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New research focus on brain diseases

Carl Zeiss Foundation supports Bernstein Center Freiburg with 750,000 €

Half a billion people worldwide suffer from neurological diseases. Their mechanisms on the level of nerve cells and neuronal networks, however, are only poorly understood. The Carl Zeiss Foundation supports the Bernstein Center Freiburg (BCF) at the University of Freiburg in developing and implementing new research approaches that employ computer-based and mathematical methods. Funds amounting to 750,000 € will allow the scientists to carry out important build-up work over the next four years.

Since its inauguration ten years ago, the Bernstein Center Freiburg has gained an excellent reputation in the field of computational neuroscience. This branch of neuroscience represents an important interface between theory, experiment, and biomedical applications. So far, the BCF has focused on basic research and neuro-technological applications that can be derived from it. The support by the Carl Zeiss Foundation will now allow to further investigate the neuronal mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric diseases. Research conducted in Freiburg already made significant contributions to the understanding of diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s.

“Many dysfunctions of the brain can probably be traced back to alterations in the activity dynamics of neuronal networks. Here, our work will contribute to a better understanding in the future,” explains Prof. Dr. Stefan Rotter, director of the BCF. The new research will help to establish the necessary bridging between clinical sciences and basic research.

The management of research projects, their technical support in the field of high performance computing, and the communication of findings and methods to students and colleagues is complex and must be mastered in addition to the actual research work. Typically, however, third party funding can only be spent to support research directly. The Carl Zeiss Foundation will enable the BCF to fund staff who support the scientists indirectly and thus participate in the full establishment of the center’s new research focus.

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