DFG Research Training Group RTG 2633: Defining and Targeting Autoimmune Pre-Disease

Project: DFG ProjectsDFG Joint Research: Research Training Groups

Project Details


Autoimmune diseases are a major clinical burden, affecting 4-5% of the population.Importantly, causative treatment is currently not possible, often requiring live-longimmunosuppression. While treatment is only applied upon clinical disease manifestation,autoimmune diseases develop over years - starting from the loss of tolerance towards self(autoimmunity), which, upon so far unknown trigger factors, may progress to clinically overtautoimmune disease. Unlike in cancer, for which screening for and treatment of pre-diseaseprevents disease progression, screening for autoimmune pre-disease is far from clinicalroutine due to the lack of definite biomarkers. However, if sensitive and specific biomarkers forfuture autoimmune disease could be identified, the clinical manifestations of the disease mightbe prevented by avoiding environmental factors that trigger disease or by use of therapy thatmodulates the destructive process before onset of clinical symptoms. Thus, defining andtargeting autoimmune pre-disease is the central, and so far, mainly unaddressed, scientificquestion of this Research Training Group (RTG). The University of Lübeck (UzL) has 3 majorresearch foci. Among these are Infection and Inflammation and Brain, Behavior andMetabolism. The RTG Autoimmune Pre-Disease builds on, will strengthen and join theexpertise of those 2 research foci. Through a long-standing track recorded in collaborativeresearch currently funded at UzL (e.g. the Cluster of Excellence Precision Medicine in ChronicInflammation, 3 RTGs and 1 Clinical Research Unit), the principal investigators of this RTGhave an in-depth expertise in autoimmune diseases, sleep, nutrition, systems biology and/orbiostatistics. Thus, the UzL is the ideal location to address the central scientific question of theRTG. The RTG is also well-embedded in structures to ensure a timely and coordinatedgraduation. This includes the Center for Doctoral Studies Lübeck (CDSL) that providesstructured training in practical- and soft-skills for all doctoral candidates, the RTG mentoringprogram, and ultimately, also the track record of the principal investigators of the RTG in postgraduateeducation. With the establishment of the RTG, we aim to strengthen and expand anenvironment at UzL for an internationally attractive, structured education of doctoral candidatesin the field of translational research in autoimmunity. This generation of translational scientistsand clinician scientists will then direct future research in the field and improve patient care byimplementing preventive measures.
Effective start/end date01.01.21 → …

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)
  • Centers: Center for Research on Inflammation of the Skin (CRIS)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 204-05 Immunology
  • 205-19 Dermatology
  • 205-18 Rheumatology

Funding Institution

  • DFG: German Research Association