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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 32 | 12. Juni 2012
Priority Programme “INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA – a Microbial Ecosystem at the Edge between Immune Homeostasis and Inflammation” (SPP 1656)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the initiation of a new Priority Programme (SPP, Schwerpunktprogramm) entitled „INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA – a Microbial Ecosystem at the Edge between Immune Homeostasis and Inflammation“. The programme is designed to run for six years, and this is the call for the first three-year funding period. The Priority Programme intends to mechanistically define the molecular mechanisms how the intestinal microbiota, intestinal pathogens and the intestinal mucosal immune system may shape each other and how these mechanisms affect health and diseases.

This DFG Priority Programme aims at developing an interdisciplinary research programme that determines fundamental principles of microbe-host interactions that goes beyond the descriptive microbiota and metagenomic analysis and should address hypothesis-driven research to understand the role of the intestinal microbiota in regulating gut immune homeostasis under physiologic and pathologic conditions, specifically focussing on intestinal infectious diseases and chronic inflammatory disorders of the intestinal tract.

INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA intends to include projects covering the following topics:

  • interactions of microbiota, pathogens, probiotics and the immune system in the small and large intestine to be addressed with immunological and microbiological methods, gnotobiotic models as well as “omics” and bioinformatics

  • define functional mechanisms of microbial interactions in the intestinal tract focusing on the complexity of microbial ecosystems and specific microbial structures

  • identify molecular mechanisms of the mucosal immune system in the intestinal tract to sense the microbial ecosystem in health and disease

  • development and analysis of model systems that define the role of microbe-host interactions soley in infectious and chronic inflammatory diseases of the intestinal tract

  • hypothesis-driven and mechanistic research to functional aspects of metagenomic, proteomic and metabolomic modulations of the intestinal microbiota (e.g. diet, disease, host genotype)

INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA will not support projects that focus on the following topics:

  • impact of the intestinal microbiota on extraintestinal organs (e.g. brain, lung, liver, pancreas, skin) and vice versa including the role of extraintestinal adipose tissue on intestinal functions and microbiota

  • metabolic and allergic disorders as well as celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome

  • descriptive studies addressing soley the compositional analysis of the intestinal microbiota

  • studies soley addressing host immune functions that are not related to questions of microbial interactions

  • human cohort studies

Applications for the first three-year funding period must be written in English. Deadline is 15 October 2012. Applicants should consult the DFG Guidelines for Priority Programmes 50.05, Part B “Individual Projects within Existing Priority Programmes”. Please note that there is still no possibility for electronical applications.

Please submit applications under the codeword “SPP 1656” (one complete and signed paper copy and one complete copy on CD-ROM) directly to the DFG, Kennedyallee 40, 53170 Bonn. Applicants will be invited to present their proposal to an international review panel at a symposium to be held in Bonn 21 and 22 March 2013.

Further information

For the DFG Guidelines please refer to:

Contact persons for questions related to the SPP 1656 are the scientific coordinators:

Contact person for questions related to the application or review process: