International Doctorate in
Structural Biology

International Doctorate in Structural Biology

In collaboration with Biozentrum at the University of Frankfurt and the Bijvoet Center at the Utrecht University

The International Doctorate in Structural Biology is an international doctorate in collaboration with the Universities of Frankfurt and Utrecht. It was established with an agreement signed by the three Rectors since 2001. On the basis of this agreement, the PhD title that students obtain at the end of the program is considered equivalent to that obtained at the Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research and to the PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Frankfurt.

The doctorate course aims at the formation of PhDs who are at the forefront of knowledge and education in the field of modern investigation methodologies in structural biology, biotechnology and systems biology. It provides a wealth of knowledge to the training of experts in the field of structural chemistry applied to biological macromolecules in solution, in fibrils, in membranes or in cell, and in the field of molecular biology for the expression of isotopically enriched recombinant proteins.

Host Institution

The Magnetic Resonance Center (CERM) of the University of Florence is a Research Infrastructure supported by the European Commission for providing transnational access to biological NMR. CERM is one of the first laboratories in the world for quality of equipment, production and scientific credibility in the field of structural biology and NMR. The infrastructure is uniquely equipped with a large number of NMR spectrometers ranging from 1200 MHz down to 0.01 MHz, through 950, 900, 850 WB, 800, 700, 600, 500 and 400 MHz spectrometers. Many of these instruments are equipped with a cryoprobe. It has a specialized tradition in the investigation of metalloproteins and in particular of paramagnetic metalloproteins. CERM is a core member of INSTRUCT, the European infrastructure for integrated structural biology, which includes centers for cutting-edge technology, scientific expertise and training.


Students are trained at the interface between biology and inorganic chemistry through biocomputing and biospectroscopy. The long term educational aim is to create scientists capable to frame specific problems in a general context, to consider multi-disciplinarity as a primary need and to consider trans-national collaboration as a requirement to develop a coherent generation of European scientists. 

The subjects at the basis of the course are:

1) nuclear magnetic resonance (in solution and in the solid state) and X-ray crystallography for structural studies, function and dynamics of biological macromolecules, protein-protein interactions;

2) molecular biology and cellular biology techniques for preparation and manipulation of proteins, DNA and bacterial consortia;

3) development of new drugs through drug design techniques;

4) bioinformatics as a basic strategy for the study of kinetic and thermodynamic phenomena and protein dynamics, for learning and developing methods for the use of genomic databases in order to identify molecular targets for developing new drugs;

5) metabolomics.


The doctoral program relies on the collaboration of research groups from the Universities of Utrecht, Frankfurt, Lyon and Oxford, among the most important in the world in the area of structural biology.


For further information and applications please contact CERM Secretariat at:


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