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Clusters of Excellence

CIBSS – Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies

It is the goal of the Cluster CIBSS – Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies to gain a comprehensive understanding of signalling processes across biological scales. The CIBSS Research Team will use this knowledge to develop strategies to precisely control signalling processes. This will not only accelerate research, but also fuel innovation addressing important challenges in biomedicine and plant sciences.

Building on the University of Freiburg’s strong tradition of excellence in biological signalling studies, CIBSS will pioneer a novel, integrative approach that will advance the frontiers of signalling research. The CIBSS Research Programme unites three complementary research fields: (1) Signalling, (2) Metabolic and Cellular Cross-talk, (3) Control-of-Function.

CIBSS was selected for funding as a Cluster of Excellence in the German Excellence Strategy on September 27th 2018.


Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS)

The cluster “Living, Adaptive, and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems” (livMatS) develops bioinspired materials systems that adapt autonomously to various environments and harvest clean energy from their surroundings. The intention of these purely technical – yet in a behavioral sense quasi-living – materials systems is to meet the demands of humans with regard to pioneering environmental and energy technologies. The societal relevance of autonomous systems and their sustainability will thus play a crucial role in their development.

Bioinspired materials, efficient energy systems, and reactive, self-repairing materials with different and often even contradictory properties and functional conditions all meet in a quasi-living materials system. Energy autonomy, adaptivity, longevity, and sustainability are the core properties of the materials systems to be developed in livMatS. They will be investigated and combined with each other in four research areas: A – Energy Autonomy, B – Adaptivity, C – Longevity, and D – Sustainability.

livMatS was selected for funding as a Cluster of Excellence in the German Excellence Strategy on September 27th 2018.


BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

Biological signaling processes form the basis of life for all of an organism’s cells. A more precise understanding of these processes can therefore provide solutions to many biological challenges and spur advances in medical research and practice. True to its slogan “from analysis to synthesis,” BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies has succeeded for the first time ever in combining signaling research with methods from synthetic biology: It applies modern analytical methods and strategies from synthetic biology to make sense of complex biological signaling processes and control them in creative and playful ways. In a close collaboration between biology, medicine, and engineering, BIOSS researchers develop strategies and devices for deciphering the signals that regulate life in and between cells and modifying them for medical purposes – for instance to control the signals of tumor cells.

BIOSS was successful with its proposal in the first round of the Excellence Initiative (2006–2012) as well as with its renewal proposal in the second round (2012–2017) and will be put on a permanent footing from 2019 with funds provided by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg and the University of Freiburg.


BrainLinks-BrainTools

BrainLinks-BrainTools conducts research at interfaces between machines and the human brain. The goal of the Cluster of Excellence is to develop flexible yet stable, intuitive assistance systems for people with neurological restrictions and diseases. The cluster combines the fields of biology, microsystems engineering, computer science, and medicine. The initiative focuses on two areas of application: The first involves interfaces that use brain activity to read intentions and commands and control external devices. Examples include prostheses for paralytics or communication aids for stroke patients undergoing rehabilitation. The second area of application is intelligent implants that are capable of autonomously identifying and treating disturbances in brain function like those associated with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and other neurological diseases.

BrainLinks-BrainTools was successful with its proposal in the second round of the Excellence Initiative (2012–2017) and will be put on a permanent footing from 2019 with funds provided by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg and the University of Freiburg.