), a branch site of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the Saarland University, working on developing new antibiotics from biologically active natural substances. Her research will be supported until 2022 by the Klaus Faber Foundation in Saarbrücken, with a total of 1.6 million euros.

Kalinina_590x240.jpg© HIPS/DietzeTaking over the endowed chair means Olga Kalinina is working at the interface of two research focal areas in Saarland: Natural substance and drug research with a focus on antibiotic development at the HIPS, and bioinformatic modelling of drug molecules and their interactions at the Center for Bioinformatics (CBI) at Saarland University.

Kalinina studied mathematics at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, then turned to bioinformatics and received her doctorate in 2007 at the Engelhardt Institute for Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of the Sciences in Moscow. Funded by an EMBO Long Term Fellowship, she worked at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg from 2007 to 2009, followed by a stint at the University of Heidelberg. She then joined the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, where she completed her habilitation in 2018. Olga Kalinina's research focuses on the mathematical modelling of molecular interactions between proteins and small drug molecules; in addition, she also researches the significance of genetic mutations for the development of antibiotic resistance.

The Klaus Faber Foundation is a partner of Saarbrücken-based Klaus Faber AG, one of Europe's largest cable distributors and a top provider in the cable and wire industry. The foundation supports relevant projects in medical research and applied medicine. The establishment of this new professorship represents the second engagement at Saarland University for the Klaus Faber Foundation, which also enabled the creation of a Centre for Corneal Diseases at the eye clinic at University Clinic in Homburg with a donation of 1.2 million euros at virtually the same time.

In 2016, the Klaus Faber Foundation donated 1.6 million euros to the CaritasKlinikum St. Theresia in Saarbrücken to finance a state-of-the-art operating theatre for vascular interventions (Klaus Faber Hybrid Operating Theatre).

The guests at the opening ceremony included Tobias Hans, Prime Minister of Saarland, Manfred Schmitt, University President, and Andreas Schmitt, Klaus Faber Foundation Board Member.

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