Dr. Benjamin Fingerhut, junior group leader at the Max Born Institute (MBI), is recipient of the prestigious ERC Starting Grant 2018. The project addresses ultrafast biomolecular dynamics via a non-adiabatic theoretical approach. The award is granted by the European Research Council (ERC) to support excellent researchers at the beginning of their independent research careers.
As of today the European Research Council (ERC) has announced the awardees of its Starting Grants. In the highly competitive selection procedure, the research proposal of Benjamin Fingerhut has been selected for funding. ERC Starting Grants are designed to support excellent early career researchers in establishing their own independent research programme. ERC Starting Grants are awarded to researchers up to 7 years after their PhD to conduct a research programme at a European university or research institute. The grants are awarded under the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme with a funding of up to € 1.5 million for a maximum of 5 years.
The successful 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 non-adiabatic 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 non-adiabatic approach to biomolecular vibrational dynamics facilitates insight into transmembrane proton translocation mechanisms which is highly relevant as microscopic foundation of cell respiration.
Dr. Benjamin Fingerhut has joined the MBI in 2014. He is currently funded by an Emmy Noether Early Career Grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG) 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 non-adiabatic dynamics.