The German Research Foundation renews the Center for Collaborative Research 1361 at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
The German Research Foundation (DFG) has announced the extension of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1361: “Regulation of DNA repair and genome stability” for another four years. The consortium was established in 2019 at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in collaboration with the Institute for Molecular Biology Mainz (IMB), the Technical University of Darmstadt, the Goethe University Frankfurt and the University Ludwig Maximilian from Munich. It includes 18 research projects, three technology platforms and an integrated graduate program. It aims to elucidate the mechanisms by which cells safeguard their genetic information. As deficiencies in genome maintenance lead to a variety of disorders, including cancer and accelerated aging, a better understanding of DNA repair is essential to promote human health.
During its first funding period, CRC 1361 made groundbreaking advances in characterizing the components of DNA repair and DNA damage signaling pathways that act as decision makers in the regulation of genome maintenance. Structural studies have provided insight into DNA damage signaling mechanisms at DNA double-strand breaks, and genomic approaches have revealed the origins of oncogenic chromosomal aberrations resulting from such damage. Overall, the research highlighted the relevance of endogenous factors as sources of genome instability.
Increased focus on systemic aspects of DNA repair
During its second four-year funding period, CRC will receive approximately €10.6 million to deepen its mechanistic analysis of genome maintenance systems and intensify its efforts to establish functional connections between individual repair pathways to to integrate them into larger regulatory networks. This will involve improved systems-level approaches to determine the genome-wide distribution of lesions. Researchers will focus their research primarily on various endogenous sources of genome instability, how they are sensed by cell signaling pathways and processed by dedicated or overlapping DNA repair pathways, and their implications for cell fate. .
Professor Helle Ulrich, scientific director of the IMB, professor at the Faculty of Biology at the University of Mainz and spokesperson for the CRC, welcomes the decision of the DFG to continue funding the CRC. “Over the past four years, we’ve managed to establish a highly collaborative environment for our research,” she says. “Our increased focus on the systemic aspects of DNA repair will now allow us to address even more ambitious questions about how these important cellular surveillance systems act in a physiological context.”
Consolidation of Mainz as a hub for genome stability research
Focused on genome stability, the CRC complements and strengthens ongoing research activities in Mainz and the Rhine-Main region, in areas ranging from RNA biology, epigenetics and gene regulation protein homeostasis and quality control. Professor Stefan Müller-Stach, JGU Vice President for Research and Early Career Scholars, comments: “The interdisciplinary nature of the CRC contributes to the consolidation of Mainz as a hub for genome stability research. and ensures high quality education for the next generation of scientists in the field. He sees the CRC as a key pillar in the emerging priority area of aging, senescence and longevity research at Mainz, a cross-cutting initiative that unites basic biological science with clinical and applied research in cancer, immunology, neurobiology and human physiology.
Successful cooperation between Rhine-Main universities
The continued funding of CRC 1361 is also a great success for the Rhine-Main University Strategic Alliance (RMU), formed by Goethe University Frankfurt, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Technical University Darmstadt. As outstanding research universities that have collaborated with each other for many years, they came together to form the RMU Strategic Alliance in 2015 to promote strong collaboration in science and research, to offer joint degree programs to their students and to strengthen the transfer and exchange of knowledge with society and business.
DFG funding for CRCs supports long-term research collaborations of up to 12 years in which scientists work together in an interdisciplinary research program. The aim is to create institutional direction by working on innovative, demanding, complex and long-term research projects through the coordination and concentration of people and resources in the candidate universities.
For more information on CRC 1361, please visit https://www.sfb1361.de/
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