Excellence Initiative

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Excellence Initiative | Proposals and Draft Proposals | Exzellenzcluster "Challenges for Adaptive SuperSystems"

Cluster of Excellence "Challenges for Adaptive SuperSystems"

On the Trail of Viruses and Bacteria

The nervous system and immune system are two complex supersystems of the human organism with the capability to react and adjust to widely varying environmental challenges. Adaptation, learning and memory are therefore important characteristics of both systems. The disturbance of the dynamic equilibrium between these different reactive levels, for example through internal errors (i.e. mutations), viral or bacterial agents, can lead to illnesses with important socio-economic consequences. At Humboldt-Universität, many of these issues are already being studied in eight special research programmes, three clinical research groups, and three graduate colleges.
The Cluster of Excellence "Challenges for Adaptive SUperSystems" uniquely combines scientific expertise in the neurological sciences, immunology, theoretical biology and infection biology. By bringing together theoretical and empirical approaches, and through interdisciplinary cooperation between previously isolated fields of research, the adaptive capabilities of these two supersystems can be better understood. In addition to studying the similarities and differences between the two systems and their structural and functional interfaces, it is hoped that new treatment methods can be developed which can be applied to system failure and invasive infections.