Program - SUMMARY

This DFG Priority Program aims at developing an interdisciplinary research program that determines fundamental principles of microbe-host interactions and thereby, providing a mechanistic understanding for the functional role of the intestinal microbiota in the regulation of both physiologic and pathologic conditions, specifically infectious and chronic inflammatory disorders of the gut. This effort goes beyond metagenomic sequence acquisition and should generate hypothesis-driven research to translate basic principles of microbe-host interaction into future clinical application. SPP 1656 will contribute to the rapidly emerging field of research on the role of the intestinal microbiota and mucosal immunity in health and disease. To accomplish this, a broad range of different scientific disciplines need to interact and to combine, exchange and further expand their complementary expertise, scientific skills, and technical platforms. This program will address the following research themes along with the aim to build and interconnect important scientific infrastructure and facilities.

1. Developing novel scientific concepts:

  • Understanding the physiology of a bi-directional interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the mucosal immune system at early life stages and in response to diet and host genotypes.
  • Understanding the role of microbe-host interactions in the pathophysiological transition from immune homeostasis to infectious and chronic inflammatory disorders.
  • Establishing mechanistic concepts for pre-clinical efficacy and risk evaluation of probiotic intervention and fecal transplantation in infectious and chronic inflammatory disorders.

2. Developing infrastructure networks:

  • Building the infrastructure to facilitate a gnotobiotic facility network with one core center for the generation of novel germ-free models and three outposts for specific experimental applications. In addition, we strengthen two core centers for metagenomic and metabolite analysis with a strong emphasis on the transfer of standardized methodologies and protocols for sample processing and data analysis.

3. Training and educating the next generation:

  • Providing platforms for scientific project guidance and scientific education, establishing local and network training courses in both scientific education and career development.