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Research of senses will continue to be funded

German Research Foundation supports sensory Collaborative Research Center for another four years
One of the research priorities of the CRC 889: sensory and nerve cells of the inner ear, made visible by fluorescence microscopy after staining of the protein calbindin. Photo: Carlos Duque Afonso and Dr. Christian Vogl, IAN/UMG

The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 889) "Cellular Mechanisms of Sensory Processing", in which scientists from the German Primate Centre (DPZ) are also involved, investigates the complex mechanisms underlying the processing of sensory stimuli. The research network has been funded by the German Research Foundation since 2011 and has now been extended for a further four years with a total of nine million euros.

The DPZ will receive approximately one million euros. The processing of sensory information is the basis of our interaction with the environment. The scientists of the Collaborative Research Centre follow a multidisciplinary and integrative approach to investigate the basic and complex mechanisms involved in the processing of sensory stimuli such as images, sounds or smells. For this purpose, sensory cells and sensory nerve cells use highly specialized signaling processes that are optimized for the processing of the respective sensory stimulus.

Scientists from 21 neuroscientific research groups in Göttingen work together in 19 projects. At the DPZ, scientists from the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory headed by Stefan Treue, the Sensorimotor Group headed by Alexander Gail and the Neurobiology Laboratory headed by Hansjörg Scherberger are involved in the CRC. Alexander Gail and Hansjörg Scherberger are investigating how sensory information from different sensory stimuli, for example seeing and feeling, is processed in primates in order to plan and execute movements. Stefan Treue and his team are investigating how the processing of sensory stimuli is modulated by attention. The scientists are analyzing which messenger substances are involved in the mediation of attention processes in the primate visual system.

Speaker of the CRC 889 is Tobias Moser, Director of the Institute for Auditory Neurosciences of the University Medical Center Göttingen and head of the Research Group Auditory Neurosciences and Optogenetics at the DPZ. He and his team are investigating how the hearing system processes acoustic information during normal hearing and when hearing with cochlear implants. With their findings, the researchers hope to improve cochlear implants in order to provide hearing impaired people with a better hearing experience.

In addition to the DPZ, five clinics and institutes of the University Medical Center, the European Neuroscience Institute (ENI-G), the Faculty of Biology and Psychology as well as Physics of the University of Göttingen, the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization are involved in CRC 889.