After the successful review by an external review panel in July, the DFG has confirmed the funding of the Research Unit (Forschergruppe) 2149 for three additional years (2018–2020). All RU members are very happy about this decision and are looking forward to the further cooperation. “The grant is a distinction for our excellent scientific collaboration and networking in the 1st funding period”, said Tobias Langenhan, spokesman of the FOR2149.
The Research unit will start out with 9 projects (2 of them new) in the 2nd funding period. The principal investigators are based at five German universities: Leipzig, Würzburg, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Mainz and Heidelberg. In addition, there is going to be one international project located at the Amsterdam Medical Center in the Netherlands. The Research Unit will also be supported by Prof. Dimitris Placantonakis from New York University, who will be the Mercator Fellow of the initiative succeeding Dr Jörg Hamann in this role.
In 2015, the principal investigators of the Research Unit firstly established a collaborative effort to understand the molecular function of aGPCRs to identify fundamental principles of their signaling paradigm. In this respect, the initiative has been the first large research consortium to investigate these enigmatic receptors. Based on the current state of the work, the objectives for the second funding period of the Research Unit remain focused on the determination of physiological and pharmacological rules of aGPCR signaling. The Research Unit will continue with its current research focus on the same aGPCR molecules investigated up till now, but also extend and apply its novel knowledge on their signaling paradigm to additional aGPCRs. Another future objective of the Research Unit is the analysis of the effects of aGPCR signals on dynamics of the cytoskeleton. Furthermore, there has been a large interest in the participation of aGPCRs in diseases in the last years. With the extension of the Research Unit by two new projects, and the recruitment of Prof. Dimitris Placantonakis, the Research Unit aims at partaking in the pursuit of pathophysiological principles caused through aGPCR dysfunction.