The state government of Hesse is funding the “LOEWE Schwerpunkt,” led by the Epilepsy Centre at the University Hospital Frankfurt, with 4.7 million euros between 2018 and 2021.
Epilepsies represent a pathogenetically and clinically heterogeneous group of diseases for which only relatively non-specific and symptomatically effective therapies are available. Many patients do not become seizure-free or suffer from treatment-related side effects. In order to improve the success of therapy, a personalized and, if possible, disease-modifying, instead of only symptomatic treatment is necessary.
In the coming years, the goals of the scientists involved are the identification and validation of epileptic-relevant disease factors, their therapeutic modification and the identification and validation of biomarkers of epilepsy and epileptogenesis. These goals are to be achieved with state-of-the-art molecular biological, clinical and experimental neuroscientific methods available to the LOEWE research network “CePTER”.
In the CRC “Molecular and cellular mechanisms of neural homeostasis”, the Goethe University cooperates with the University of Mainz and the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt as well as the Institute for Molecular Biology in Mainz as part of the rhine-main neuroscience network = rmn². The object of research is the ability of the nervous system to maintain a balanced and stable inner state (“homeostasis”) while constantly having to deal with a changing environment. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the importance of homeostatic mechanisms for the human organism and in particular for the diseased nervous system. The DFG made 9.3 million euros available in 2012 for an initial period of 4 years. In 2017, another 12 million euros were approved for a second period of 4 years. The SFB spokesperson is Prof. Amparo Acker-Palmer.
The Collaborative Research Centre 1193 “Neurobiology of Resilience” was established in July 2016 and is funded with 12.1 million euros for an initial period of 4 years. As part of the rhine-main neuroscience network, neuroscientists from Frankfurt and Mainz are jointly investigating which processes in the brain enable protection against the harmful effects of stress and stressful life events. Specifically, the scientists involved want to investigate and understand the mechanisms of resilience – a kind of “mental resistance”.
The DFG Priority Programme SPP 1926 aims to generate novel optogenetic tools, for application in Neuro- and Cell Biology. The SPP 1926 was approved in 2015, and projects were chosen for funding in the spring of 2016. Speaker of the programme is Prof. Alexander Gottschalk, Frankfurt. 13 Projects, most of them collaborative, comprise a total of 27 labs which will jointly form the SPP 1926 for the coming 3 years. The team aims to introduce genetically encoded or addressable, light-controlled proteins or molecules in heterologous cells, tissue or whole animals to enable temporally precise and largely non-invasive control of molecular, cellular, or network activities.
The brain is a complex network of billions of nerve cells that forms the basis of our cognitive abilities. Understanding the structure of this network is an important step towards understanding its function. The field of neuroscience has now reached the age of connectomics, the ultimate goal of which is to gain a comprehensive description of the interconnection of all components of the brain. The priority program led by Prof. Dr. Jochen Triesch aims to strengthen this new area from the mathematical point of view. The focus is on the development of calculation models and theories to describe and explain the measurement data. How exactly do the connections in the brain function? Which nerve cells and which brain areas talk to each other? Further main focuses are the development of automated analysis techniques that facilitate the collection of such data, as well as the administration and exchange of data.