"Understanding how biological systems maintain long-term stability is the central theme of this initiative. We seek to understand how complex cellular systems react and adapt to existential threats of intrinsic and environmental origins and maintain homeostasis to promote longevity."
Why do some people stand stably in their lives, while others are struggling with every day's burden and sometimes even develop mental disease? Why do some individuals maintain mental flexibility into old age, while others are locked in rigid behaviors early in their lives or rapidly develop dementia as they get older? Why is the lifetime incidence of cancer high in some species, while the disease is virtually unheard of in others? Why can most individuals react robustly to infections or environmental changes, while the same challenges weaken some individuals and cause chronic vascular or immune-driven diseases like allergies and autoimmunity? Why is life span measured in days for some species, while individuals in other species thrive for centuries?
To answer these questions, we must understand the mechanisms underlying resilience and adaptability from molecular and cellular levels up to system function. Our interest in fundamental mechanisms that underlie robustness and longevity translates into the central goal in medicine of maintaining or restoring long-term health and enabling people to live long and productive lives. By building a research network that includes biology and medicine, informatics, physics, and chemistry, we will overcome what is arguable one of today's greatest challenges in biomedical science.
ReALity is a joint initiative of all principle investigators of the Faculty of Biology, the Focus Program Translational Neurosciences (FTN), the Research Center for Immunotherapy (FZI), and the Center for Translational Vascular Biology (CTVB) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.