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Understanding and using the “language of life”

In the podcast “Exzellent erklärt” (excellent explanation), scientists from the Freiburg Cluster of Excellence CIBSS talk about their research on biological signals (in German language)

Freiburg, Jul 05, 2023

How do the cells of a living organism communicate with one another? How can we use this “language of life” to improve cancer therapies? Prof. Dr. Barbara Di Ventura and junior professor Dr. Natalie Köhler from the Cluster of Excellence CIBSS - Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies at the University of Freiburg answer these and other questions in the science podcast "Exzellent Erklärt - Spitzenforschung für alle" (excellent explanation – research for all). In episode #31 „The Language of Life: Understanding and Using Biological Signals,“ the scientists present their current projects. The conversation with journalist and podcaster Larissa Vassilian also shows how close basic research and the development of innovations can be. The episode is available now at

New methods for research on signals

Among other things, engineer and biologist Di Ventura explains how she uses light to explore how the dynamics of signalling molecules influence the signalling pathways they regulate. To do this, the synthetic biology expert is developing new optogenetic methods that allow her to precisely control the location and activity of molecules using light signals.

A signalling molecule for better immunotherapies against cancer?

Köhler is a CIBSS tenure-track professor for “Precision Targeting of Signalling Pathways” at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Freiburg. At the Medical Center - University of Freiburg, she is investigating how a precise understanding of the signalling processes in cancer cells and immune cells can contribute to the development of better therapies for leukaemia patients.

About the podcast „Exzellent erklärt – Spitzenforschung für Alle“ (excellent explanation – research for all)

57 Clusters of Excellence - one podcast. “Exzellent erklärt” reports regularly from one of the research networks that are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments. The journey goes all around the country, and the topics are just as diverse as the locations: From African studies to the future of medicine.

About the Cluster of Excellence CIBSS

The Cluster of Excellence CIBSS - Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies aims to gain a comprehensive understanding of biological signalling processes across scales - from the interactions of single molecules and cells to the processes in organs and whole organisms. The researchers are using the knowledge they have gained to develop strategies that can be used to control signals in a targeted manner. Thanks to these technologies, they not only gain new insights in research, but also enable innovations in medicine and plant sciences.

Link to the podcast series:  


Michal Rössler
CIBSS – Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies
Cluster of Excellence
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203 97120

Office of University and Science Communications
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-4302