Current projects

Current EFI projects

This project examines an important aspect from the fields of art, archaeology and cultural inheritance – iconography and narrative images. Since we are now able to detect objects and styles using computer vision to a great extent, the next challenge is to understand the semantic level of images. The aim is to enable interaction between scientists and machines, not only in the form of applied science, but also as an interdisciplinary exchange of methods and image theory.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Peter Bell,

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The aim of this project is to develop a comprehensive model for the integration of migrants in new socio-cultural environments. A particular focus is placed on aspects such as violence and trauma. The combination of expertise from political science, linguistics, medicine and psychology enables the researchers to investigate the interplay between socio-cultural experiences and biophysical reactions. Particular emphasis is placed on hidden forms of exclusion and symbolic violence in institutions.

Project coordination: Prof Dr. Petra Bendel, and Prof. Dr. Yesim Erim,

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The aim of this project is to analyse the time series of Earth observation (EO) data with innovative ‘deep learning’ methods in order to develop efficient algorithms for dealing with the large amounts of data involved. The value of these EO products is further increased by advanced interpolation techniques and assimilation in geophysical models from applied mathematics.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Matthias Braun,

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Digital transformation is posing a challenge for the concept of sovereignty on various levels. These challenges and possible reactions are being discussed in discourses about ‘digital sovereignty’. In order to understand these discourses as well as their practical, political, legal and technical consequences, it is necessary to combine expertise from social sciences and economics, ethics, law and technology and computer science. This project does so by carrying out exploratory interdisciplinary studies and will thus promote the academic investigation of ‘digital sovereignty’.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Georg Glasze,

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The latest technological developments in MR spectroscopy and high magnetic field MRI enable metabolites in tissue to be measured using non-invasive methods. These techniques are being used to establish an MR-based immunometabolic profiling platform (MR-IPP) in animal models of arthritis. MR-IPP is then implemented in order to detect disease-specific changes in metabolism in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Krönke,

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Body odours are collected from healthy participants of varying ages and the volatile compounds of these odours are analysed using chromatographic and olfactometric methods. The microbiome of the samples is also determined. In addition to demographic information and other mediators, the data are analysed using machine learning or other suitable modelling techniques.

Project coordination: Dr. Helene Loos,

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This project involves manufacturing biopolymer hydrogels and cataloguing their mechanical properties. They serve as replacement materials in order to understand and model the highly-complex behaviour of soft biological tissue. The aim is to generate a catalogue of replacement materials for various soft tissue that links the specific characteristics of their mechanical responses with the relevant modelling approach. This catalogue could make the process of selecting suitable materials for 3D printing of artificial organs or generating suitable models for prognostic simulations considerably easier in the future.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Paul Steinmann,

The digitalisation of society and media systems is having a major impact on the formation of (political) opinion and discourse. The purpose of this project is to investigate a complex phenomenon that has arisen in an era of globalised mass media and connectivity in terms of social media that transcends national borders. An interdisciplinary combination of computer linguistics, network visualisation, intercultural hermeneutics and content analysis from the viewpoint of communication science makes it possible to analyse and map the processes behind the phenomenon. The project addresses the current political discussion focusing on nuclear energy and the energy transition in Germany and Japan following Fukushima.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Stefan Evert,

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Industry 4.0 is the term used to describe the intelligent digitalisation and networking of industrial value creation. The German government’s high-tech strategy sees Industry 4.0 as a major project that will help maintain Germany’s future global competitive capacity.

The purpose of the proposed project is to define the potential benefits and challenges associated with the implementation of Industry 4.0 beyond the technical aspects primarily researched so far, but with a special, integrative focus on the economic, ecological and social aspects in their interaction with technological developments and solutions. As part of the project, we will consider the correlations between opportunity and risk on all three levels of sustainability to form a normative model of sustainable value creation that can be differentiated on the basis of different value creation typologies. It will then be possible to outline specific integration strategies for the practical realisation of Industry 4.0.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Kai-Ingo Voigt,

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Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer that causes mortality in women. The extraordinary complexity of the corresponding tumour forms is considered to be the main reason why comparatively little is known at present about the development of breast cancer. This means that the currently available treatment methods lack predictive accuracy and options for verifying success at an early stage. Although the introduction of more effective medical techniques such as genome analysis and immunotherapies has improved prognoses significantly, there is still no targeted method of treating breast cancer successfully that is associated with few undesirable effects.

Participating in the Emerging Fields project entitled BIG-THERA is a multi-disciplinary team of internationally recognised researchers at FAU and Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. The aim is to jointly develop new strategies with different approaches to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of breast cancer. The team has outstanding expertise at its disposal in the fields of clinical and preclinical breast cancer research, immunology, genetics, imaging, nanomedicine, ethics, theoretical physics, pattern recognition and Big Data management.

Projekt coordination: Prof. Dr. Diana Dudziak,

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The purpose of the ‘MoJo 3D – Modular composite Joint 3D’ project is to develop a completely innovative technology that will make it possible to restore a functional joint surface in patients suffering from osteoarthritis or with cartilage damaged by trauma. The objective is to generate a highly resilient yet frictionless joint surface based on a modular concept personalised for the patient undergoing treatment. This interdisciplinary project brings together the fields of materials science, cellular biology, stem cell research, tissue engineering, biomechanics and the clinical fields of orthopaedics, trauma surgery and rheumatology. The intention is to create a material with a modular structure that is adapted to the biological and biomechanical requirements of the human joint. In order to devise the completely new construction and application concepts required for this form of regenerative treatment, the project combines the existing expertise at FAU.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Kolja Gelse,

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‘Chemistry in living cells’ is a project that involves an interdisciplinary consortium of nine academic research groups based in Erlangen and Frankfurt that are working on the development of non-enzyme-dependent chemical reactions designed to run autonomously to intracellular processes. The reactions are intended to enable minuscule, membrane-permeable particles to merge inside living cells to create complex agents, fluorophores and radioactive sensors. The reactions will be designed to occur only if particular bio-molecules specific to a disease (such as miRNAs, ROS) are present. The long-term aim of the project is to develop treatments for human diseases (including cancer) and to improve diagnostic methods.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Andriy Mokhir,

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Up and coming new applications in biology, nano-technology and medicine make it necessary to find ways to connect objects and machines in dimensions that can be measured in nanometres and micrometres. The standard electromagnetic approaches for designing the corresponding communication systems are unsuitable in connection with magnitudes of this order. Communication between nano- and micro-objects such as bacteria and other cells, however, is widespread in the natural world. Signal molecules often function as information carriers in this regard, thus providing the basis of a physiological molecular communication system. The project concentrates the expertise available at FAU in the fields of electrical engineering, biology, materials science, mathematics and nano-medicine to design and implement synthetic molecular communication systems on the basis of natural mechanisms and processes.

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Robert Schober,

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