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Information for Researchers No. 40 | 17 August 2011
Priority Programme „Mast Cells – Promoters of Health and Modulators of Disease” (SPP 1394)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a Priority Programme entitled “Mast Cells – Promoters of Health and Modulators of Disease” (SPP 1394) in 2009. The programme will start its second three-year period in summer 2012.

To this end, the programme will include projects that are based on experience with mast cell research and that are aimed at:

  • the identification of new mast cell functions

  • defining new and refining known dominant communication pathways of mast cells

  • the characterisation of novel molecular mechanisms of mast cell responses relevant for non-pathogenic functions of mast cells

  • the development of novel therapeutic approaches in preclinical stages for preventing and curing diseases using mast cells as targets

The programme will not support projects that:

  • focus on cells other than mast cells (this includes basophils and other cell types closely related to mast cells)

  • work with model systems of limited relevance (e.g. cell lines)

  • contain work performed on receptors, mediators, signals, mechanisms etc. that are only shared by mast cells and that is not based on a specific and precise function in mast cells and could also be performed by other means

  • are mainly based on or limited to descriptive array analysis (genomics, proteomics etc.)

  • are clinical studies focussed e.g. on mast cell driven diseases like allergies or mast cell (dys)functions

  • exclusively focus on the analysis of the role of mast cells in the pathogenesis of mast cell driven disorders without involving a characterisation of novel principles of mast cell functions

The major goals of this Priority Programme are to make use of newly discovered “good” functions of mast cells and to find ways of controlling “bad” mast cell effects. The structural goal is to strengthen an interdisciplinary network that will (1) assess the relevance for the human system of mast cell functions discovered in mice, (2) identify and characterise pathways and signals of mast cell activation and its subsequent effects, and (3) develop ways and tools that target and regulate these pathways and signals so that we can make use of mast cells and their beneficial functions.

Applications for the second and final round of three-years funding should be written in English. Deadline is 15 December 2011.

Please submit applications (two copies on paper, one copy on CD-Rom) directly to the DFG, codeword “SPP 1394”, postal address: DFG, 53170 Bonn.

Further information

Guidelines and forms concerning the application can be downloaded from the homepage of the DFG under:

Questions on the objectives of the programme including the requirements for funding may be directed to the programmes scientific coordinators:

For questions related to the application process please contact: