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Projects funded by the German Research Foundation – DFG

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is the central self-governing organisation of science in Germany. It funds research projects at universities and other research institutions.

The DFG supports cooperation between researchers at regional and supra regional level in Germany. It supports university research networks with a multidisciplinary research program that focuses on one topic (Collaborative Research Centres – SFBs and Transregional Collaborative Research Centres – TRRs). There are also Germany-wide cooperation networks of individual researchers working on the same topic in an interdisciplinary manner (Priority Programmes – SPPs), Clinical Research Groups – FORs, which focus on clinical research with a specific disease- or patient-oriented research focus, and Equipment Centres to promote the establishment of equipment centre infrastructures, so-called Core Facilities.

Kick Covid - A prospective analysis of the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being and health care among children with a high-risk chronic condition and their families

The Corona pandemic has led to changes in the medical care of children and adolescents. Children and adolescents with a chronic disease are particularly vulnerable, as they are dependent on regular health services on the one hand and at higher risk for a severe course of COVID-19 on the other hand. In an interdisciplinary research program, the short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic on these children and adolescents will be examined with respect to changes in medical care as well as their physical and mental health. We focus on children and adolescents (aged up to 18 yrs) with three common chronic diseases, type 1 diabetes, obesity, and rheumatic diseases. Patients and their parents will be asked about their physical and mental health, their use of health services and their COVID-19-related stress as part of their participation in the three large established patient registries: diabetes prospective follow-up registry (DPV; N=77,413), prospective registry for overweight and obese children and adolescents (APV; N=124,130) and national pediatric rheumatology database (N=14,000). The already existing health parameters in the registers will be extended by patient reports on their psychosocial situation by a corona-specific questionnaire. In addition, the psychosocial resources and risk perceptions of children and their parents will be recorded and their influence on the use of health services as well as on their physical and mental health will be analyzed.
The prospective design allows the analysis of interindividual differences and its influencing factors. By accessing already existing prospectively collected data sets of the three patient registers, changes in the medical care and health status of the children can be examined over time, i.e. before and during the pandemic.
In addition, an extended psychosocial survey is carried out in a subsample. We will consecutively include all children and adolescents who take part in their routine examinations within one year, have already agreed to participate in the patient register and gave their informed consent to an additional survey. Parents provide information for children under the age of 12, for older children self-reports will also be collected.
The overall aim of the project group is to identify and evaluate the medical care situation and the physical and mental health of children and adolescents with chronic diseases (main endpoints) as well as their interactions during the pandemic. This allows identifying differences and commonalities in the effects of the pandemic on the care and health of children of different diseases. Recommendations for further care practices can be derived.

PI at the DRFZ
Kirsten Minden


DFG CRC 1444 - Directed Cellular Self-Organisation for Advancing Bone Regeneration

The  Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1444 “Directed Cellular Self-Organisation for Advancing Bone Regeneration” aims to reveal the processes involved in bone regeneration especially in aged individuals where bone healing is impaired. Bone regeneration is also altered in people with chronic inflammation or metabolic disorders. Understanding the underlying principles is crucial for a personalized approach for treatment.

PIs at the DRFZ
Andreas Diefenbach, Anja  Hauser, Raluca Niesner, Julia Polansky, Antigoni Triantafyllopoulou


FOR2165: Regeneration in ageing

The research group investigates the mechanisms of bone and cartilage regeneration after damage. In particular, the early immune response and restoration of mechanical competence with regard to changes during ageing. In sub-project 7 conducted at the DRFZ, osteo-immunological interactions in the course of fracture healing are analysed using longitudinal intravital imaging.

PIs at the DRFZ:
Anja Hauser and Raluca Niesner



DFG CRC TRR 241 Immune-Epithelial Communication in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

The etiological background of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) is still poorly understood, in particular the local cellcell interactions. The driving hypothesis behind this new joint initiative is that a dysregulated signal exchange between the epithelium and immune cells and the consequences thereof contribute to the pathogenesis of IBD.
The DRFZ focuses on how the crosstalk of intestinal microbiota and immune cells can affect intestinal barrier functions and on how mechanisms of the innate immune system can initiate inflammation or, in contrast, lead to epithelial protection and barrier repair.

PIs at the DRFZ
Hyun-Dong Chang, Andreas Diefenbach, Ahmed Hegazy, Andrey Kruglov, Andreas Radbruch, Chiara Romagnani, Antigoni Triantafyllopoulou


DFG SPP 1937 Innate Lymphoid Cells

The DFG Priority Programme SPP 1937 Innate Lymphoid Cells is a national, interdisciplinary priority programme for the structured funding of research groups conducting joint research in the new scientific field of the Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs).

ILCs are a group of lymphocytes of the innate immune system discovered recently. They are important effector cells in the immune defense of infections and tumors. However, they are also involved in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases such as chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis etc..

It is now also known that ILCs are tissue-resident cells that strongly impact on the biology of various organs and tissues.

Three research groups at the DRFZ are investigating the interaction between ILCs and the surrounding tissue in order to gain an understanding of the development of chronic inflammatory diseases.

PIs at the DRFZ:
Andreas Diefenbach, Chiara Romagnani, Anja Hauser


DFG CRC TRR 130 - B cells: Immunity and Autoimmunity

The aim of the Transregional Collaborative Research Centre TRR130 B cells: Immunity and Autoimmunity is to gain a better understanding of the role of B lymphocytes in physiological immune reactions and in chronic inflammatory diseases.
The DRFZ contributes to this consortium with its expertise in the field of memory B lymphocytes, especially memory plasma cells, in a biomedical and clinical context.
Furthermore, it provides optical technology development, i.e. flow cytometry and intravital microscopy.

PIs at the DRFZ:
Andreas Radbruch (Co-Speaker), Hyun-Dong Chang, Thomas Dörner, Anja Hauser, Falk Hiepe/Tobias Alexander, Mir-Farzin Mashreghi, Henrik Mei, Raluca NiesnerMargitta Worm


Expired projects in 2020

GERMANET - German Mass Cytometry Network

Mass cytometry (CyTOF technology) is a new technology that captures the complexity of cellular systems in unprecedented detail and promises significant contributions in biomedical diagnostics and research. The DRFZ initiated the establishment of the nationwide German Mass Cytometry Network GERMANET for mass cytometry in Germany: The aim is to bring together the expertise of all German mass cytometry centres.

PI at the DRFZ:
Henrik Mei

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