NEWS FROM ThE EMBO cOMMUNITY BIOSS centre for Biological Signalling Studies at a glance: ➔➔ Founded: 2007 ➔➔ Total number of researchers: 39 members and 64 associate members ➔➔ Research groups: 43 ➔➔ Scientific publications 2012: 190 ➔➔ Total expenditure 2012: 4.2 million Euros of competitive funding from the German Research Foundation ➔➔ Competitive funding: 28.1 million Euros from the German Research Foundation for the period November 2012 to October 2017 ➔➔ Deciphering life at the BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies The German Research Foundation recently awarded an additional five years of funding to the BIOSS CENTRE FOR BIOLOGICAL SIGNALLING STUDIES at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Researchers at the centre develop strategies and tools to decipher the signals involved in the regulation of the molecular processes of life that occur in and between cells. Many of these events have potential medical applications, for example finding ways to control the molecular signals that occur during the development and growth of cancer tumour cells. The timing of the award from the German Research Foundation coincided with the official opening of a new research building for the centre. “We will use the funding to support existing and new research programs, establish new professorships and junior research groups at the University of Freiburg, and fully equip our new research building, the Signalhaus Freiburg,” said the Scientific Director of BIOSS, professor and immunologist Michael Reth. Strategically, no fundamental changes to the structure or research goals of the Freiburg Cluster of Excellence BIOSS are planned with the new funding. The centre will instead build on previous achievements and complement them with new approaches. “The decision to further fund BIOSS shows that we have done a lot of things right in the past years,” added Reth. Two new areas of research will include stud- ies of the signals in tumour development and a project to look at the nanobiology of the plasma membrane. Both areas will extend the existing research programmes at the cluster and integrate synthetic biology and engineering into a single research endeavour. ERC advanced grant award. The Scientific Director of BIOSS also has another reason for celebra- tion. In November 2012, Reth and his team were awarded a five-year 2.24 million Euros advanced grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to investigate biological membranes at the nanometer scale. Reth and colleagues are study- ing the structure and function of receptors on the surface of immune cells. They will use the fund- ing from the ERC to continue developing the first ever methods for studying the organization of receptors on membranes on a scale in the range between 10 nm and 100 nm. In addition to being Scientific Director of BIOSS, Reth is professor of molecular immunol- ogy at the Institute of Biology III at the University of Freiburg and head of a research group at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg. “In the years ahead, BIOSS will continue to develop its research programmes and further establish itself as a centre for excellence in biolog- ical signalling research,” concluded Reth. Michael Reth ©2013 EMBO EMBOencounters | Winter 2012|2013 | 13 © BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies © BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies