All organisms, from bacteria to humans are made of cells surrounded by membranes, which define them, separating them from their environment. Membranes precisely control what enters and leaves cells and how cells interact with each other and molecules in their environment. All these processes are fundamental to life; by harnessing and understanding them, we have the potential to influence human and animal health and disease, and generate improved microorganisms for biotechnological applications in the food, chemical and drug sectors.
The membrane has traditionally proven relatively intractable to study, mainly due to its hydrophobic nature. However, recent technological and methodological advances, with key inputs by Aston University, have enabled this field to progress rapidly. There is now an urgent need for increased research training in this area. There is established and emerging evidence for the involvement of the membrane in a wide variety of industrially-relevant processes, encompassed by MemTrain’s three core themes of medicines discovery, biotechnology and underpinning technology development.
MemTrain is a five-year multidisciplinary, intersectoral PhD training programme for 12 PhD researchers. This programme will train the next generation of researchers who are primed to work on developing a new understanding of how to harness the full potential of cell membranes by working the interface of industrial and academic science. To work across these traditional boundaries, researchers will require a diverse skillset enabling them not only to undertake fundamental research but to apply this knowledge to current real-world problems underpinned by excellent communication and transferable skills. Innovative, collaborative training programmes within MemTrain will equip these research leaders with these vital skills, allowing them to drive the future of intersectoral research across Europe and the world.