University of Freiburg to receive 25.8 million euros for collaborative research centers

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) has approved grant applications for two collaborative research centers (Sonderforschungsbereiche, SFBs) at the University of Freiburg: one for continued grant funding, and one for initial grant funding. Altogether the University will receive approximately 25.8 million euros for the funded projects over the next four years. "After the approval of the cluster of excellence CIBSS - Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies, the success of our two collaborative research centers is once again proofing the strength of our research in the life sciences and medicine at the University of Freiburg," said Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, the Rector of the University of Freiburg. Scientists from various faculties of the University of Freiburg, the University Medical Centre and from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics are working together in the two collaborative research centers.

Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1381 "Dynamic Organization of Cellular Protein Machineries: From Biogenesis and Modular Assembly to Function"
Grant sum: 14.5 million euros

This new CRC investigates how different proteins are dynamically assembled into complex multimers, the so-called protein machineries. The focus of the CRC lies on the organization of these machineries in modular units, the regulation of their assembly and disassembly, and the impact of these processes on cellular functions. Most important cellular functions are not carried out by individual, single proteins, but by protein assemblies that can range in size from a few protein subunits to a multitude of different components. These protein machineries play a central role in the energy metabolism of the cell, the replication, repair, and transcription of DNA, and the folding and degradation of proteins. They are also involved in the communication within and between cells and in the transport of molecules and ions. The goal of the CRC 1381 is to define and understand the dynamic processes of the assembly and organization of these machineries, and to gain insight into the fundamental processes in a living cell. This will allow new approaches for precise manipulations and therapeutic treatments in the future.

Researchers from the University of Freiburg's Faculties of Medicine, Biology, as well as Chemistry and Pharmacy are teaming up with researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in this CRC. The speaker is Prof. Dr. Chris Meisinger from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Faculty of Medicine.

Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1160 "Immune-Mediated Pathology as a Consequence of Impaired Immune Reactions (IMPATH)"
Grant sum: 11.3 million euros

In its second phase of funding, this CRC is continuing to focus on the causes of immunopathology, or diseases mediated by the immune system. Researchers in the CRC are challenging the idea that an overreaction of the immune system is always responsible for causing an immune-mediated disease. They argue that suppressing such an overreaction is therefore not always the best strategy for treatment. The project is based on the assumption that immune reactions that are too weak can also lead to immunopathology. The researchers are referring to this condition as the "IMPATH paradox." The CRC's goal is to enable a better understanding of this form of immunopathology and to apply this knowledge toward developing new forms of treating immune-mediated diseases.

The CRC 1160 consists of researchers from the University of Freiburg's Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Biology, the University Medical Center Freiburg, and the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics. The spokesperson is Prof. Dr. Stephan Ehl, the medical director of the Center of Chronic Immunodeficiency of the University Medical Center Freiburg.

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