Meeting of three clusters of excellence: networking promises added value and more visibility
In beautiful surroundings between sunlit mountains, streams and vineyards, RESIST board members met with board members of the clusters of excellence Balance of the Microverse from Jena and Controlling Microbes to Fight Infections from Tübingen on 22 and 23 June at Kloster Eberbach, Eltville am Rhein, to network.

At the beginning, the Clusters of Excellence were presented: Prof. Schulz summarised what RESIST researchers are working on. Prof. Küsel and Prof. Bauer explained that the team of the Balance of the Microverse cluster is researching the formation, balance and interactive networks of microbial communities. They are concerned with microbial communities that live together with plants, animals and humans as well as those in the environment, for example in groundwater. The aim is to find innovative solutions to combat diseases and disturbances of the ecological balance.
Prof. Peschel presented Controlling Microbes to Fight Infections, whose members are dedicated to the microbiomes of the human body. The researchers want to develop new strategies to control microbial mechanisms – far away from conventional antibiotic therapy, which is associated with side effects – and to fight infections. Their goal is to elucidate the mechanisms of interaction between beneficial and harmful bacteria and humans in order to develop novel treatment methods.

It turned out that the research programmes of the three clusters have many complementarities and thus offer great potential for synergy. A joint scientific symposium has therefore emerged as a central goal of the group, which is now planned for 2024. In addition, the participants have talked about short- and longer-term possibilities for cooperation in the area of promoting young scientists; for example, laboratory courses for learning new methods are to be opened up to doctoral students from the three clusters of excellence. And perhaps in a few years there will even be joint retreats of young scientists from the three clusters of excellence. “We have found that we complement each other wonderfully with our different infectiology research topics. If we join forces, we can create synergies and added value and thus shape our research fields together to a certain extent,” says Prof. Schulz.