Project overview

The Collaborative Research Centre is divided into the subject areas Core (A), Shell (B), Medium (C) and Viral (D) as well as Transfer (T), Educational Institutions and the Public (Ö) and Central Tasks (Z).
Image: Peter H from Pixabay

The fight against inflammatory diseases, for example induced by infections, is of great importance for mankind and requires novel strategies for effective and safe pharmacotherapy. Current concepts for medication of inflammatory diseases suffer from restricted biocompatibility and organ specificity of available drugs and are associated with severe side effects. 

The CRC POLYTARGET offers innovative approaches for solving these treatment hurdles. Our consortium pursues the long-term goal to develop cell type-specific polymeric nanoparticle (NP) carriers for selective interference at different stages of the inflammatory processes. Targets for NP treatment include pathogens directly or concomitant harmful inflammatory reactions. Newly developed drugs encapsulated by tissue-specific NPs allow to resolve local and systemic inflammatory responses and protect remote organs. Based on these strategies POLYTARGET addresses a broad spectrum of inflammatory diseases leading to organ failures, i.e., sepsis. To face these challenges, a holistic view of the causes and effects of inflammatory reactions is required.

POLYTARGET maps the entire range of methods for generation and efficient application of cell type-specific NPs, which covers the synthesis of systematic polymer libraries, the formulation of NP libraries, the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs, modelling of drug-polymer interactions and the implementation of biomedical evaluation methods for testing the efficacy of drug-loaded NPs. The CRC's particular strength is the ability to comprehensively characterize all steps involved in the generation and implementation of the NPs.

  • Area A – CORE hosts the projects that deal with the “interior” of the NPs in a broad sense.
  • Projects in Area B – SHELL focus on the surface-related effects of NPs on biomolecules and cells.
  • Area C – MEDIUM expands the research level and includes cells, organisms, organoids and animal experiments.
  • Area D – VIRAL exploits the CRC`s expertise for fighting viral infections.
  • A public outreach project (Ö01) translates the concepts and findings of POLYTARGET to school education.
  • The underlying Area Z supplies the whole CRC with key technologies including chemical synthesis, upscaling, supply of human macrophages, central analytical techniques as well as bioinformatics approaches, but also with the scientific claim to further develop these methods. Moreover, the POLYTARGET Research Training Group (RTG) will continue educational mentoring of PhD researchers associated to the CRC by promoting their interdisciplinary scientific expertise to optimise the conditions for research and personal development.

Subject area A: CORE

A chemist works with liquid nitrogen.
Tailor-made multifunctional polymers and nanoparticles with optimized compatibility between biodegradable core and encapsulated drug
A female and a male chemist working in the synthesis lab.
Multifunctional nanoparticles based on polysaccharides for targeted drug delivery with two-step release behavior
test tubes containing pink fuid
Photoacids and bases as responsive elements in block copolymer nanostructures for uptake and transport
test tubes containing pink fuid
Spatial and temporal targeting of membrane-bound mPGES-1 and FLAP / 5-LO by dual inhibitors employing polymer-based nanocarriers
A chemist uses a pipette to introduce cell samples into a so-called microtiter plate.
Targetable nanoparticles for efficient translocation across gastrointestinal barriers
A chemist works in the synthesis lab.
Controlling stealth and barrier breaking behavior: Hybrid protein nanofibers and POxylation on polymeric nanoparticles with structurally tailored thermal properties

Subject area​ B: SHELL

Cell tissue on the monitor of a fluorescence microscope.
Targeted nanoparticle mediated delivery of nucleic acids into muscle stem cells for prevention of critical illness myopathy
A female and a male chemist working in the synthesis lab.
Macromolecular prodrug nanoparticles for antimicrobial therapy
Projekt B03
Bioinspired guanidinium-containing nanoparticles for gene delivery
A female chemist at work on a microscope.
Nanoscale monitoring of surface effects, structural changes, and encapsulation in block copolymer nanostructures using tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Subject area​ C: MEDIUM

 58/5000 A technician working on a centrifuge.
Biophotonic characterisation of the interaction of nanoparticles and drugs with hepatic stellate cells
test tubes containing pink fuid
Tailored delivery of anti-inflammatory natural drugs using polymer-based nanocarriers to prevent cytokine and eicosanoid storms in infectious inflammation
Two female chemists working on an electron microscope.
Investigation of cellular response to nanoparticle uptake by dual TEM and superresolution fluorescence imaging
Chemiker mit Reagenzglas im Labor
Prevention of late phase liver damage by targeted modulation of the liver’s immune response

Subject area​​ D: VIRAL

test tubes containing pink fuid
Mimicking viral entry mechanisms with polymeric nanoparticles
Chemikerin im Labor
Delivery platforms for antiviral and anti-inflammatory agents targeting infections of respiratory viruses with pandemic potential

Subject area​​ T: TRANSFER

Chemikerin im Labor
Targeting renal phosphoinositide 3-kinase γ (PI3Kγ) by dye-tagged nanoparticles

Subject area​ Ö:​ Educational institutions and the public​

Kinder mit buntem Schleim
Science education on target: Didactic reconstruction of current research at the interface between nanotechnology and medicine

Subject area​ Z: Central Research Platform and Supporting Projects​

Two chemists are working on a polyethylene oxide reactor
Research platform for the synthesis, formulation, and advanced physicochemical characterization of polymers and nanoparticles
Two female chemists working on an electron microscope.
Integrated Research Training Group
Assembly of a so-called synthesis and formulation robot
Central tasks of the Collaborative Research Center