Nov 28, 2012
Life forms with a nervous system and an immune system can recall experiences of stress such as a past illness. This memory allows the organism to protect itself when facing the same event repeatedly – in the case of illness, for example, by developing antibodies. But do organisms that lack a nervous system, such as plants, fungi, or bacteria, also have some memory of stress? That is the topic now being pursued by ecologists, molecular biologists, and biochemists within Collaborative Research Center 973, which was established in July 2012.
The researchers aim to find out how organisms without a nervous system can store environmental experiences. To that end, they are conducting various experiments, exposing these organisms to both heat and cold and to pathogens and insect damage. They are studying the environmental conditions under which it could be sensible for these organisms to have some recollection of past events, along with what, if any, recall strategies they choose.
Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 973, “Organismic Reactions to Stress: Character and Memory,” is a research institution initiated by Freie Universität Berlin as the host university. The other participating institutions are the University of Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP), in Potsdam’s Golm district. The CRC is being funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), initially for a period of four years (July 2012 – July 2016).
It encompasses 14 research projects headed by scholars and scientists from Freie Universität, the University of Potsdam, and MPI-MP. A research training group to provide academic and scientific training to Ph.D. students is associated with the CRC. One of the center’s major structural goals is to create a link between ecological science on the one hand and molecular biology and biochemistry on the other. The center’s spokesperson is Monika Hilker and the vice spokesperson is Professor Tina Romeis.
Prof. Dr. Monika Hilker, Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Biology / Spokesperson for Collaborative Research Center 973, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-55913, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. Tina Romeis, Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Biology / Deputy Spokesperson for Collaborative Research Center 973, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-53123, Email: email@example.com