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© Würzburg Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) © Würzburg Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) © Würzburg Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS)

Exploring the architecture of life

Research foci of the GSLS

From molecular models to complex biosystems

Research and teaching of the GSLS spans the entire spectrum of the life sciences from the molecular to the organismic and ecosystem level.

Research and teaching activities of the GSLS are organized into five sections. They each reflect broad research fields with multiple links both within and across sections. The current sections are formed around ongoing collaborative research efforts.


The section Biomedicine involves the study of physiological and patho-physiological processes. Current research efforts range from molecular interactions to the study of consequences at the in vivo level. Ultimately, the goal is to explore new strategies for diagnosis and therapy. The section particularly emphasizes tumor and cardiovascular diseases. Proteins as potential targets of therapeutic drugs are a prime focus. Such "target proteins" are key determinants of cellular functions, and they orchestrate the fundamental properties of cells, organs and organisms. The comprehensive analysis of target proteins and their integration in physiological networks is one of the main challenges in biomedical research.

Infection and Immunity

The section Infection and Immunity represents a second major research focus of the University of Würzburg. Scientists from the participating faculties rely on state-of-the-art methodologies to tackle pressing questions in infectious disease research. The scientific program spans research on host-pathogen interactions, genome research in pathogenic microbes, identification of novel anti-infectives, molecular processes of immune responses, mechanisms of tumorigenesis induced by microbes, T- and B-cell immunity, and new concepts in immune therapy.

Integrative Biology

The section Integrative Biology aims at a cross-taxon approach to complex biological phenomena and systems. It deals with integration across all levels of biological organization and emphasizes common concepts in living organisms. The hallmark of research in this section is the combination of organismic and molecular biology and a focus on the use of model organisms. Subject areas include biochemistry, bio-organic chemistry, biophysics, molecular biology, microbiology, physiology, cell and developmental biology, genetics, bioinformatics, ecology, and evolutionary biology.


Neuroscience is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the life sciences. The section Neuroscience brings together expertise in system physiology, behavioral neuroscience, molecular biology, molecular structure and function, organic and pharmaceutical chemistry and bioinformatics. Current research focuses on developing a common language for theoretical research on neuronal networks, intelligent control systems in computing sciences, identification of new drugs based on knowledge of disease processes and structures of key molecules, and the development of new concepts to characterize the neurobiological principles underlying cognition, emotion, and behavior.

Clinical Sciences

The research of the section Clinical Sciences aims at translating target molecule identification and new diagnostic and therapeutic venues into treatment and prevention strategies in clinical settings and the general population. Doctoral researchers are integrated into three main research areas: Clinical Research, Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research.

In addition to the above sections, the MD/PhD-program is designed to attract medical students who want to embark on a career in translational and clinical research. Doctoral researchers who graduated from the MD/PhD program are active in diverse positions in biomedical and clinical research. The MD/PhD program is not linked to any particular area of research, but offers research projects in all subject areas covered by the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF). The unifying principle is to train MDs in biomedical research on projects of clinical relevance.