DFG-Funded Research at a Glance
Currently funded research, contact persons and institutions in all disciplines
During the coronavirus pandemic, numerous DFG-funded projects have become a focus of public attention due to their topic areas. These include projects that relate directly to coronaviruses, projects investigating the basic principles of pathogens and diseases and their pandemic potential, and those concerned with the impacts of pandemics. This page provides an overview of DFG-funded projects in which researchers are working to understand the genetic, biological, medical, environmental and also socioeconomic factors.
Here you will find selected projects which the DFG is currently funding or has funded within the last 10 years. This list will be updated with new projects as they are approved. To read more about individual projects and for further information, please refer to the project information system GEPRIS.
The latest news and results from DFG-funded research are always available in our
Topics at a Glance
COVID-19 Focus Funding
„Immunity, Host Susceptibility and Pathomechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 Infection":
List of funded Projects
- Dissecting the SARS-CoV2-specific immune response by epitope and single cell mapping in differentially affected individuals.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Rafael Kramann, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen
- SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein-Priming Cysteine Cathepsin L Acting at Microvilli of Intestine Epithelial Cells.
Applicant: Professorin Dr. Klaudia Brix, Jacobs University Bremen
- Course of SARS coronavirus-2-specific antibody titers and magnitude of the memory B-cell and T-cell response.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Christian Jassoy, Universität Leipzig
- meCocan - Towards a mechanistic understanding of the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and host heparan sulphate proteoglycans.
Applicant: Professorin Dr. Rebecca Wade, Heidelberger Institut für Theoretische Studien (HITS)
- Defining the cytotoxic T cell response in COVID-19 patients.
Applicant: Dr. Gennadiy Zelinskyy, Professor Dr. Ulf Dittmer, Universität Duisburg-Essen
- Infection, transport and degeneration of human neurons caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
Applicant: Professor Abel Viejo-Borbolla Ph.D., Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH)
- Infection of intestinal cells by SARS-CoV2 and its effects on intestinal function.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Hassan Y. Naim, Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
- Identification of the molecular origins of comorbidity in COVID-19 patients.
Applicant: Dr. Carl Herrmann, Dr. Steeve Boulant, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
- Deciphering the impact of Sars-CoV-2 envelope protein glycosylation on human pathogenicity.
Applicant: Dr. Thomas Rexer, Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik komplexer technischer Systeme
- Investigation of the cell-intrinsic immune response and the antiviral efficacy of interferons against SARS-CoV2.
Applicant: Dr. Marco Binder, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ)
- Long-term humoral immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 in healthy individuals and patients with primary immunodeficienciess.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Hermann Eibel, Professor Dr. Klaus Warnatz, Professor Dr. Reinhard Voll, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
- Immune-mediated pathogenesis and development of autoimmunity in neurological manifestations of COVID-19.
Applicant: Dr. Christiana Franke, Privatdozent Dr. Clemens Warnke, Privatdozent Dr. Harald Prüß, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE), Universität zu Köln
- The role of TRIM-family proteins and other host cell factors in the restriction of SARS-CoV-2.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Armin Ensser, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
- Pre-existing Cross-reactive Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Cellular Immunity in Hemodialysis and Kidney Transplanted Patients - Implications for COVID-19 Disease Prognosis.
Applicant: Professorin Dr. Katja Kotsch Ph.D., Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The innate immune antagonism of SARS-CoV-2 ORF3a, ORF6 and ORF7a.
Applicant: Dr. Konstantin Sparrer, Universität Ulm
- Evolutionary risk assessment of European SARS-related bat coronaviruses.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Jan Felix Drexler, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- Mechanisms of protection from SARS-CoV-2 by neutralizing and non-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies in a small animal model.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Klaus Überla, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
- Role of TMPRSS2 in SARS-CoV-2 induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Stefan Pöhlmann, Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung (DPZ)
- Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 by antibodies to the proteolytic cleavage sites of the spike protein.
Applicant: Dr. Alexander Hahn, Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung (DPZ)
- Biochemical and structural characterization of the SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein 16 (Nsp16), a cap ribose 2’O-methyltransferase.
Applicant: Dr. Grzegorz Popowicz, Professor Dr. Markus Landthaler, Professor Dr. Michael Sattler, Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt, Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC) in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, Technische Universität München (TUM)
- The role of adaptive NK cells in the control of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Lutz Walter, Professor Dr. Markus G. Uhrberg, Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung (DPZ), Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
- Crosstalk between nonstructural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and the autophagy signaling machinery.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Björn Stork, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
- SARS-COV-2-mediated liver injury.
Applicant: Dr. Pietro Scaturro, Heinrich-Pette-Institut - Leibniz-Institut für Experimentelle Virologie (HPI)
- SARS-CoV-2 induced damage of the alveolar epithelium in the lung and its inhibition by α1-antitrypsin.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Jan Münch, Professor Dr. Manfred Frick, Universität Ulm
- Impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the barrier function of the airway epithelium.
Applicant: Privatdozent Dr. Oliver Wittekindt, Professor Dr. Frank Kirchhoff, Universität Ulm
- Viral tools and monosynaptic tracers for studying SARS-CoV2 neurotropism and neuronal transmission.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Karl-Klaus Conzelmann, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)
- Spatiotemporal Corona virus binding dynamics and infection mechanism investigated with 100 Hz ROCS microscopy and thermal fluctuation analysis.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Alexander Rohrbach, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
- The role of ketogenesis in the immune response towards SARS-CoV-2.
Applicant: Privatdozent Dr. Christian Bode, Professor Christoph Wilhelm Ph.D., Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
- Deciphering SARS-CoV-2 mediated inflammasome activation in COVID-19 patient-derived myeloid cells.
Applicant: Privatdozent Dr. Jan Rybniker Ph.D., Universität zu Köln
- Targeting the neurovascular niche in COVID-19.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Manuel A. Friese, Professor Dr. Markus Glatzel, Universität Hamburg
- Identification and validation of key host cellular factors directing SARS-CoV-2 assembly and consequences for neuronal proteostasis.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Carsten Korth, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
- Endocrine in vitro models to study pathophysiology and diabetes in SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.
Applicant: Professor Dr. Alexander Kleger, Professor Dr. Jan Münch, Universität Ulm
- Understanding Neutrophil Extracellular Trap (NET) formation in COVID-19.
Applicant: Dr. Luise Erpenbeck, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Research on Coronaviruses
The following projects are concerned with biological aspects of coronaviruses and with preclinical and clinical questions relating to coronavirus infections.
Approved as additional proposal in May 2020:
Structural Biology of SARS-CoV-2 by NMR spectroscopy (Covid19-NMR)
Led by: Harald Schwalbe
This project is part of the Collaborative Research Centre CRC 902 "Molecular Principles of RNA-based Regulation" at Goethe University Frankfurt, approved in 2011.
(Last updated: May 2020)
Externer LinkModulation of infection and defense by MERS-coronavirus protein 4b
Led by: Christian Drosten and Katja Zscheppang
This project is part of the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio TRR 84 "Innate Immunity of the Lung: Mechanisms of Pathogen Attack and Host Defence in Pneumonia" at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, funded since 2010.
Externer LinkPathogenesis of feline infectious peritonitis
Led by: John Ziebuhr
Externer LinkPhosphorylation-dependent regulation of the RNA metabolism in the host response to coronavirus infection (C02)
Led by: Michael Kracht
Both projects are part of the Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1021 "RNA Viruses: RNA Metabolism, Host Response and Pathogenesis" at Philipps-Universität Marburg with Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, funded since 2013.
Externer LinkPhylogenetische und experimentelle Rekonstruktion zoonotischer Transmission von humanen Coronaviren
Led by: Professor Dr. Christian Drosten, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Externer LinkRole of importin-alpha isoforms in MERS-coronavirus interspecies transmission and subsequent infection of the human respiratory tract
Gülsah Gabriel, Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology (HPI)
Both projects were or are part of the Externer LinkPriority Programme PP 1596 "Ecology and Species Barriers in Emerging Viral Diseases", funded since 2013
Externer LinkSurface glycoproteins of two bat paramyxoviruses: functional characterization and importance for host switch
Led by: Professor Dr. Georg Herrler, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
The DFG funded this project through a research grant between 2014 and 2016.
Externer LinkCoronaviruses as a paradigm for the transmission interface between wildlife, livestock and humans
Christian Drosten, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and Marco Tschapka, Ulm University
The DFG funded this project between 2014 and 2018 through a research grant.
Externer LinkTargeting immunophilin- and MAPK-associated pathways to inhibit MERS-CoV replication and prevent lung injury
Led by: Stephan Becker and Christin Peteranderl
Externer LinkVirus-Host interactions that drive and control respiratory epithelial injury in coronavirus infections
Led by: Michael Kracht und John Ziebuhr
Both projects are part of the Clinical Research Unit KFO 309 "Virus-induced Lung Injury: Pathobiology and Novel Therapeutic Strategies" at Philipps-Universität Marburg, University Hospital Giessen and Marburg, the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research Bad Nauheim and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, funded since 2016.
Externer LinkIdentification of factors influencing zoonotic transmission of MERS-Coronavirus in Kenya
Marcel Müller, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
The DFG has been funding this project since 2020 through a research grant.
Research on pathogens, diseases and pandemics
Pathogens and diseases with pandemic potential feature in many DFG-funded projects, especially research groups that bring together biological and clinical expertise. Many projects are concerned with research questions that are not directly related to the current coronavirus pandemic but deal with a wide spectrum of fundamental questions that may be relevant to pandemics.
(Last updated: May 2020)
TRR 84: Innate Immunity of the Lung: Mechanisms of Pathogen Attack and Host Defence in Pneumonia
Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio TRR 84, funded since 2010, is investigating pneumonia as a widespread disease with growing, significant impacts on the healthcare system as a whole. It is based at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Humboldt University of Berlin, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen and Philipps-Universität Marburg.
Spokesperson: Norbert Suttorp
Functional Molecular Infection Epidemiology
The projects of the International Research Training Group IRTG 1673 at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Hyderabad concentrate on host-pathogen genomics and analyses of genetic host variability. The comparative analysis of infectious diseases in two countries, Germany and India, has provided important insights into both pathogen and host factors that determine the disease process. The IRTG was funded between 2010 and 2015.
Spokesperson: Lothar Wieler
SFB 1021: RNA Viruses: RNA Metabolism, Host Response and Pathogenesis
Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1021, based at Philipps-Universität Marburg and other institutions and funded since 2013, takes an interdisciplinary approach to viral infections. These infections present a significant threat to the health of humans and animals and cause enormous costs to public health systems.
Spokesperson: Stephan Becker
SPP 1596: Ecology and Species Barriers in Emerging Viral Diseases
By concentrating on novel viral diseases, Priority Programme PP 1596 "Ecology and Species Barriers in Emerging Viral Diseases", funded since 2013, focuses on a topic of great interest to the public. It expands the medical perspective (human and veterinary) to include the basic disciplines of virology and zoology/ecology.
Spokesperson: Christian Drosten, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
SFB 1129: Integrative Analysis of Pathogen Replication and Spread
The aim of CRC 1129, based at Heidelberg University and other institutions and funded since 2014, is to better understand the molecular basis of the development of disease, with a focus on major infectious diseases.
Spokesperson: Hans-Georg Kräusslich
Occult hepatitis B virus infection and reactivation in Africans in the context of the human immunodeficiency virus pandemic
The DFG funded Dieter Glebe, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, through a research grant between 2014 and 2019.
Tetherin antagonism by the Ebola virus glycoprotein: Molecular mechanism and contribution to viral spread
Through another research grant, the DFG also funded the work of Stefan Pöhlmann, German Primate Center, and Michael Schindler, Tübingen University Hospital, between 2014 and 2019.
Emerging viruses in Africa: Molecular identification and characterisation of rodent-, shrew-, and bat-borne hantaviruses and assessment of their public health potential
Detlev H. Krüger, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, has been researching this topic as part of an international team with the help of a DFG research grant since 2015.
Influenza during pregnancy: The emergence of highly virulent H1N1 influenza virus strains and consequences for maternal and offspring’s health
This project, conducted by Petra Clara Arck and Hans-Willi Mittrücker, Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, with Gülsah Gabriel, Heinrich Pette Institute, in Clinical Research Unit KFO "Feto-maternal immune cross talk: Consequences for maternal and offspring's health", has been funded by the DFG since 2015.
Determinants for Norovirus Host and Cell Tropism
Stefan Taube worked on this project at Universität zu Lübeck between 2015 and 2020 with a DFG research grant.
Virus-induced Lung Injury: Pathobiology and Novel Therapeutic Strategies
Clinical Research Unit KFO 309, coordinated from University Hospital Giessen and Marburg and funded since 2016, is concerned with acute infections of the lower respiratory tract. It focuses on viruses, including the influenza virus and coronaviruses (CoV).
Spokespersons: Susanne Herold, Werner Seeger
Harnessing layers of CD4 T cell immunity for HIV vaccine design
This project, conducted by Hendrik Streeck at the University of Bonn, has been funded by the DFG since 2016.
Bunyavirus and Paramyxovirus infections at the interface between wildlife, livestock and humans in Nigeria and Cameroon
With the aid of a DFG research grant, Martin Groschup, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, has been investigating this topic since 2016.
Impact of viral and cellular protein phosphorylation on the regulation of innate antiviral immune responses against influenza A virus infections
Stephan Ludwig at University Hospital Münster has been working on this project since 2016, supported by a research grant.
Molecular biology and spill-over potential of bat influenza A-like viruses
The DFG has been funding this project of Martin Beer, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, and Martin Schwemmle, University of Freiburg Medical Center, through a research grant since 2016.
Role of IFN-lambda in host defense against respiratory virus infections
Peter Stäheli at the University of Freiburg Medical Center researched this topic between 2016 and 2020 with a research grant from the DFG.
Understanding the Mechanism of Yellow Fever 17D vaccine Efficacy: An Immuni-Structural Approach towards the Design of a Pan-Flavivirus Vaccine
Anne Krug, LMU Munich, and Simon Rothenfusser, LMU Munich Hospital, have been investigating this topic since 2017 with a DFG research grant.
Identification of virus transmission networks to control key arboviral diseases in Kenya
This project, conducted by Christian Borgemeister, University of Bonn, and Sandra Junglen, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, has been supported by a DFG research grant since 2017.
Molecular mechanisms of Zika virus-associated neuropathogenesis and possible link to virus evolution
The DFG has been supporting this collaboration between Ralf Bartenschlager, Heidelberg University Hospital, and researchers in China since 2018 in the form of a research grant.
Kinetics and immunology of early Ebola virus infection (PREVIREMIX)
Cesar Muñoz-Fontela at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) has been researching this topic since 2018 with a DFG research grant.
A combined modeling framework to break the lethal alliance between influenza and bacterial coinfections
The research grant for Dunja Bruder, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, and Franziska Matthäus, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS), has been ongoing since 2018.
"RESIST - Resolving Infection Susceptibility"
The aim of the research in Cluster of Excellence EXC 2155, based at Hannover Medical School and other participating institutions and funded since 2019, is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying reduced immunity and the infectious agents involved, and thus the basis for more precise forms of treatment, more accurate diagnostic methods and new preventive measures.
Spokespersons: Reinhold Förster, Gesine Hansen, Thomas Schulz
"ImmunoSensation2: The immune sensory system"
The work in Cluster of Excellence EXC 2151, based at the University of Bonn and other institutions and funded since 2019, is based on research in the predecessor cluster and continues to focus on the immune system and a better understanding of chronic infections and autoimmune diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, tumours and Alzheimer's disease.
Spokespersons: Gunther Hartmann, Eicke Latz, Joachim Schultze
Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation (PMI)
The focus of Cluster of Excellence EXC 2167 "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI) is chronic inflammatory barrier diseases (CIBD). It has been funded since 2019 and is based at Kiel University.
Spokespersons: Stefan Niemann, Gabriela Riemekasten, Stefan Schreiber
Exploring the mechanisms of cytokine storm induction and systemic infection by highly pathogenic influenza viruses
This project conducted by Linda Brunotte and Stephan Ludwig, University Hospital Münster, funded since 2019, is part of Clinical Research Unit KFO 342 "Organ Dysfunction During Systemic Inflammation".
The postnatal maturation of human innate immunity against influenza infections and the associated risk for severe influenza diseases in dependence on the developing gut microbiome
Thomas Ulas, University of Bonn, and Dorothee Viemann, Hannover Medical School, have been carrying out this project with a DFG research grant since 2019.
Enhanced respiratory syncytial virus disease or protection from infection depends on the subtype used for adenoviral vector vaccination
The DFG has been supporting this project of Matthias Tenbusch, University Hospital Erlangen, through a research grant since 2019.
The wider context
Biological, preclinical and clinical research is not the only type of research that adds to our understanding of how to handle pandemics. Here you will find projects with research topics that may be of special interest amid the current pandemic. This selection provides a glimpse of the breadth of DFG-funded research and is not intended to be complete.
(Last updated: May 2020)
Externer LinkScience and the General Public: Understanding Fragile and Conflicting Evidence was the topic of a Priority Programme funded between 2009 and 2019, for which Rainer Bromme, University of Münster, was the spokesperson.
The Mannheim Corona Study came about in the Externer Linkdata centre of Collaborative Research Centre CRC 884 Externer Link"Political Economy of Reforms" at the University of Mannheim, which has been funded since 2010. Spokesperson: Annelies Blom.
Externer LinkCultures of Resilience and Adherence: Adaptation and Coping in the Context of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Botswana was the title of a project at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) between 2010 and 2015. Spokesperson: Fred Krüger.
Between 2011 and 2019, the DFG funded a project in a Research Unit at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), which investigated Externer LinkMechanism of Elite Education within the German Educational System.
Through a Heisenberg professorship, Cornelia Betsch at the University of Erfurt has been researching since 2013 on the topic of Externer LinkGaining behavioral insights to improve evidence-informed health communication - the cases of vaccine hesitancy and antibiotic resistance.
An Emmy Noether independent junior research group at the Humboldt University of Berlin, established in 2014 and led by Annette Brose, is investigating the topic of Externer LinkAdaptation to major life events: a learning opportunity for some and a route to de-pression for others?
Since 2015, a project at the University of Tübingen has been investigating Externer LinkThreatened but stable medical systems of knowledge. Ebola in West Africa and endangered orders of medicine (2013 - 2016). Led by: Henning Tümmers. The project is part of the CRC Externer Link"Threatened Orders".
A project at Ruhr-Universität Bochum led by Stefan Huster, which has been supported by a research grant since 2016, is concerned with Externer LinkMedical Necessity in the Contexts of Patient Care, Health Politics, and Setting Limits to Health Services. An Analysis in Medical Philosphy, Health Ethics, and Social Law.
Externer LinkRandomised controlled study on quality of care using either a telemedical or conventional physician based out-of-hospital emergency system is the name of a project conducted by Rolf Rossaint, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, which was supported by a DFG research grant between 2016 and 2020.
With the aid of a research grant, Susan Garthus-Niegel, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus at TU Dresden, has been working since 2017 on the project Externer LinkFamily, Health and Work - a Duo-Centric Cohort Study.
Externer LinkEconomic Perspectives on Societal Challenges: Equality of Opportunity, Market Regulation, and Financial Stability is a Collaborative Research Centre / Transregio established in 2018 at the University of Bonn and the University of Mannheim. Spokesperson: Sven Rady.
With the help of a research grant, since 2018 Sabine Sonnentag, University of Mannheim, has been investigating Externer LinkNot detaching from work during leisure time, affect, and well-being: Testing the underlying processes.
Since 2019, the Research Unit FOR 2959 at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg with its spokesperson Christian Apfelbacher has been studyingExterner LinkHealth literacy in early childhood allergy prevention: parental competencies and public health context in a shifting evidence landscape (HELICAP).
Gisela Lanza, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has been investigating Externer LinkMigration planning of global production networks – methodological support for the determination of robust migration paths and risk-efficient enablers of change with a research grant since 2019.
Franz Josef Neyer, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, has been researching the Externer LinkRisks and Chances of Living Alone (RIKSCHA) Externer Linkwith the help of a research grant since 2019.
The Cluster of Externer LinkExcellence Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) at the Free University of Berlin and other institutions is concerned with the liberal script, understood as ideas and institutional guidelines for the organisation of societies on the basis of the core principle of individual self-determination. It has been funded since 2019. Spokespersons: Tanja Börzel and Michael Zürn.
The Cluster of Excellence EXC 2035 is examining Externer LinkThe Politics of Inequality: Perceptions, Participation and Policies. It has been funded since 2019 and is based at the University of Konstanz. Spokespersons: Marius Busemann, Claudia Diehl and Nils Weidmann.
The DFG has been supporting Kai Sassenberg, Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM), through a research grant since 2020. Project title: Externer LinkUnderstanding and fighting the impact of conspiracy mentality – the example of vaccination.
GEPRIS is a database of DFG-funded projects. If you are looking for suitable contacts or research partners, here you will find information on research being carried out in DFG projects, which you can filter by various criteria.
GERiT provides an overview of more than 29,000 research institutes in Germany. Here you will find profile information, links to DFG-funded projects and much more.