© CIBSS, University of Freiburg / Dr. Peter Walentek (© Universität Freiburg)
Clusters of Excellence

Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies

Between the cells of complex living organisms, there is a constant exchange of biological signals. This dense network of dynamic signalling processes is a prerequisite for cells to coordinate their tasks, form complex tissues, and, at the same time, adapt to environmental conditions. The aim of CIBSS is to understand this “language of life” and to be able to communicate in it.

To achieve this goal, CIBSS is pursuing a new approach in signalling research that focuses on the integration of biological signals – meaning the mechanisms by which different signals are processed across spatial and temporal scales: How do molecular complexes, cells and entire tissues process multiple signals simultaneously? How does this result in decisions that have immediate or long-term effects on the organism? And how do environmental cues and other vital processes, such as metabolism, influence the effect of biological signals?

Building on a growing understanding of signal integration, research groups in CIBSS are developing methods for the precise control of signals, such as chemical and light-controlled tools. This targeted control of signals makes it possible to speak the ‘language of life’. The Cluster of Excellence’s research is thus opening up new possibilities for basic research and applications in biomedicine and plant sciences. These developments are accompanied and evaluated by research into the ethical, legal and social aspects of biological signalling research.

Changes in the regulation of signalling pathways have drastic effects on the organism. At the same time, signalling enables plants to optimally adapt their growth to changing environmental conditions. The signalling research undertaken at CIBSS is therefore highly relevant to society, as it provides the basis for identifying the causes of diseases, developing new treatment options and opening up opportunities to make agriculture more robust and sustainable. CIBSS combines the expertise of research groups at the University of Freiburg, the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics and the Freiburg University Medical Centre and collaborates with national and international research partners.

Involved Institution:

  • Max-Planck-Institut für Immunbiologie und Epigenetik

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