SFB 1665: Sexdiversity - Determinants, meanings and implications of sex diversity in sociocultural, medical and biological landscapes

  • Hiort, Olaf (Speaker, Coordinator)
  • Spielmann, Malte (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Holterhus, Paul Martin (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Hornig, Nadine C. (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Müller, Franz Josef (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Frielitz-Wagner, Isabel Viola (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Mittag, Jens (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Kircher, Martin (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Seeger, Karsten (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Kulle, Alexandra E. (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Busch, Hauke Stephan (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Aherrahrou, Redouane (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Krämer, Ulrike (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Reisch, N. (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Göpel, Wolfgang (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • König, Inke Regina (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Laudes, Matthias (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Jürgensen, Martina (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Mangold, Anna Katharina (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Rehmann-Sutter, Christoph (Second Speaker/Coordinator)
  • Stammberger, Birgit (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Stoff, Heiko (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Palm, Kerstin (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Malich, Lisa (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Nemec, Birgit (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Hundt, Jennifer (Principal Investigator (PI))
  • Kohlrausch, Jonathan (Principal Investigator (PI))

Project: DFG ProjectsDFG Joint Research: Collaborative Research Center/ Transregios

Project Details


The categorisation of sex and the relationship between sex and gender are among the most controversial aspects of our understanding of the human body. Recently there has been substantial criticism by both the humanities and the biological sciences of an exclusively binary and essentialising model of sex. Thus, a starting point for new research is the observation that sex is multi-layered, dynamic, and in need of context-dependent reference frames. In this CRC, we aim to define the diversity of sex in different research contexts. In the different layers of analysis – from cells to organs, from organisms to societies – and by characterising the determinants, meanings and implications of sex at each of these levels, we will specify what “sex” refers to. The CRC will enable us to address the central hypothesis that sex is diverse and manifests itself through context-dependent differences that emerge on multiple levels. We will use cutting-edge methodology from the natural sciences, the humanities and social sciences to generate new insights into the biology of sex diversification, the impacts of (biological) sex and (socio-cultural) gender norms on clinical practice and biomedical research, and the sociocultural formation of sex categories. The CRC brings together scholars, researchers and clinicians from the Universität zu Lübeck with strong expertise in their respective fields, and who have already collaborated on fundamental, translational and clinical aspects of sex-related research. They are complemented by experts from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, with whom long-standing scientific and clinical collaborations exist. They are further complemented by selected external experts from Berlin, Flensburg, Magdeburg, Munich and Hannover with specific expertise in DSD research, gender studies and the legal aspects of sex diversity. The CRC will be organised in a way that stimulates interdisciplinary work between biological sciences, medicine, humanities and social sciences. Collaboratively, we will develop new research questions and understandings of sex diversity, and involve stakeholders and societal actors in the research process, thereby generating transdisciplinary impact. With the CRC, we hope to change the way sex is considered as a research variable in biomedical research and basic science by providing definitions and reference frames for sex which are contextual and adequate for its complexity and multi-layered nature. This will lead to more accurate and differentiated understanding of sex and sex diversity and thereby provide a solid basis for personalised medicine. The contribution of the humanities and social sciences will be to deepen the understanding of the interaction of sex and gender, and support methodological reflexivity. The findings of the CRC will elucidate the determinants, meanings and implications of sex and sex diversity, which is of utmost societal relevance and at the very core of our self-concept as humans.
Effective start/end date01.02.24 → …

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
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)
  • Research Area: Center for Cultural Studies (ZKFL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 102-4 History of Science
  • 111-02 Empirical Socila Research
  • 205-01 Epidemiology, Medical Biometrics/Statistics
  • 205-02 Public Health, Health Services Research and Social Medicine
  • 205-03 Human Genetics
  • 205-17 Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolism
  • 205-20 Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
  • 205-23 Reproductive Medicine, Urology
  • 206-10 Clinical Psychiatry, Psychotherapy amd Paediatric and Juvenile Psychiatrie
  • 110-05 Differential, Clinical and Medical Psychology, Methodology

Funding Institution

  • DFG: German Research Association