Prof. Fingerhut and Prof. Stingele receive highly endowed ERC grants

Nov 23, 2023

The European Research Council supports innovative projects through Consolidator Grants.

Quantum dynamics, media research, genetics, political science, astronomy, medicine, and art history: nine researchers from a wide variety of disciplines have been awarded a Consolidator Grant in conjunction with LMU, among them Prof. Benjamin Fingerhut and Prof. Julian Stingele from the Faculty for Chemistry and Pharmacy. The award comes with funding of up to two million euros for a period of five years. Through Consolidator Grants, the European Research Council (ERC) helps excellent scientists expand and consolidate their innovative research. The basis for the ERC’s decision in awarding the prestigious grants is the scientific excellence of the applicant and of the proposed project.

Quantum dynamic simulations

Benjamin Fingerhut is Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at LMU. His main research interests include ultrafast dynamics in condensed phase.

The interaction of a quantum system with its environment can lead to novel phenomena and possibilities that are not present in isolated quantum systems. This creates the need for computational methods for precise and reliable simulations of the many-body dynamics of open quantum systems. In his project NG-Quapi (Next Generation Quasi-Adiabatic Propagator Path Integral (Quapi) Methods for Condensed Phase Quantum Dynamics), Fingerhut plans to further develop so-called quasi-adiabatic propagator path integral (Quapi) methods to facilitate simulations of the quantum dynamics of complex systems and environments and obtain a better understanding of the phenomena in such systems. As envisioned, the new approaches and algorithms will permit the development of a comprehensive numerical software platform for such simulations. This development has great potential, as it would enable extremely challenging simulations that are not yet possible on conventional computers and are conceivable only on customized quantum devices.

Having completed his doctoral studies at LMU, Benjamin Fingerhut worked as a researcher at the University of California, Irvine, and at the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy in Berlin, before returning to his alma mater in 2022.


Prof. Dr. Benjamin Fingerhut | © LMU

Crosslinking damage to RNA and proteins

Prof. Dr. Julian Stingele | © Jan Greune / LMU

Professor at LMU’s Gene Center Munich, Julian Stingele investigates mechanisms that detect and resolve damage to biomolecules.

Cells are constantly confronted with complex crosslinking damage to their biomolecules, which are caused by reactive metabolites as well as exogenous sources. In his project DECONSTRUCT (Deconstruction of complex crosslinking damage), Stingele will investigate how crosslinking damage to RNA and proteins affects cellular homeostasis. To this end, he will employ novel experimental model systems combined with genetic and proteomic approaches to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which crosslinking damage can be detected and resolved. He plans to use these findings to discover the physiological role of RNA and protein damage in the reaction to formaldehyde generated during cell differentiation and to crosslinking chemotherapeutics. Stingele expects the results will make an important contribution to our understanding of cellular quality control and genome stability and will have far-reaching effects on cancer therapy and our understanding of aging processes.

Julian Stingele completed his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Planegg-Martinsried. Subsequently, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London, before coming to LMU in 2017.