Two ERC Proof of Concept Grants for the University of Bonn

Two researchers from the University of Bonn have been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of a program designed to help researchers translate their ideas from previous ERC projects into commercial applications. Biologist Prof. Dr. Bernardo S. Franklin from the University Hospital Bonn and physicist Prof. Dr. Simon Stellmer will thus each receive €150,000 over a period of around one year.

Tuning brain cells with light

An international research team, including ImmunoSensation2 member Prof. Kathrin Leppek of the University Hospital Bonn and scientists from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the Netherlands, and the US has been awarded a US$ 1.3 million grant by the “Human Frontier Science Program” to investigate brain immune cells and manipulate them via light irradiation. This will involve using gene transcripts (mRNAs) as molecular mediators. From these laboratory studies, the scientists aim to gain new insights into how these cells change their shape in response to hazards and the role they play in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

First-ever Lecture to Mark World Day for Laboratory Animals

To mark World Day for Laboratory Animals, the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bonn ran a fact-finding event on animal testing for its students.

Chatting with Researchers on the International Day of Immunology

What possibilities does mRNA technology offer? How can we use computers to answer biomedical questions? And how does what I eat affect my immune system? The ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn will be celebrating the International Day of Immunology in Bonn’s city center on April 29. On Marktplatz, researchers will be providing a personal insight into their work and will be on hand from 10 am to 6 pm to chat with locals and answer their questions. At Bonn City Library, meanwhile, selected topics from the field of biomedicine will be showcased in more detail between 11 am and 2 pm. Admission is free at both venues.

Enlarged University Council Begins New Term of Office

The members of the recently newly elected University Council of the University of Bonn have been handed their appointment certificates for their 2023–2028 term of office by Gonca Türkeli-Dehnert, State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. At the inaugural meeting following the presentation, the University Council re-elected Prof. Dr. Dieter Engels, former President of the Federal Court of Auditors, as its Chairperson. Prof. Engels has chaired the body since as long ago as 2013.

Gene scissors find target for testicular cancer therapy

Cisplatin is used successfully in the chemotherapy of testicular cancer. However, patients who develop resistance to the cytostatic drug urgently need alternative therapy options. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) have now been able to elucidate a mechanism underlying cisplatin resistance in testicular cancer. Using CRISPR gene scissors, they identified the NAE1 gene as its driver. Inhibiting this resistance mediator by adding the NAE1 inhibitor MLN4924 not only restores the effect of cisplatin, but also has an additional killing effect on tumor cells. The study results have now been published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Restoration of immune defense in liver disease

Bonn, March 21, 2023 – Patients suffering from chronic liver disease don't respond to vaccination and are at high risk of viral infections. In these patients, virus-specific T-cells are defect and unable to eliminate viral pathogens. A research team led by ImmunoSensation2 member Prof. Zeinab Abdullah at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Oxford and the Technical University Munich, has now discovered the molecular mechanism underlying the suppression of T-cell immunity. The researchers could show that targeted inhibition of a single immune receptor can reconstitute the immune responses to vaccination against Hepatitis B and COVID-19 in patients with chronic liver disease. The results are now published in the Journal of Hepatology.

Blocked cell wall formation stops bacterial cell division

We still do not understand exactly how antibiotics kill bacteria. However, this understanding is necessary if we want to develop new antibiotics. And that is precisely what is urgently needed, because bacteria are currently showing more and more resistance to existing antibiotics. Therefore, researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn used high-performance microscopes to observe the effect of different antibiotics on the cell division of Staphylococcus aureus. They found that the biosynthesis of peptidoglycan, core component of the bacterial cell wall, is the driving force during the entire process of cell division. In addition, they clarified how exactly different antibiotics block cell division within a few minutes. The results have now been published in the journal Science Advances.

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