05. April 2022

State of NRW promotes Research Networks State of NRW promotes Research Networks

University of Bonn plays a leading role in the joint project "iBehave" and in the research network CANTAR

The North Rhine-Westphalian state government is supporting five outstanding research networks in pioneering research fields with a total of 81.2 million euros. Among them is "iBehave" under the leadership of the University of Bonn, which is being funded with around 20 million euros. The university of excellence is also involved in NRW-CANTAR.

Prof. Dr. Ilona Grunwald Kadow
Prof. Dr. Ilona Grunwald Kadow © Astrid Eckert
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"We are very pleased that our iBehave collaboration is now funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian state government," says Prof. Dr. Ilona Grunwald Kadow from the Institute of Physiology II at the University of Bonn. "Together with our collaborative partners, we now have the opportunity to fundamentally study the behavioral adaptations of humans and animals to their environment at the neurological level."

Humans and animals live in a constantly changing environment. The ability to flexibly adapt behavior to changing demands is critical for all organisms to thrive and survive. Consequently, humans and animals have evolved the ability to make decisions that weigh benefits and costs based on expectations. Difficulties in making such decisions and in implementing them through adaptive motor control are central features of many neurological diseases, yet the underlying processes in the brain are poorly understood. In iBehave, researchers are collaborating across disciplines and species to study survival-related behaviors and their underlying neural networks.

"We want to use computer science and artificial intelligence to better understand how the brain controls behaviors such as decision-making," says Prof. Grunwald Kadow, who is also a member of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life and Health" at the University of Bonn. In the next step, the researchers want to transfer their findings to the diagnosis and prediction of neurological diseases in humans. In the medium term, iBehave researchers want to take their technologies and findings from the lab to the clinic. "We are convinced that our methods of analyzing behavior and brain activity could represent or bring about a paradigm shift in diagnosis and therapy."

The aim of the funding program is to sustainably strengthen existing topic-related and cross-location research networks of universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university research institutes, to expand them and to increase their visibility and international competitiveness. The support is scheduled to run for four years starting in August 2022.

Participating institutions

In addition to the University of Bonn, iBehave involves the University of Cologne, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases e. V. (DZNE), the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Neurobiology - caesar and the Aachen University of Technology.

CANTAR (CANcer TARgeting)

The new research network CANTAR (CANcer TARgeting) in the field of oncology aims to develop new chemical entities to identify specific driving pathways of cancer and to explore how cancer can "escape" the immune system. The lead partner is the University of Cologne, with Humboldt Professor Dr. Henning Walczak of the Center for Biochemistry as designated spokesperson. Prof. Dr. Michael Hölzel, director of the Institute for Experimental Oncology at the University Hospital Bonn, is involved. CANTAR is funded with a total of 19.4 million euros for the funding period.

The network bundles highly complementary knowledge available in NRW and builds on already established collaborations among the partners. 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 act specifically on cancer cells and spare normal tissue. In addition, active substances are being developed that intervene in cancer-specific metabolic processes or make tumor cells more visible to the patient's own immune system. CANTAR bridges the gap between basic research and translational clinical cancer research.

Co-applicant institutions include the University of Duisburg-Essen, TU Dortmund University, the Universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf, RWTH Aachen University, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund.


iBehave website: http://ibehave.nrw/

Press release of the MKW NRW: https://www.mkw.nrw/81-millionen-euro-landesfoerderung-fuer-fuenf-exzellente-forschungsnetzwerke-nordrhein-westfalen

Press release of the University of Cologne on NRW-CANTAR: https://portal.uni-koeln.de/universitaet/aktuell/presseinformationen/detail/uni-koeln-bei-antraegen-fuer-neue-forschungsnetzwerke-erfolgreich


Prof. Dr. Ilona Grunwald Kadow
Institute of Physiology II
University of Bonn
Tel. 0228/7360101
E-mail: Ilona.grunwald@uni-bonn.de

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