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uni'wissen 01-2012_ENG

Signalhaus Freiburg: A New Home for Top-Level Research The University of Freiburg’s Centre for Bio­ logical Signalling Studies (BIOSS) unites signal­ ing research and synthetic biology – not just from a scientific perspective, but now also in a spatial sense: The research cluster opened its own building on 11 June 2012. It now brings the cluster’s scientists and administration ­together under a single roof, as well as the so- called Toolbox, which provides biological ­materials and methodological competence for research. Biological signaling processes form the basis of life for all of an organism’s cells. Signaling research investigates how cells react to exter­ nal signals and how signals are passed on within or between them. Synthetic biology ­reconstructs molecules or develops molecules with new functions. BIOSS builds a bridge bet­ ween the these two fields of research by ­reconstructing biological signaling processes in the laboratory. The goal is to understand ­signaling paths and control signals. The architecture and technical equipment of Signalhaus Freiburg are tailored to the needs of the research groups. The BIOSS scientists will form an even more closely knit network in the new building on Schänzlestraße across from the Faculty of Biology. Signalhaus Frei­ burg is thus an important component of the University of Freiburg’s aim to further advance fundamental research in biology. Contents Back to the Old Verse 4 Indo-European linguist Eva Tichy has de- veloped a new research method to answer unsolved questions about Homer’s Iliad Ready for the Defense 8 Scientists at the Center for Chronic Immuno- deficiency are studying defective immune cells of the human body Making Sense of Dilemmas 12 Public finance expert Wolfgang Eggert ­studies mechanisms that get societies into difficult situations Making Deep Brain Stimulation Greener 16 Scientists at the Bernstein Center Freiburg aim to improve the treatment of Parkinson’s disease Illuminating Remote Corners 20 The physicist Alexander Rohrbach is devel- oping microscopes with self-reconstructing laser beams A New Way of Talking about Faith 24 The sociologist Hans Joas is finishing up his study on “sacralization and secular- ization” Mirror, Mirror in the Lab 28 The psychologist Brunna Tuschen-Caffier is studying how girls and women with ­eating disorders perceive their body Bye-Bye Gasoline Prices 32 Scientists in Freiburg are developing ­chemicals to make batteries more power- ful and electric cars more popular More Order in Law 36 Researchers in Freiburg are working on a concept for simplifying the administrative regulations of the European Union Photo: Herzog 01 2012