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Novel Production Processes through Cross-Scale Analysis, Modeling and Design of Cell-Cell and Cell-Bioreactor Interactions (InterZell) (SPP 2170)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the extension of the Priority Programme "Novel Production Processes through Cross-Scale Analysis, Modeling and Design of Cell-Cell and Cell-Bioreactor Interactions (InterZell)" (SPP 2170). This call invites project proposals for the second three-year funding period.

The Priority Programme therefore sets a defined research objective on cell-cell and cell-bioreactor interactions in biotechnological production processes for the production of raw materials, fine chemicals, aroma substances, technical or therapeutic proteins as well as pharmaceutically active components such as antibiotics or precursors of drug synthesis. The programme explicitly does not consider cell-cell interactions of biological consortia of soil, water or waste air treatment, but focuses on the production of the above mentioned substances under the controlled conditions of industrial bioreactors.
Microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi, but also mammalian cells such as CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovary cells) may be used as producers. Monocultures can only be applied in the programme as part of basic cell bioreactor studies for scale-up. Cell-cell interactions are to be performed by producing synthetic mixed cultures.

The term "synthetic mixed culture" encompasses the synergistic production of a target product either by the novel assembly of native strains or by the co-cultivation of genetically modified strains with distributed production tasks.
New biotechnical process principles based on synthetic mixed cultures and/or tools for the successful transfer from laboratory to technical scale without loss of performance are expected to be developed. The present call for proposals for the second funding phase of the Priority Programme focuses in particular on the implementation of promising approaches to cell-cell or cell-bioreactor interaction. The research should focus on at least one of the following questions:
o quantitative characterisation and use of synthetic mixed cultures for production processes
o process engineering and metabolic engineering strategies and their use for the construction of synthetic mixed cultures
o strain construction for mixed cultures and their use in reaction-engineered defined bioprocesses
o development and application of processes and apparatuses for fermentation technology for mixed cultures
o development and application of modeling and regulation concepts for mixed cultures
o development and application of quantitative methods and models for the identification of possible performance losses during scale-up
o development and application of scale-up strategies to avoid performance losses at production scale
o development and use of particularly robust host systems for scale-up

The Priority Programme aims to promote the networking of engineers and natural scientists. Therefore, the basic idea is to achieve or continue a strong interaction between engineering and natural sciences on the one hand and the thematic linking of theory and experiment on the other. In particular, cross-group cooperation projects, e.g. between engineers and micro- or molecular biologists, fulfill the basic concept precisely. It is assumed that a maximum of one PhD student per research group may be funded. Applications for individual funding should clearly emphasise the natural and engineering science topics. A one-sided focus on exclusively scientific or engineering issues does not correspond to the concept of the programme.

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:
Dr. Vera Stadelmann,
Tel. +49 228 885-2834,

Further Information: