Life and Health - Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA) University of Bonn

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Life exists in complex structures, from the smallest molecules that interact with each other to the interplay of various organisms in ecological systems. Understanding the complexity of life is therefore one of the most fascinating research topics. If researchers decipher the mechanisms underlying life, this will provide the basis for a better understanding of diseases and the development of new therapies. In a lively research environment and together with the Cluster of Excellence "Immunosensation2", the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life and Health" of the University of Bonn focuses on comprehending life - from the level of the tiniest particles to the interaction of complex systems with the environment. One of the main objectives is the development of new strategies to improve and maintain health.

About the TRA

Find out more about our objectives,  members and TRA organization.


More about our research profile, topics and TRA projects.


Find out more about research support and events organized by the TRA Life and Health.


More about our partners for young scientists, research 
and transfer.

Circuits for Survival - Inaugural Symposium on September 26, 2022

We invite you to the inaugural lecture of the Hertz Chair for "Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience", Prof. Dr. Dr. Dominik Bach! On this occasion, TRA Life and Health will host a scientific symposium on 26.09.2022. The lectures deal with the behavior of biological organisms in extreme situations and illuminate this from different neuroscientific perspectives and at the interface to mathematics and computer sciences.

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Prof. Dr. Dominik Bach
© Dominik Bach

Hertz-Professor "Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience"

We are pleased to welcome Prof. Dr. Dominik Bach as new Hertz Chair of TRA Life and Health at the University of Bonn as of April 1, 2022. The internationally renowned neuroscientist, who previously worked at the University of Zurich and the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research at University College London, will establish a strong new research focus at the interface between neuroscience, psychiatry and computer science within TRA Life and Health.  The analysis of human behavior in extreme situations by using mathematical methods will help to further decipher the function of the brain. This will contribute to an improved understanding of mental illnesses and thus enable new therapeutic approaches.

More information:
University of Bonn press release

"Technolgies Drive New Science" - TRA Mini-Symposium 02.09.2022

© TRA Life and Health

Scientists of the University of Bonn, who had won the “Life and Health Research Prize” of the TRA or received a “Method Development Grant” have presented their results in a half-day symposium, organized by TRA Life and Health. The event attracted a broad audience of around 40 scientists, coming from many of the different research areas who are part of the TRA, from Genetics to Neurosurgery to Urology and Life and Medical Sciences, and many more.
The projects presented ranged from research into phototherapeutics as novel anti-epileptic drugs over the introduction of a new tool for in vivo cell-type specific proteomics in the CNS to insights into analyses of the mononuclear phagocyte compartment. A further presentation illustrated how beautiful “fat in a dish” can look like while establishing this as a model system to study function and communication of different cell-types in this tissue. And: What is the best (and fastest) way to switch the species specificity of a nanobody? Finally, we learnt how to use a microscope to optically screen CRISPR mutants – a technique that might be highly useful for various biological settings.
This event once again demonstrated that the idea of the Transdisciplinary Research Area can only thrive if we bring people from different disciplines together. We are inspired by this event - to be repeated!

"Life and Health Matter(s)" - Networking event

TRA scientists at the Bundeskunsthalle
© Volker Lannert/Universität Bonn

How do researchers from different fields get to know each other? To promote an exchange between the members of the TRAs "Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions" (TRA Matter) and "Life and Health", they were invited to an extraordinary networking event entitled "Life and Health Matter(s)" on May 31, 2022. A special location, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, an inspiring guided tour through the exhibition "The Brain in Art and Science", short presentations in "FlashTalks" and exchange in randomly arranged small groups - for all participants this event was a complete success. In addition to the exchange with scientists from the other TRA, there was also the opportunity to establish new contacts between researchers within a TRA. Due to the pandemic, this has come up far too short so far. Further events of this kind are already being planned...

Organoid Club

The "Bonn Organoid Club" is a forum for interested researchers to exchange expertise and reagents on organoid models in biomedical research.
Next seminar:
13.09.2022          4:30 p.m.               
Andrea Cristaldi (CellDynamics):
W8 Physical Cytometer: Mass-Density and Weight as a Novel Biophysical Prameter to Analyse and Sort 3D Cell Culture

Image: Tim Kempchen

Overview on talks and events

Bonner Forum Biomedizin provides an overview about talks, seminars, workshops with topics related to "Life and Health". 

Become member

As TRA member, you will have access to TRA funding and opportunities for networking beyond the borders of your own discipline.


Avatar Brömer

Dr. Meike Brömer

TRA manager | Strategic Development and Quality Assurance Unit

+49 1511 6933013

Fish to help in search for MS drugs

The zebrafish serves as a model organism for researchers around the world: it can be used to study important physiological processes that also take place in a similar form in the human body. It is therefore routinely used in the search for possible active substances against diseases. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now described an innovative way to do this. In this process, the larvae fish are made a bit more "human-like". This humanization could make the search for active pharmaceutical substances much more efficient. The results of the pilot study have been published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

Therapeutic drug renders cancer cell weapon harmless

Many tumor cells mist themselves with a protective perfume that disables the immune system. But a drug already approved for other purposes can apparently render this weapon harmless. This is shown in a study by the University of Bonn and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, which has now appeared in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. The researchers now want to further optimize the compound. In the medium term, this could pave the way for new anti-cancer drugs.

Many paths are open to neurons born early

When it comes to royalty, things are clear: The monarch's first child inherits the crown. Siblings born later must make do with a less glamorous profession. This is quite similar for some nerve cells in the brain. In their case, it is not the order in which they are born, but at least the time of their emergence that determines their further career. This is shown by a recent study by the University of Bonn. The results were obtained in mice; the extent to which they can be transferred to humans is therefore still uncertain. They have now been published in the journal eNeuro.

Elevator helps bacteria to build an invisibility cloak

The transport of substances across the membrane into the cell is linked to specific membrane transport proteins. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn, in collaboration with an international team, have now succeeded in elucidating the molecular structure of a completely new class of such membrane transporters. In addition to the Bonn scientists, researchers from the University of York were also involved. The study has now been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Six Transdiciplinary Research Areas of the  University of Bonn

Six TRAs: the research profile of the University of Bonn 

TRA Mathematics, Modelling and Simulation of Complex Systems

TRA Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions

TRA Individuals, Institutions and Societies

TRA Past Worlds and Modern Questions. Cultures Across Time and Space

TRA Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures

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