On January 1, 2013, the German Research Foundation (DFG) will establish a new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The research team of scientists from Mainz and Frankfurt, coordinated by Professor Dr. Robert Nitsch, Director of the Institute of Microscopic Anatomy and Neurobiology at the Mainz University Medical Center, has been awarded funding of approximately EUR 9.3 million for an initial period of four years. The purpose of the CRC is to study the molecular and cellular interactions that enable the brain to maintain a balanced functional state in the form of network homeostasis. By gaining a more in-depth understanding of these mechanisms, the scientists involved also hope to provide new insights into disease processes in the brain, so that it becomes possible in the long term to develop new treatment options.
The main aim of CRC 1080 "Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Neuronal Homeostasis" is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of network homeostasis in detail. If successful, it should provide the ideal requirements for the development of medications to treat cerebral diseases in humans. Specifically, Nitsch's team of researchers intends to study various classes of molecules, such as those relevant to the control of cell-to-cell interactions and signaling processes. According to Nitsch, insight in this area is the key to understanding the importance of homeostatic mechanisms in the body, in particular in relation to disorders of the human nervous system.
Doris Ahnen, Rhineland-Palatinate's Minister of Science and Chairperson of the Advisory Council of the Mainz University Medical Center, praised Professor Dr. Robert Nitsch's team: "The success of the bid for a DFG Collaborative Research Center again demonstrates the excellent potential for innovative research at the University Medical Center and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. In January 2012, the CI3 -Cluster for Individualized Immune Intervention, also coordinated from Mainz, did well in the Leading-Edge Cluster Competition organized by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The purpose of the CI3 project is to develop customized diagnostic instruments and treatments. In early July 2012, a new transregional DFG Collaborative Research Center for the study of the causes of multiple sclerosis was launched under the coordination of Professor Dr. Frauke Zipp. And just a few days ago, the European Research Council awarded Professor Dr. Robert Nitsch an ERC Advanced Grant worth EUR 2.5 million for planned future research projects." This current success confirms that "our cutting-edge research at Mainz University Medical Center is among the best in Germany" and can compete with others at the top international level.