Semester 1

The first semester in UniCA will provide the students with the foundation on structure and function of biological membranes. The courses will focus on the physicochemical properties of biomembranes and on understanding the molecular and cellular properties of the constituents of cell membranes, mainly lipids and proteins.

Three compulsory courses will introduce all MemBioMed students to the structure, composition and functions of biological membranes from a biochemical (Structural Biochemistry of the Cell), a molecular (Molecular Biology of the Cell) and a physiological (Signaling, Membrane transport and Pathologies) point of view. Students will then choose one between four courses on offer: for the biophysical aspect, students will choose, depending on their initial training, either an upgrade in biophysics (Biophysics) or a more advanced training in the use of mathematical models to the study of biological systems (Kinetics for modelling molecular mechanisms). Two other modules are designed to give students a medical and therapeutic perspective, with the choice of a course on current therapeutic approaches in clinical or preclinical research (New therapeutic approaches) or a course on genetic diseases (Genetics of major diseases). The thematic training in the first semester is supplemented by Tools Modules that enable students to acquire cross-disciplinary skills and can be chosen from a list (animal experimentation, biological image processing, life imaging, organoids, bioinformatics and biological imaging techniques for research and medicine). An initial experience in a research laboratory is required at the end of the semester in the form of a 6-8-week internship (Lab Rotation 1).

Semestre 2

The second semester in UniGe will provide the students with a comprehensive understanding of biomembranes-related pathologies and neurological functions. The courses will focus on the genetics and the molecular bases of disease, as well as the function and dysfunction and on therapeutics strategies used to modulate neuronal activity.


The main module of this semester provides in-depth knowledge of the molecular and cellular mechanisms related to human pathologies (Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology). A particular strength of the UniGe training programme is its emphasis on membrane biology in neurobiology and experimental medicine. Students will benefit from this expertise, acquiring a comprehensive toolbox of knowledge and skills to examine the basic mechanisms of pathologies and develop new prevention and treatment strategies (Neurobiology and Neurophysiology). Since the focus of this semester is on the protein components of biological membranes, which are the main targets in the search for new drugs, specific training will enable students to master the theoretical and practical knowledge of protein expression and engineering (Protein Expression and Engineering) and thus be better prepared for laboratory rotations and the Master's thesis. On top of the scientific modules, students will follow a business economics course, in which they will acquire a basic knowledge of the organizational aspects of a company. Concepts such as the creation, organization and management of a company will be covered, giving them a better understanding of their role within a company and their entrepreneurial potential (Creation, Organization and Management of Company). A second experience in a research laboratory is required at the end of the semester in the form of a 6-8-week internship (Lab Rotation 2).

Semester 3

The third semester in Osnabrück will focus on preparing the students for their master theses by providing methodological specialization in the field of cellular nanoanalytics. The courses will focus on advanced techniques to investigate biological functions at cellular membranes with highest spatial and temporal resolution.


A compulsory Master module (Advanced Methods in Membrane Biology) specifically designed for the MemBioMed programme will provide comprehensive training in membrane biology methodologies through lectures, seminars, and practical courses. Covering fundamental concepts as well as latest advancements, students gain theoretical and practical knowledge across a range of methodologies. This encompasses advanced fluorescence microscopy, cryo-electron microscopy, mass spectrometry-based proteomics and lipidomics, and lipid tools for molecular membrane biology. UOS pioneers interdisciplinary method development in these fields, supported by the cutting-edge CellNanOs infrastructural platform, as well as diverse method-oriented projects within the collaborative research centre (SFB) 1557 and the research train programme (RTG) 2900. The Research Proposal module aims to cultivate profound scientific and methodological expertise in a chosen specialized field of membrane biology through theoretical studies to craft from these studies a well-founded research proposal for the Master´s thesis. The goal of this MemBioMed-specific module is to equip students with independent scientific thinking and the ability to devise research strategies. Thus, it serves as a foundational step for each student's future Master's project and therefore will be conducted in collaboration with the prospective host lab chosen by the students for their Master's thesis. The practical part in semester 3 will also focus on professional qualification in solution-oriented research. Within an 8-week lab internship, a concise Research Project will be tackled. Supervised by a PhD student or Postdoc, students will carry out independent practical work, mainly experimental, on a research question in membrane biology from the current research areas of one of the biology research groups at the SFB 1557 collaborative research centre. For selecting suitable host laboratories, the students will take part in the introductory presentations from all group leaders of UOS Biology taking place in the week preceding the start of the semester, which is organized within the framework of the local Biology Master programme. Before the beginning of the semester students will take part in a German language and cultural course (Language and Culture).

Master thesis

The Master's thesis can be prepared in any of the consortium's institutions and associated partners, or in any other host structure, provided that academic validation has been issued by the consortium's committee. In semester 3, the consortium will issue a call for applications to institutions interested in welcoming students from the programme for their master thesis. Projects offered by the partners will be published and presented at orientation events including the summer school between semesters 2 and 3, promoting interaction of Master students with researchers at the partner institutions. We want to offer Masters projects with dual supervision by researchers from two laboratories in different universities. This will enable both high-quality master's theses and more regular contact between students and staff from the different partner higher education institutions. Students will benefit from complementary expertise and a more complete understanding of a research topic. The different methodologies, specialised equipment and unique working methods of each laboratory all contribute to broadening the student's skills and enhance both personal and professional learning. In addition, contact with members of both laboratories broadens the student's professional network. The interdisciplinary nature of the collaboration encourages a multidimensional perspective on research, increases the opportunity to co-author publications and raises the profile of both the student and the collaborating laboratories. Students will apply to the associated research laboratories/host structures, on the basis of a CV and a cover letter, and will inform the consortium committee of their acceptance. The choice of project and institutions for the Master's thesis must be made by December of the second year of the Master's programme.

Figure 1: Overall programme structure: starting out with an integration week, the cohort will sequentially study at UniCA (1st semester),
UniGe (2nd semester) and UOS (3rd semester) before finalizing the programme with a master thesis in one of the partner´s labs.