As junior research group leader, Stephanie Kath-Schorr has secured a substantial grant to facilitate a research project in the field of chemical biology. The prestigious “Plus 3” Perspectives Programme by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is worth 800.000 Euro and will support her work over a period of three years.
Dr Kath-Schorr and her team investigate the mechanics of non-coding RNA in living cells at the University of Bonn in Germany. Only a few years ago, the main purpose of RNA was considered to be that of supplying genetic information. The main part of our genetic constitution is translated into RNA, however, only a small fraction of the RNA strand provides information for the production of proteins in the cell. Scientists now agree that the remaining part, so-called non-coding RNA, is more than “junk DNA” – in fact, it plays a vital role in numerous processes affecting the living cell. Stephanie Kath-Schorr aims at developing new analysing methods which enable her to place markers on RNA strands in the form of signaling molecules in order to further clarify the workings of non-coding RNA.
The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation aims at supporting outstanding junior group leaders in Germany involved in basic research in biology, chemistry, and medicine with the “Plus 3” funding programme. It is designed to help them focus on the productive phase of their first temporary position as research group leaders to pave their way to a tenure professorship. Approximately a third of grantees are women and 85 % of successful "Plus 3" applicants between 2010 to 2016 obtained professorships.