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.

Our members

Our members are professors and group leaders of the University of Bonn and cooperating Bonn institutions from medicine, life sciences, pharmacy, nutrition research, mathematics, computer science and other fields.

Become TRA member!

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

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© Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn

TRA Hertz Chair for "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 will establish a strong new research focus at the interface between neuroscience, psychiatry and computer science within TRA Life and Health.  

Dominik Bach speaks at the Symposium Circuits for Survival
© Volker Lannert/Universität Bonn

Circuits for Survival - Inaugural Symposium on September 26, 2022

To celebrate the inaugural lecture of the Hertz Chair for "Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience", Prof. Dr. Dr. Dominik Bach, TRA Life and Health hosted a scientific symposium on 26.09.2022. 

Conference Poster
© Sabrina Fuchs

Bonn Conference on Mathematical Life Sciences

Mathematical modelling and analysis are nowadays essential for all fields of the life sciences, ranging from basic research to clinical application. To discuss the state of the field and potential future development, we would like to invite you to the

Bonn Conference on Mathematical Life Sciences

Bonn, April 17-20, 2023

"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 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:
08.11.2022 , 4:30 pm               
Johan Jakobsson, Lund University (on site)                        
Title: Transposable elements and the evolution of the human brain

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

New function of the CRISPR gene scissors discovered

For several years now, the CRISPR/Cas9 gene scissors have been causing a sensation in science and medicine. This new tool of molecular biology has its origins in an ancient bacterial immune system. It protects bacteria from attack by so-called phages, i. e. viruses that infect bacteria. Researchers from the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), in cooperation with the partner University of St Andrews in Scotland and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hamburg, have now discovered a new function of the gene scissors. The study was published in the scientific journal "Nature".

Next round for Collaborative Research Center in Immunology

Success for a research alliance of the University of Bonn, the Technical University of Dresden and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU): The Collaborative Research Center (SFB)/Transregio 237 "Nucleic Acid Immunity" has convinced with its research work of the past four years. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding it for another period with around ten million euros. As planned, the function of spokesperson will be transferred from Prof. Dr. Gunther Hartmann of the University of Bonn to Prof. Dr. Veit Hornung of the LMU.

Matthias Braun receives ERC Starting Grant

Freshly appointed to the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Bonn and immediately successful in acquiring one of the highest-ranking top grants of the European Union: Ethicist and Theologian Prof. Dr. Matthias Braun receives a coveted Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). This is associated with funding of 1.5 million euros for the next five years. The researcher and his team are studying the ethical and societal impact of digital twins in healthcare.

Unexpected cognitive deteriorations in epilepsy

In severe epilepsies, surgical intervention is often the only remedy - usually with great success. While neuropsychological performance can recover in the long term after successful surgery, on rare occasions, unexpected declines in cognitive performance occur. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now been able to show which patients are at particularly high risk for this. Their findings have been published in the journal "Annals of Neurology." They may help identify affected individuals for whom surgery should be avoided. Instead, new treatment prospects are emerging for these patients.

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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