Two Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) of Heidelberg University will continue their work for four more years after a successful international assessment. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will provide CRC 638 “Dynamics of macromolecular complexes in biosynthetic transport” with funding of 12.4 million euros. The speaker of the CRC is Prof. Felix Wieland from the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH). The DFG will fund CRC 636 “Learning, Memory and Brain Plasticity: Implications for Psychopathology” with 11.3 million euros. Prof. Herta Flor from the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim serves as speaker for the CRC. Both Collaborative Research Centres will have thus reached their third and final funding period.
At the core of CRC 638’s research lies the question, how and with what consequences are large groups of molecules transported within cells and set in the correct place. The processes of intracellular transport are of far-reaching import for processes that control the “internal clock” of organisms. They are equally as important for the ability to produce proteins in their correctly folded form at the right time and to make them available either within a cell or an organism. For example, such mechanisms are utilized by viruses for their formation and transport out of infected cells. According to Prof. Wieland, there are many other examples of how this basic research touches on medical problems like widespread neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The research group is comprised of 17 subprojects. In addition to the BZH, the Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie (Center for Molecular Biology – ZMBH), and the Centre for Organismal studies (COS) of Heidelberg University, there are other projects involved, one from the virology department of the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg as well as a project of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) at the Collaborative Research Centre “Dynamics of macromolecular complexes in biosynthetic transport”.
The research profile of CRC 636 focuses on learning and memory mechanisms, the plastic changes in the brain that result from such mechanisms and their influence on psychopathology. In their work, the researchers use various approaches to investigate the question of how learning and memory function with different psychological disorders. The central focus is on emotional and motivational disorders such as phobic disorders, addictions, affective and affect regulation disorders. According to Prof. Flor, the goal is to develop new treatment approaches for the behavioral and pharmacological therapy of psychological disorders. 22 subprojects comprise the four subject areas of molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning and brain plasticity, behavioral and physiological mechanisms of learning and brain plasticity, experimental psychopathology as well as intervention-related brain plasticity. In addition to the Central Institute of Mental Health, the projects are established at the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences as well as the medical faculties of Heidelberg and Mannheim of Heidelberg University, both university hospitals in Heidelberg and Mannheim, the German Cancer Research Center and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research.
Prof. Dr. Felix Wieland
Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
Phone +49 (0)6221 54 4150
felix.wieland [ aT ] bzh.uni-heidelberg.de
Prof. Dr. Herta Flor
Central Institute for Mental Health
Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience
Central Institute of Mental Health
Phone +49 (0)49 621 1703 6301
herta.flor [ aT ] zi-mannheim.de