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Research

Current projects

Current EFI projects

The Emerging Fields project ‘Human Rights in Healthcare’ focuses on highly relevant issues for our society involving human rights and medical ethics. The project aims to describe conflicting claims for necessary support for personal autonomy in healthcare from a normative and a practical perspective under consideration of human rights and medical ethics. It is the result of interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from the fields of medicine, ethics, law, philosophy, social sciences, political science and literary studies.

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The liberalisation of the electricity market and the increasing use of renewable energy sources pose new challenges for our energy system with regard to grid expansion, energy production, transmission, distribution and innovative storage systems. A successful transformation into a smart energy system is therefore largely dependent on adequate investment incentives and the attractiveness of the business models of involved stakeholders. The goal of the research project is to carry out an interdisciplinary analysis of the energy system and the business models of those involved. It aims to gain new and urgently needed insight into the interaction between business models and regulation while taking into account technical reference models, and to provide recommendations for political and regulatory frameworks to ensure a successful transition towards a smart energy system.

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CYDER is an international and interdisciplinary consortium of cell cycle experts. The cell cycle is a tightly regulated series of events that governs cell proliferation. Faults in cell cycle regulation result in cancer. Furthermore, although not explicitly considered cell cycle related diseases, heart disease, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s disease are just a few examples of incurable illnesses associated with cell cycle activity in non-proliferative cell types. The aim of the project is to gain a better understanding of the effects of cell cycle activation that can lead to a wide variety of processes such as cancer, regeneration and chronic organ failure. CYDER’s ultimate goal is to identify common cell cycle related paradigms between seemingly unrelated diseases in order to accelerate the discovery of new preventions, treatments and cures for cell cycle related diseases.

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One of the most serious issues in the public healthcare system is the lack of objective and individualised efficacy assessment of medical diagnostics and intervention in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of diseases. For this reason, the Emerging Fields project ‘EFIMoves’ aims to develop and validate modern, multi-modal diagnostic techniques in medical technology to enable a qualitative and quantitative assessment of movement disorders that will provide a sustainable benchmark for various forms of treatment. Mobile and integrated sensor-based movement analysis is a simple, cost-effective and individualised method that can be used to study all forms of movement that are relevant for the treatment of motor neuron diseases and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

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The aim of the research project is to conduct molecular imaging in the context of endoscopic examinations in inflammatory and neoplastic diseases using the molecular signature of the cellular structure of the tissue which is expressed in the respective disease to present certain disease-specific changes. Molecular imaging in the context of endoscopic examinations could enable various lesions to be detected more easily and at an earlier stage, and be used as a basis for designing new algorithms for diagnosis and therapy in the future. Furthermore, this procedure could be used to predict the response to immunomodulatory therapy, enabling this form of treatment to be adapted more effectively for individual patients.

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The Synthetic Biology project aims to establish an interdisciplinary platform for researchers from the fields of biology, computer science, mathematics, materials science and physics to enable them to conduct collaborative research into biological principles on the nanometre scale, develop approaches for the rational metabolic reprogramming of living cells, and explore how biologically inspired nanomachines can be created. The resulting studies will provide important insights into the function of natural biological systems. It is hoped that these developments will be applied in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as the development of new sources for bioenergy, new approaches in environmental protection and methods for producing fine chemicals. The project aims to bring together experts in the above mentioned disciplines at FAU and to support projects focused on designing novel metabolic pathways in living systems and developing tailor-made minimal cells and nanofactories.

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Literature and the natural sciences are two opposing approaches to viewing the world which, when brought together, have the potential to improve our understanding of current and future problems and how we deal with them. A considerable number of highly insightful, fact-based literary texts on topics in physics are currently being published, more than ever before. By means of dialogue and narration, they translate physical knowledge from mathematical and symbolic forms of representation into verbal, polyvalent forms of representation and re-embed them in specific cultural contexts. At the same time, the natural sciences are reflecting more and more on the verbal formulation of their research, as well as its all-encompassing cultural dimensions. The analysis of concept formation in the natural sciences can benefit from linguistic and literary theory, while the analysis of the transformation of physical knowledge in literary texts needs to be complemented by a sound knowledge of physical theory. ELINAS provides a platform for this exchange: it develops this research field historically and systematically, bringing together expertise in the fields of cultural studies and the natural sciences. The main challenge lies in developing a common systematic approach based on the distinct, methodologically controlled specialist discourses of each of the two groups of experts.

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Singlet fission is a method of producing two excited electrons using one photon which can be used to increase the efficiency of solar cells. The aim of this project is for researchers from synthetic and physical chemistry, surface and molecular physics, and theoretical physics to collaborate closely to examine the fundamental processes involved in singlet fission. They aim to develop a fundamental understanding of the physical process that can be applied to design novel materials for solar cells.

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Identifying specific tissue diseases – in particular tumours and inflammation – at the earliest possible stage in order to provide adequate, personalised and minimally invasive treatment is one of the biggest challenges for modern medicine. The specific high-resolution visualisation of diseased cells and tissue components requires new optical technologies at the limits of optical resolution to be developed in order to reveal structures that would be otherwise invisible to the naked eye. The main goal of the ADVENDO-LIFE project is to miniaturise state-of-the-art multi-photon imaging equipment to create a new generation of optical endoscopes that will be suitable for visualising individual diseased cells in tissues and tissue architecture in vivo, initially in animal models and subsequently in patients. To achieve this, an interdisciplinary team of laser physicists, optical engineers, biotechnologists and medical experts are working together to develop and validate a prototype endoscope. Systematic computer-aided analysis of the imaging data will be used to create a database of the ultrastructures of organ-specific diseases.

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