Looking back at Helmholtz Virtual Institutes at the HZDR: NanoTracking & MEMRIOX
The Virtual Institutes of the Helmholtz Association focus the core competences of one or more Helmholtz research centers with one or more universities in order to create a center of excellence of international significance and attractiveness in an important research field.
The Helmholtz Virtual Institutes have their own executive and management structure and develop specific concepts to qualify their junior researchers. They are subsidized by the Helmholtz Initiative and Networking Fund with a maximum of 600,000 euros per year for a total period of three to five years.
Two of the twelve Virtual Institutes, which had been in operation from July 2011 to December 2016, were headed by HZDR researchers. The HZDR was also involved in the Nuclear Astrophysics Virtual Institute (NAVI).
Functional Nanomaterials for Multimodality Cancer Imaging (NanoTracking)
The Virtual Institute “NanoTracking” addresses the development of new, customized nanomaterials for cancer diagnostics and cancer therapy control. The participating scientists are seeking to develop extremely small nanoparticles which migrate quickly and almost entirely into tumor cells; thus, making these cells visible. That is why these nanoparticles need to be equipped with special probes and target seeking molecules. And this is what makes the research project headed by the HZDR so special: The nanomaterials ought to be very versatile and suitable for diverse diagnostic methods.
- Participating partners: HZDR, University of Münster, Heidelberg University, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, OncoRay Dresden, Monash University Melbourne, University College Dublin
- Headed by: Dr. Holger Stephan
Memory Effects in Resistive Ion Beam Modified Oxides (MEMRIOX)
The focus of the Virtual Institute “MEMRIOX” is on nanoscale structures which are based on oxidic compounds. Their electric resistance can be adjusted through current flow, an effect which permits them to act as electronic switches and non-volatile memories. In order to develop the appropriate material, the researchers use ion beams, i.e. highly accelerated, charged particles. This technology plays a vital role in the development of chips which are used as storage media and logic components.
- Participating partners: HZDR, Forschungszentrum Jülich, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, namlab TU Dresden, Jena University, ETH Zürich, University of California San Diego
- Headed by: Prof. Dr. Sibylle Gemming