Within the framework of the previous German Excellence Initiative, “Inflammation at Interfaces” was funded through two funding periods from 2007 to 2018. In the first funding period 2007-2012 (total budget: €34.2 million), the cluster took the linear approach “From gene to function”: a certain gene causes a certain disease and this can be treated with a certain medicine. In the second funding period 2012-2018 (total budget: €41.4 million), the research developed towards systems medicine in order to study complex diseases across organs in a more systemic manner.
An important achievement of the previous Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces” was a far-reaching transformation of the scientific culture and governance of all institutions involved in the cluster, which has contributed to a significant rise in scientific productivity and visibility. Among the structures established at this time were the Comprehensive Centers for Inflammation Medicine, the Schleswig-Holstein Excellence-Chairs and the governance structure PHSH (Precision Health in Schleswig-Holstein), which was set up in 2018. These local developments are unique in their interdisciplinary nature and their strong focus on clinical translation.
The research done by the cluster has produced a series of outstanding and influential results. For instance, the cluster’s scientists have led several international genetic meta-analyses and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for CIBD and were involved in the projects at a high level. A further scientific highlight was the development of an IL-6 trans-signaling inhibitor, which is currently being tested in a phase 2 study for CIBD.
Through a partnership with the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel, the Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces” found new ways of making science understandable on a non-verbal level. Artists from the Muthesius University translated the cluster's work into the visual language of art in two exhibitions and, in doing so, provided tangible access to the complex research results.
- The exhibition “Entzündet” (inflamed) 2010 – 2012, Berlin and Kiel
- The exhibition “Mikrobiom – der Mensch ist nicht allein” (the microbiome – mankind is not alone) 2017 – 2019, Kiel