DFG funding for three Collaborative Research Centers at Goethe University Frankfurt

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is providing an additional four years of funding to Goethe University Frankfurt’s Collaborative Research Center/Transregio 288, which investigates quantum materials with unusual properties. In addition, Goethe University is a co-applicant to two further new CRCs/Transregios, which deal, respectively, with the neuro-psychobiology of aggression and the use of the cellular ubiquitin system to develop new cancer drugs.

Within the CRC/Transregio, quantum materials with surprising properties are created both in the laboratory (Czochralski method) and on the computer. Photo: AG Cornelius Krellner

Goethe University President Professor Enrico Schleiff highlights the importance of the Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs): “The successful application for the Collaborative Research Centers is a great accomplishment, based on the forward-looking research concepts outlined by the scientists at Goethe University. I would like to congratulate all of them on behalf of the entire executive board. All Collaborative Research Centers are a testimony to our researchers’ strong network, especially with our partners in the Rhine-Main Universities [RMU] alliance.”

Schleiff adds: “I am delighted that the Transregio ELASTO-Q-MAT will be able to continue its successful research into fascinating quantum materials. This project is a key pillar of our Space-Time-Matter profile area, while the two Transregios on aggression and cancer research reflect our strengths in the Molecular and Translational Medicine profile area.”

Quantum materials change their properties at very low temperatures. Superconductors, which are among the best-known quantum materials, lose their electrical resistance at sub-zero temperatures, allowing them to conduct electricity without loss. CRC/Transregio 288 “Elastic Tuning and Response of Electronic Quantum Phases of Matter” (ELASTO-Q-MAT) researches quantum materials that change their properties when they are elastically deformed. In the interplay between theory and experiment, for example, it was possible to grow a crystal, which – at a temperature of minus 100 degrees Celsius – loses its magnetism under pressure, but becomes magnetic again as soon as the pressure eases. In addition to understanding how such altermagnets and other quantum materials, including nematic quantum liquids or elastocaloric cooling liquids, work, the center also seeks to produce and investigate the materials. The DFG is funding TRR 288 with around €12.8 million until 2028.

CRC/Transregio 288:
Coordination: Goethe University Frankfurt
Other applicants: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Partners: Ruhr University Bochum, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids (Dresden), Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (Hamburg)

Goethe University is a co-applicant in the following two Collaborative Research Centers:

Aggression is a symptom of a wide range of different mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD or bipolar disorders. CRC/Transregio 379 “Neuropsychobiology of Aggression: A Transdiagnostic Approach in Mental Disorders” aims to understand how genes, molecular mechanisms, hormones and neural circuits underlie and affect aggressive behavior in such disorders. The aim is to predict aggressive behavior, for example as a reaction to threat or frustration, and identify the biomolecules that influence it. As part of a longitudinal patient study to identify critical periods and time windows for prevention, the network will also investigate how aggressive behavior develops in relation to mental illness. The DFG is making available some €16 million in funding for TRR 379 until 2028.

CRC/Transregio 379:
Coordination: RWTH Aachen University
Other applicants: Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Heidelberg

Partners: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg

In addition to genetically determined construction defects in proteins, another cause of cancer can be by errors that arise only after the proteins’ completion. CRC/Transregio 387 “Functionalizing the Ubiquitin System against Cancer (UbiQancer)” aims to use the ubiquitin system – a cellular protein management system that is involved in the modification and degradation of a large proportion of cellular proteins – as a basis for developing therapies against lung and colon cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and the blood cancer forms B-cell neoplasia. The consortium seeks to develop active substances that influence this system in a manner such that the cell specifically degrades defective proteins. The DFG is making available around €18 million in funding to TRR 387 until 2028.

CRC/Transregio 387:
Coordination: Technical University of Munich
Other applicants: Goethe University Frankfurt, Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg

Partners: Kiel University, Helmholtz Munich, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz University Hospital, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (Martinsried)

Collaborative Research Centers are long-term university-based research institutions, established for up to 12 years, in which researchers work together within a multidisciplinary research program. They provide funding for innovative, challenging, complex and long-term research undertakings that support the institutional focus and structure of the applicant universities. Whereas a classic Collaborative Research Center (CRC) is applied for and funded by one university, CRC/Transregios are based on joint applications and funded by two or three universities. More information is available here.  

Further information
Spokesperson CRC/TRR 288
Professor Roser Valentí
Institute for Theoretical Physics
Goethe University Frankfurt
Tel. +49 69 798 47816

CRC/Transregio 379 “Neuro-psychobiology of Aggression: A Transdiagnostic Approach in Mental Disorders”. web

CRC/Transregio 387: “Functionalization of the Ubiquitin System against Cancer (UbiQancer)”. web

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