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New Collaborative Research Centre and funding extended for two CRCs at the University of Cologne

New Collaborative Research Centre and funding extended for two CRCs at the University of Cologne

The University of Cologne has been granted a new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In addition, two existing CRCs have been extended. The new CRC 1601 is entitled “The Cosmic Evolution of the Habitats of Massive Stars”. The CRC will be funded for three  years and nine month. Spokesperson is the astronomist Professor Dr Stefanie Walch-Gassner from University of Cologne’s Institute  for Astrophysics. The participating researchers are studying the cosmic evolution of the habitats of massive stars – the gaseous environments in which these stars are born and with which they interact. Due to their short life span and high energy output, massive stars have significantly influenced the evolution of galaxies since the beginning of the universe. 

Within CRC 1601, researchers are investigating the physical processes that determine the habitats of massive stars in different galactic environments. The new CRC combines four research branches: Laboratory astrophysics, instrument development, observations and theoretical modelling and simulations. The CRC partners have a strong profile as leading players in large international projects and have extensive experience in building and operating their own telescopes as well as developing state-of-the-art instruments in the infrared, submillimetre and radio wave range. New developments, in particular the launch of the FYST/CCAT telescope in 2024, in which the Universities of Cologne and Bonn have a 25 percent stake, will be optimally supported by CRC 1601.

“We are extremely pleased about the new establishment of CRC 1601. The funding enables us to pursue an integrative approach. By combining the four branches, we will be able to close major gaps in our understanding,” said Professor Dr Walch-Gassner. “High-resolution studies of the habitats of massive stars are combined with studies that look at the entire ‘galaxy’ system. This, and the inclusion of novel studies of the early universe and the accompanying extreme and highly variable conditions that prevail in young galaxies, will enable us to understand and quantify the cosmic evolution of the habitats of massive stars.”

In addition, two further Collaborative Research Centres at the University of Cologne are entering their second funding period:

CRC 1399 “Mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance in small cell lung cancer”

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is newly diagnosed in Germany up to 8,000 times a year. It is the most aggressive type of lung cancer due to its rapid cell division, resistance to treatment and tendency to metastasize early. Unfortunately, little is known so far about the molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis. The goal of Collaborative Research Centre 1399 is to advance our understanding of the molecular evolution of the disease. These new findings will then be incorporated into clinical applications to improve the survival rate of SCLC patients. Experts from different research fields are working together in this CRC: Biochemistry; signalling and structural biology; medicinal chemistry; structure-guided pharmaceutics; cancer immunology; modelling computational cancer genomics; molecular pathology and clinical trials.

Professor Dr Roman Thomas, spokesperson for CRC 1399 and head of the Department of Translational Genomics at the University of Cologne, said: “The funding approval and the extension of our CRC 1399 for another funding period is very good news for us. The funding will allow us to continue working towards our goal of deciphering the molecular mechanisms of SCLC and deepening our understanding of the disease. Our interdisciplinary team is cooperating closely to gain new insights and develop innovative therapeutic approaches that may ultimately help improve the survival of SCLC patients. We are grateful for the support and the opportunity to continue our research and thus contribute to precision medicine in the treatment of SCLC.” In addition to the University of Cologne, the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research and the Universities of Tübingen, Frankfurt, Bonn and Mainz are involved.

TR 259 “Aortic Disease”

In the Transregional Collaborative Research Centre 259 “Aortic Disease”, basic and clinical researchers of the Universities of Bonn, Düsseldorf and Cologne are working together to expand the incomplete understanding of fundamental principles in the genesis and development of aortic diseases. Pathophysiological mechanisms, i.e. pathologically altered functions of the aorta, are being investigated.

The research initiative aims to develop a better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in aortic diseases. A particular focus is on aortic valve stenosis – the most common heart valve defect. In Cologne, researchers are also investigating the genetic and inflammatory mechanisms involved in the development of aortic aneurysm, i.e. the pathological widening of the aorta. The findings will be used to develop new pharmacological, interventional and surgical treatment strategies.

Spokesperson in Cologne is cardiologist Professor Dr Stephan Baldus, head of Department III of Internal Medicine at University Hospital Cologne. “We are very pleased about the funding approval, as better research into the molecular causes of aortic diseases is essential in view of the high frequency of these diseases and the high mortality of our patients diagnosed with them. Furthermore, this CRC is a particularly suitable instrument to decisively further develop cardiovascular research at the Cologne site.”

Press and Communications Teams:
Jan Voelkel
+49 221 470 2356


Further Information:
Webseite Prof'in Walch-Gassner
SFB 1399 „Mechanismen der Medikamenten-Empfindlichkeit und -Resistenz beim kleinzelligen Bronchialkarzinom“
TRR 259 „Aortenerkrankungen“