Success For Collaborative Research Centres
27 May 2019
Heidelberg University has won support from the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the latest approval round with approximately 66 million euros in funding for five collaborative research centres. A new collaborative research centre (CRC) at the Medical Faculty Heidelberg will focus on glioblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumour. The faculty is also home to a CRC on pain research as well as a transregional collaborative research centre (CRC/TRR) that together with partners in Tübingen and Mainz is exploring issues of dermatology and immunology. Both consortia will continue their work for a second funding period. The humanities collaborative research centre “Material Text Cultures” has entered its third four-year funding period. In addition, researchers from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim are principally involved as co-applicants in a new CRC/TRR that is researching the loss and regaining of control over the use of addictive drugs. Funding has been renewed for a weather forecasting research group with participation of Ruperto Carola.
The Collaborative Research Centre “Material Text Cultures” (CRC 933) is focused on artefacts that bear writing from societies in which writing was or is not reproduced by industrial means. This includes inked bamboo splices from old China, ancient graffiti on gold coins from the Roman Empire, and Early Modern Age printed family registries manufactured for handwritten entries. Researchers from various disciplines of the humanities are collaborating in the CRC to develop new interpretative methods for analysing these writings. By attempting to reconstruct the artefacts especially with regard to their spatial and practical contexts, they hope to gain insight into the relationships between materiality, writing, and the cultural practices of premodern cultures. CRC spokesperson is mediaevalist Prof. Dr Ludger Lieb from the Department of German Language and Literature at Heidelberg University. The Heidelberg College for Jewish Studies is a member of CRC 933, which will receive funding in the amount of approximately 11.7 million euros. With the third funding period, the collaborative research centre established in 2011 will reach the maximum funding duration of twelve years.
The new Collaborative Research Centre “Understanding and Targeting Resistance in Glioblastoma” (CRC 1389) is focused on decoding and specifically combating resistance in glioblastoma, a serious and usually fatal disease in children and adults. The underlying goal of the research consortium based at the Medical Faculty Heidelberg is to develop new types of treatment. Even the basic molecular mechanisms of primary or secondary resistance at work in most of the standard treatment methods are not fully or only partly understood. At the heart of the CRC concept is the “Core Collection”, for which uniform, integrated data sets from different high-throughput processes, preclinical models, imaging, and clinical data are being generated. The spokesperson for the CRC, which has been allocated total funding of approximately 12.4 million euros, is Prof. Dr Wolfgang Wick, Executive Director of the Neurology Clinic at Heidelberg University Hospital and Head of the Clinical Cooperation Unit Neurooncology of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Besides the DKFZ, another partner is the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University.
Researchers in CRC 1158, “From Nociception to Chronic Pain: Structure-Function Properties of Neural Pathways and Their Reorganization”, will investigate how acute pain becomes chronic. One special area of exploration will be how to block or reverse this transition by studying the changes in nerve cells and pathways when pain becomes chronic. Prof. Dr Rohini Kuner, Executive Director of the Institute of Pharmacology at Heidelberg University’s Medical Faculty, will continue to serve as the CRC spokesperson. Partners include the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, the University of Würzburg, Saarland University in Saarbrücken, and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn. The DFG is supporting the research consortium with approximately 15.6 million euros.
The transregional Collaborative Research Centre “The Skin as Sensor and Effector Organ Orchestrating Local and Systemic Immunity” (CRC/TRR 156) is investigating the role of the skin in fending off pathogens, in handling of environmental triggers, as well as in coordinating systemic immune responses. The researchers in this group study how immune cells of the skin interact with each other as well as with other types of skin cells and the cutaneous microbiome. Their work is also aimed at providing new insights into how different cell types in the skin influence other immune cells and hence the body’s multi-layered immune response. The intent is to develop novel therapies for chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis. Prof. Dr Alexander Enk, Executive Director of the Heidelberg University Dermatology Clinic, continues to serve as spokesperson for CRC/TRR 156. Joining the transregional CRC, which will receive funding of approximately 13.6 million euros, are the universities of Tübingen and Mainz as well as the German Cancer Research Center.
The work of the Transregional Collaborative Research Centre “Losing and Regaining Control Over Drug Intake: From Trajectories to Mechanisms to Interventions” (CRC/TRR 265) is devoted to developing a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for people’s loss of control in drug consumption. The researchers will attempt to identify, at the behavioural, cognitive, and neuroscientific level, the triggers and influencing factors that lead to a loss of control over drug intake. On that basis they then hope to develop therapies that will help people regain control over their drug use. Deputy spokespersons of the transregional consortium are Prof. Dr Falk Kiefer, Medical Director of the Addictive Behavior and Addiction Medicine Clinic at the Central Institute of Mental Health (ZI), and Prof. Dr Dr Heike Tost, Research Group Head at the ZI. Both are professors at the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University. The lead institution of the CRC/TRR 265, with funding of approximately 13.1 million euros, is Charité – University Medicine Berlin. The Dresden University of Technology is another partner.
The Transregional Collaborative Research Centre “Waves to Weather” (CRC/TRR 165) is investigating the limits of predictability in weather forecasting and the scientific fundamentals required for the next generation of forecasting systems. At Heidelberg University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, the “Visual Computing” research group, headed by Prof. Dr Filip Sadlo, is addressing this by researching novel visualisation techniques. The research is focused on techniques that enable effective analysis of the resulting weather simulations as well as a better understanding of the simulation processes themselves. The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich is the lead institution for CRC/TRR 165, which will receive DFG funding in the amount of approximately 13.3 million euros. Also applicants in the transregional consortium are the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Mainz.