Dennis Quentin, PhD student in the department of Structural Biochemistry

What are you working on?
My work deals with the structural and biochemical characterization of membrane proteins. This class of proteins has an extremely high medical relevance and is the main target for the majority of the drugs approved on the market. Although our projects are very demanding and risk-laden, this motivates me to be at the forefront in this topical and highly competitive research field.

Why did you become a scientist?
In my opinion, basic research is tremendously important not only for us scientists but also for society because it lays the foundation for more practice-oriented applications. That’s why I’m very glad that through the insights I gain in my work I can make a significant contribution to this research. Our protein structures serve as the starting point for new drugs.

How do you like working at the Institute?
I feel very comfortable in the open and international environment of our institute. In addition to the central state-of-the-art facilities and excellent equipment, it is especially fun to discuss problems and interact with colleagues who have a different cultural background. Furthermore, I like the multidisciplinary approach in which scientists from different fields such as biology, chemistry, but also physics work together. This gives you the opportunity to look at a problem from a whole new angle and to look outside the box of your own field.

What drives you on in your work?
To advance into unfamiliar terrain and to understand what we find there. When we analyze a sample for the first time with our electron microscopes, I’m always aware that I’m probably the first person who has ever really seen this protein. However, setting the final structures into the biological context and fitting the missing puzzle pieces together is equally exciting.

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