Research Profile Life and Health

This TRA promotes scientific cooperation within and between the fields of medicine, life sciences, pharmacy, nutrition research, mathematics and computer science. "Construction and Deconstruction of Life" is a new research program launched by the TRA in parallel to its existing Life and Health research focuses. To this end, we have recently established a Hertz Professorship for "Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience" (Prof. Dr. Dr. Dominik Bach) and are currently recruiting an Argelander Professor for "Organoid Biology".


This research focus area concerns the construction of reductionistic systems of living matter through the usage of stem cell technologies, gene editing, nanotechnology and biomaterials as well as semi-synthetic biohybrids to derive deterministic or self-organizing models of development and disease.
The Bonn Organoid Club provides a forum for researchers active in the TRA and other interested scientists to exchange information and views regarding the development and usage application of organoids in a wide range of biological systems.  

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© Florian I. Schmidt
Grafik Forschungsprofil
© TRA Life and Health


TRA scientists utilize state-of-the-art technologies to study the immune and nervous systems and other complex biological systems of subjects ranging from simple model organisms to human beings. Immunologists and neuroscientists collaborate with systems biologists and mathematicians in the ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence, which represents a primary focus within the Transdisciplinary Research Area.
Breakthroughs have been attained in understanding certain functions on the organism level through intricate study, but a general theoretical and scale-independent comprehension of these systems remains elusive. This TRA will be increasingly focusing its work on the nexus point of artificial intelligence, machine learning and life sciences, studying behavioral disease phenotypes on the basis of high-dimensional data of varying complexities.
Another key element in building predictive models of human disease is the integration of clinical, genetic, molecular, and cellular data by relying on mathematics and modeling.

Organoid aus Fettgewebe
Organoid from adipose tissue © Katharina Sieckmann

Bonn Organoid Club

The Bonn Organoid Club is a forum for biomedical researchers to share expertise and reagents for organoid models. One focus here is on technical aspects that are of interest to many scientists in this field. In addition, external scientists are invited to present their research on the topic of "organoids" to the Bonn community. The organizer of the Bonn Organoid Club is Dr. Florian I. Schmidt of the Institute for Innate Immunity and the “Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA).

Our next seminars:

24.01.2023          4:30 pm               Anne Grapin-Botton, MPI-CBG, Dresden (Seminar room BMZ 2, Venusberg-Campus)          
Title: Pancreas organoids: from tissue mechanics to diabetes modelling   

14.02.2023          4:30 pm               Jens Puschhof, DKFZ Heidelberg (Lecture hall BMZ 1, Venusberg-Campus)
Title: Dissecting Cancer-Microbiome Interactions with Organoids and Organs-on-Chips

 14.03.2022        4:30 pm                Nicolas Gaudenzio, University of Toulouse
Title: tba

Interested to join? Please email TRA Life and Health or Dr. Florian I. Schmidt to register.

Life and Health Research Prize 2022

TRA Life and Health wants to promote innovative research and transdisciplinary collaborations with the "Life and Health Research Prize" and has now awarded two projects, each involving scientists from different departments of the University of Bonn. Prof. Dr. Volker Busskamp (Eye Clinic, University Hospital Bonn) and Prof. Dr. Elvira Mass (LIMES Institute) want to establish organoid models of the retina in their project in order to be able to study diseases such as age-related macular degeneration in the laboratory.
The second award-winning project will investigate the relationship between the composition of the nasal microbiome and Alzheimer's disease. Junior Professor Dr. Marie-Christine Simon (Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences) and Prof. Dr. Anja Schneider and Prof. Dr. Michael Wagner (Clinic for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Gerontopsychiatry, University Hospital Bonn) were awarded for this.

Congratulations to the award winners! 
Read more: University of Bonn press release

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One of the two winner teams: Prof. Dr. Volker Busskamp and Prof. Dr. Elvira Mass © Volker Lannert/Universität Bonn

Method Development Grant 2021

TRA Life and Health funds the following projects for development of novel, innovative methods:

  • Dr. Gregor Hagelüken (Institute of Structural Biology) and Dr. Paul-Albert König (Core Facility Nanobodies): Implementing methods for directed evolution of nanobodies to extend, restrict or switch host specificity
  • Prof. Dr. Eva Kiermaier (LIMES-Institute): Microfabricated devices to study cellular behavior
  • Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz (Institute of Innate Immunity): Establishment of a single-cell metabolic energy profiling (scMEP) platform using spectral flow cytometry
  • Prof. Dr. Jonathan Schmid-Burgk (Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology): Optical CRISPR  knock-out screening by improved  in-cellulo sequencing
  • Dr. Florian I. Schmidt (Institute of Innate Immunity), Identification of nanobodies against unusual targets from synthetic libraries
  • Dr. Felix Weiss (Institute of Innate Immunity), Cell-type specific proteomics from whole tissues as a discovery tool for intercellular communication

Transdisciplinary Research Prize: "Where Physics meets Biomedical Sciences"

TRA Matter and TRA Life and Health jointly fund a new project at the interface between Physics (Particle Physics) and Medicine (Radiation Oncology):

Prof. Dr. Klaus Desch (Institute of Physics) and Prof. Dr. Frank Giordano (Department of Radiation Oncology) - 
Assessment of ultra-high energy and ultra-high dose rate electron beams (UHEE/FLASH) for improved cancer therapy using the ELSA accelerator

Collaborative Research Projects

Scientists at the University of Bonn and the TRA are leading a large number of collaborative research projects in the field of life and health.

NRW-funded network iBehave


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Dr. Meike Brömer

TRA Manager

+49 1511 6933013

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