German Research Foundation Approves Establishment of Three Research Training Groups at RWTH


The German Research Foundation, DFG for short, has approved three proposals for research training groups from RWTH. In October, the University will launch the groups "Modern Inverse Problems: From Geometry and Data to Models and Applications," "MultiSenses–MultiScales: Novel Approaches to Decipher Neural Processing in Multisensory Integration," and "Tumor-Targeted Drug Delivery." DFG Research Training Groups to educate and promote highly qualified doctoral candidates.


Modern Inverse Problems: From Geometry and Data to Models and Applications

Computational methods have a strong impact on many aspects of science and technology. Their rapid advancement is driven not only by ever-faster hardware, but also by the increasing understanding of the potential of computational methods. Simulations are developing from simple numerical experiments into predictive tools. Models of individual phenomena become model hierarchies for complex systems.

The international research training group consists of researchers from the Aachen Institute of Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science (AICES) and the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at the University of Texas at Austin. Special emphasis will be placed on inverse problems, focusing in particular on the interaction between geometry, data, models, and applications. Eleven RWTH professors are involved in the group, whose spokesperson is Professor Marek Behr, Chair of Computational Analysis of Technical Systems, CATS.


MultiSenses–MultiScales: Novel Approaches to Decipher Neural Processing in Multisensory Integration

The human brain is capable of simultaneously processing – effortlessly, it seems – a large number of sense impressions. However, science is far from understanding how the brain is able to achieve this. The group seeks to achieve a conceptual and mechanical understanding of multisensory neuronal processing at different levels of analysis. Eleven RWTH professors are involved in the group, whose spokesperson is Marc Spehr, Lichtenberg Professor of Chemosensation at RWTH.

“Multi-sensory perception is omnipresent in our everyday lives. Whether it is driving to work in the morning or visiting a restaurant in the evening, we have to simultaneously process a vast number of sense impressions. We understand too little about how this can be achieved within fractions of a second,” says Spehr.

“We want to train and educate our doctoral candidates in such a way that they are able to follow different career paths, regardless of their area of expertise. A comprehensive qualification strategy provides the basis for this – in a modular approach, we teach neuroscientific core competencies while also providing innovative elements, and there is sufficient flexibility to create individually tailored training programs.”


Tumor-Targeted Drug Delivery

Drug delivery systems improve the efficiency of cancer therapeutic agents by slowing their degradation, prolonging blood circulation times, increasing target site accumulation, and protecting healthy organs. So far, various drug delivery systems have been developed and tested, but their full potential has not been fully exploited as yet. Exploiting this potential requires close, interdisciplinary collaboration at the interface between clinical practice, tumor biology, and chemical technologies.

The research training group seeks to develop drug delivery systems and new treatment strategies to treat tumors more effectively and reduce the side effects of agents. Innovative production processes are to be established that allow the efficient, reproducible production of drug delivery systems.

Furthermore, Inter- and intraindividual differences in tumor vasculature and tumor microenvironment will be correlated with site accumulation, penetration, and drug delivery system effectiveness. In addition, pharmacological and physical complementary treatments will be examined to increase tumor uptake and the effectiveness of drugs.

Eight RWTH professors, four associate professors (PD) and postdocs, and five partners from the US are contributing to the research training group. Spokespersons for the group are professors Fabian Kiessling and Twan Lammers from the Institute of Experimental Molecular Imaging, ExMi.