Martina Havenith-Newen is Coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV.
Fundamental biological processes take place in aqueous solutions. The role of the solvent has long been neglected.
Enzymatic reactions are fundamental biological processes that occur in aqueous solutions. Both reaction partners, the enzyme and the substrate, interact with each other. Calorimetry is a method of determining very precisely the amount of heat that occurs in these biological processes under equilibrium conditions before or after the reaction. For the overall balance that decides whether this process is energetically favourable, both the enzyme-substrate interaction and the interaction of both reaction partners with the solvent must be observed.
Terahertz (THz) calorimetry, which is being developed in the project, is a new method that allows these individual contributions to be determined using laser spectroscopic fingerprints in the THz range. This enables not only a better understanding, but also makes it possible for the first time to investigate calorimetric factors with millionfold better temporal resolution in real time.
The ERC Advanced Grant of Professor Martina Havenith-Newen is endowed with 2.5 million euros.