In the past years, members of the IBC2 have been very successful in securing external funding either through initiation of large-scale collaborative projects, through participation in other collaborative program grants, or by applying for individual grants.
IBC2 director Ivan Dikic is the speaker of two large scale collaborative networks: a Collaborative Research Centre (CRC/SFB) on selective autophagy (SFB 1177) and LOEWE program focusing on ubiquitin networks. He has been part of the managing board for the Cluster of Excellence Macromolecular Complexes since 2009, and is part of the local DKTK steering committee. IBC2 scientists lead projects in several other research networks funded through schemes by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the European Commission, the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts (HMWK), and the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).
The list of current grant providers for ongoing individual projects and fellowships includes the Adolf Messer Foundation, the DFG, the European Molecular Biology Foundation (EMBO), the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the HFSP, the MJ Fox Foundation, and the VW Foundation. Early career scientists at the IBC2 are encouraged and mentored to apply for independent funding and have obtained numerous competitive grants, some of which are still running, e.g. Emmy Noether Fellowships (Christian Behrends, Anja Bremm, Krishna Rajalingam), PLUS 3 Fellowships (Christian Behrends, Krishna Rajalingam), an ERC Starting Grant (Christian Behrends).
Cluster of Excellence: Macromolecular Complexes (CEF)
The CEF was funded in the first round of the Federal Excellence Initiative from 2006 to 2011, and successfully extended for a second period in 2012. CEF is an interdisciplinary centre within the Goethe University Frankfurt, in which scientists at the Goethe University Frankfurt and two Max Planck Institutes investigate large macromolecular complexes, in particular membrane proteins and their assemblies, complexes involved in signal transduction and quality control, and RNA-protein complexes. The aims are to determine structure and function of macromolecular complexes at an increasing level of complexity, to pursue unique collaborative projects and to promote high-risk projects. The Cluster is dedicated to scientific excellence and early independence of young researchers.
Funding period 1: 2006 - 2011
Funding period 2: 2012 - 2017
Speaker: Volker Dötsch
Participating Group Leaders at IBC2: Andreas Ernst (Adjunct Investigator), Christian Behrends (Associated Member), Ivan Dikic (Principal Investigator, Board Member), Christian Pohl (Adjunct Investigator), Volker Zickermann (Associated Member)
Link to webpage: www.cef-mc.de
DKTK Frankfurt/Mainz: The German Cancer Consortium
DKTK is a joint initiative involving the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), participating German states, German Cancer Aid and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). It was established in October 2012 with the aim of translating innovations in diagnostics and therapy quickly from basic research into clinical practice. DKTK comprises the core center in Heidelberg and seven partner sites in Germany, one of which is Frankfurt/Mainz. Here, interdisciplinary teams at both, universities and clinics in Frankfurt and Mainz, strive to improve cancer therapy through linking structural biology, medicinal chemistry and clinical medicine.
Speaker: Hubert Serve
Project partners at IBC2: Christian Behrends, Ivan Dikic (member of local steering committee)
Link to webpage
The LOEWE Center for Cell and Gene Therapy is funded by the Hessian Excellence Initiative (Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz, LOEWE) since 2011 and is a joint effort between Goethe University Frankfurt (lead), Georg Speyer House, Max Planck Institute Bad Nauheim and Paul Ehrlich Institute Langen.
Funding period 1: 2011 - 2013
Funding period 2: 2014 - 2016
Speaker: Andreas Zeiher
Project partners at IBC2: Ivan Dikic
Link to webpage
LOEWE CGT aims at developping innovative cell and gene therapy procedures for more effective and safer clinical application. Scientists at the Center work on deciphering molecular mechanisms underlying regenerative processes mediated by stem cells and genetic reprogramming, on elucidating the potential use of immunocompetent cells for treatment of malignant diseases, and on delineating the genetic basis for leukemias and immune deficiencies. Clinical applications range from cell-based regenerative therapies of cardiovascular diseases to gene therapy for selected immunodeficiencies and to immune cell-stimulated treatment of cancer.
LOEWE Center: Translational Medicine and Pharmacology (TMP)
The LOEWE Center for Translational Medicine and Pharmacology is continuing and expanding the work begun in the LOEWE research cluster Applied Pharmaceutical Research (2012 – 2014) and was established by the Hessian Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts (HMWK) in 2015. Partners involved are Goethe University Frankfurt, the Frankfurt Fraunhofer project group TMP of Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), Aachen, and the Max Planck Institute Bad Nauheim.
Funding period 1: 2015 - 2017
Speaker: Gerd Geisslinger
Project partners at IBC2: Ivan Dikic, Andreas Ernst, Manuel Kaulich
Link to webpage
In cooperation with industry and academic groups, the LOEWE Center TMP has set its sights on helping to cut development costs for new medicines. At the interface between preclinical research and clinical development and trials, TMP aims at ascertaining the effectiveness and safety of pharmaceutical substances as quickly as possible and hence to raise the success rates of clinical development.
From molecular mechanisms to disease
The LOEWE research cluster Ubiquitin Networks has been set up by the Hessian Excellence Initiative (Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz, LOEWE). The cluster comprises 11 research groups from several faculties of the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim. In addition, two new junior group leader positions have been created.
Funding period: Jan 2014 – Dec 2016
Funding volume: appr. € 4.3 M
Speaker: Ivan Dikic
Project partners at IBC2: Andreas Ernst, Koraljka Husnjak, Stefan Müller, Christian Behrends, Koraljka Husnjak, Stefan Müller, Krishnaraj Rajalingam, Christian Pohl
Associated Research Groups: Masato Akutsu, Anja Bremm
Associated partners: Merck Serono
Link to webpage: www.proloewe.de/ub-net
Post-translational modification of proteins plays a pivotal role in regulation of cellular processes. One of the most important players in the game is ubiquitin (Ub). The attachment of Ub or Ub-like molecules to target proteins changes their properties and controls fundamental cellular processes like DNA repair, signal transduction and cell death.
Ub molecules are ligated to target proteins either individually or in form of branched or linear chains. These different chain combinations form the basis of the so called Ub code, of which large parts are still a mystery, and enable specific recognition by Ub binding domains of other proteins.
The complexity of this Ub network is not yet understood, but it is well established that errors in the system are associated with numerous human diseases, e.g. cancer, inflammation and neurodegeneration. Similarly to the phosphorylation network, ubiquitination is handled as one of the most promising systems to be targeted by novel therapeutics.
Within the LOEWE Ub-Net cluster, the researchers are trying to understand the molecular mechanisms of the Ub network and relate any malfunction to pathophysiological conditions.
CRC 815: Redox-Regulation
CRC 815CRC 815 is a collaborative research centre funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) since January 2009. During the first funding period, the consortium focused on activation of generating systems, the formation of redox active metabolites and characterization of redox modulated target structures. Now it aims at using the accumulated knowledge of generating systems and modified target structures to explore functional consequences.
Funding period 1: 2009 - 2012
Funding period 2: 2013 - 2016
Speaker: Bernhard Brüne
Participating Group Leaders at IBC2: Stefan Müller (project TP20)
Link to webpage: http://www.redox-sfb.de/
CRC 834: Endothelial Signalling and Vascular Repair
CRC 834CRC 834 is a collaborative research centre funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) since January 2010. The consortium aims to identify the molecular mechanisms and cellular mediators determining endothelial cell function and repair in a series of translational basic science and clinical projects. The research program is divided in two main areas, with area A focusing on endothelial cell signaling, and area B endothelial function and repair.
Funding period 1: 2010 - 2013
Funding period 2: 2014 - 2017
Speaker: Ingrid Fleming
Participating Group Leaders at IBC2: Stefanie Oess (project A3)
Link to webpage: http://www.sfb834.de/
Collaborative Research Center 1177: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Selective Autophagy
SFB 1177 / CRC 1177 has been established under the lead of Goethe University Frankfurt with Gutenberg University Mainz, Georg Speyer Haus Frankfurt and the Institute of Molecular Biology Mainz as partners. The consortium comprises 16 research projects from several faculties and a proteomics unit as service platform, located at IBC2.
Funding period: Jan 2016 – Dec 2019
Funding volume: appr. € 11 M
Speaker: Ivan Dikic
Project partners at IBC2: Christian Behrends, Anja Bremm, Ivan Dikic, Andreas Ernst, Stefan Müller, Christian Pohl
Link to webpage: www.SFB1177.de
Autophagy is a highly conserved catabolic process that serves as a quality control mechanism in cells by selectively removing damaged and superfluous organelles or other harmful cytosolic material, such as aggregated proteins or invaded bacteria. Under stress or energy restriction autophagy provides recycled building blocks for the synthesis of new cellular components. Three different types of autophagy can be distinguished: macroautophagy, microautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy. SFB 1177 focuses on macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy), a multi-step cellular process by which cytosolic material is engulfed by a double-membrane, termed autophagosome after closure, which eventually fuses with a lysosome in order to eliminate its content. Autophagy plays a vital role in protecting against disease, but in recent years it became clear that the effect of autophagy is highly contextual. While it acts for instance as an anti-tumorigenic mechanism in healthy cells, cancer cells exploit the cytoprotective effect of autophagy to overcome stress conditions and nutrient limitation caused by rapid tumor growth. SFB 1177 aims at gaining a more detailed insight into the mechanistic details of autophagic pathways to better understand its role in disease development and eventually exploit this knowledge therapeutically.