University of Cologne wins funding for two new research networks
UoC is involved in two successful proposals / Research networks are thematically focused, multi-location collaborations among universities, higher education institutions and non-university research institutions
The University of Cologne has won funding for a new research network. In addition, a proposal for a research network in which the University of Cologne is involved as a partner was successful. The aim of these networks, funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKW NRW), is to create cooperative projects across all types of colleges and universities as well as non-university research institutions to develop new research profiles and to establish strong research partnerships.
CANTAR (CANcer TARgeting)
The new oncological research network CANTAR (CANcer TARgeting) aims to develop new chemical substances to identify specific pathways of cancer and to research how cancer can ‘escape’ the immune system. The speaker university is the University of Cologne, with Humboldt Professor Dr Henning Walczak from the Centre for Biochemistry as designated speaker. CANTAR will be funded with a total of 19.4 million euros over the funding period from August 2022 to July 2026. The University of Cologne’s share amounts to 8.4 million euros.
The network brings together highly complementary knowledge in North Rhine-Westphalia, building on established research partnerships. It pursues a holistic approach in which researchers from chemistry, biology, and medicine work together in a way that is unique in Europe. The focus is on the discovery and development of substances that specifically target cancer cells while avoiding normal tissues. In addition, substances will be developed that interfere with cancer-specific metabolic processes or that help the body’s immune system detect tumour cells. CANTAR closes the gap between basic research and translational clinical cancer research.
The researchers believe that substantial therapeutic breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer will be achieved within the next ten years. ‘We want to help develop innovative, targeted cancer therapies,’ said Professor Walczak. ‘CANTAR is in an excellent position to chart new territory in cancer research by identifying additional targets. The funding will take us an important step forward in this endeavour.’
The network’s partner institutions include the University of Duisburg-Essen, TU Dortmund University, the Universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf, RWTH Aachen University, the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund.
In addition, another research network in which the University of Cologne is involved as a partner has won funding:
iBehave: Algorithms of Adaptive Behavior and their Neuronal Implementation in Health and Disease
iBehave brings together world-class scientists who will work across disciplines and species to study survival-related behaviours and the neural networks and mechanisms that underlie them. iBehave is under the leadership of the University of Bonn. The network will be funded from August 2022 to July 2026 with a total amount of 19.6 million euros. The University of Cologne’s share amounts to 3.1 million euros.
Humans and animals live in a constantly changing environment. The ability to flexibly adapt their behaviour to a given situation is therefore crucial for all organisms. However, the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the adaptivity of decision-making processes in the brain and the resulting behaviour are still poorly understood. Moreover, the neuronal structures and networks involved are frequently the target of neurological diseases.
The scientists will use novel approaches to finely map behaviour using machine learning and artificial intelligence, combining them with new methods for recording neuronal activity in animals and humans. A cross-species theoretical framework for behaviour will be developed using state-of-the-art data recording and analysis techniques. Interdisciplinary projects will investigate how behavioural goals and decision-making processes are selected (topic A), and what role adaptive processes play in their implementation (topic B). The researchers will use the same approaches in animals and humans to understand how and why pathways to behaviour are disturbed in neurological diseases (topic C), and use this knowledge as a starting point for novel diagnoses and therapies.
‘We are very excited about the new research network and expect iBehave to have a lasting international impact on the fields of neuroscience, computer science, and medicine,’ said the designated coordinator for the project at the University of Cologne, Professor Dr Ansgar Büschges from the Institute of Zoology.
In addition to the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, RWTH Aachen University, the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, the Max Planck Institute for Behavioural Neurobiology – Caesar in Bonn and Forschungszentrum Jülich are partners in the network.
Professor Dr Henning Walczak
+49 221 478 84076
Professor Dr Ansgar Büschges
+49 221 470 2607
Press and Communications Team:
+49 221 470 2356