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Helmholtz Zentrum München is coordinating the new Innovative Training Network (ITN) “Advanced Machine Learning for Innovative Drug Discovery”. Also participating is Professor Paul Czodrowski from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Biology of TU Dortmund University. In the framework of its Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), the European Union has awarded the project €3.93 million in funding, of which around €150,000 have been allocated to TU Dortmund University.
The project Advanced Machine Learning for Innovative Drug Discovery (AIDD) will bring together fifteen institutions from ten European countries and the University of British Columbia (Canada), which will train sixteen doctoral researchers in close collaboration with associated partners from the USA, Australia, China, Israel, and other countries. Project leader is Dr. Igor Tetko from the Institute of Structural Biology in Munich. The project builds on the institute’s experience in qualifying doctoral researchers for translational research in the areas of drug discovery and chemoinformatics. In three previous projects, it was responsible for the supervision of no less than 64 European fellows.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming an increasingly important foundation for work in the chemical industry. However, the use of AI in this sector is not easy and demands an extensive knowledge of chemistry. The aim of the new AIDD network is to train a future generation of scientists – with excellent skills in both machine learning as well as chemistry – to shape drug research through innovation.
Valuable contribution for future research in Europe
The fellows will develop methods for predicting chemical reactivity and an interpretable multi-expert system for drug discovery, integrate microscopy images and structural information for assessing the biological and toxic effects of molecules, and validate calculation models for the design of new compounds. They will especially benefit from the opportunities offered by the recently launched Helmholtz AI platform, which include seminars, courses, tutorials, and above all personal contact to Professor Fabian Theis, head of the Helmholtz Artificial Intelligence Corporation Unit (HAICU), and his team. These activities are an important component of interdisciplinary drug research at Helmholtz Zentrum München, which builds on new insights into disease mechanisms to develop new therapy approaches.
“The AIDD project combines theoretical know-how with access to valuable proprietary data and the expertise of the industrial partners in medical and synthetic chemistry, thus producing innovative AI methods. Another focus is to train the next generation of researchers in interdisciplinary drug discovery and make a valuable contribution to future research in Europe,” says Igor Tetko, the project’s coordinator.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) of the European Union foster international and cross-sectoral research careers. The actions are part of Horizon 2020, the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The Innovative Training Networks (ITN) are the most prestigious MSCA projects, with a typical success rate of five to ten percent.
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dortmund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dortmund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station (“Dortmund Universität”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station (“Dortmund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop “Dortmund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dortmund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dortmund Universität S”.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dortmund Universität S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.