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TIGER |  Trinationale Initiative Gehirnerkrankungen


TIGER:  Trinationale Initiative Gehirnerkrankungen 

(Trinational initiative on brain diseases)


Ulrich EgertI,B (coordinator), Ad AertsenNB,B, Arvind KumarNB,B, Philippe IsopeC, Josef BischofbergerUB, Andreas LüthiF

= Biomicrotechnology, IMTEK - Dept. Microsystems Eng., Fac. Engineering, Univ. Freiburg, D

NB= Neurobio. & Biophysics, Inst. Bio. 3, Fac. Biology, Univ. Freiburg, D
B = Bernstein Center Freiburg, Univ. Freiburg, D
C = CNRS, INCI, Univ. Strasbourg, F
UB= Dept. Biomedicine, Inst. Physiology, Univ. Basel, CH
F = Friedrich-Miescher-Institute, Basel, CH


About the project

TIGER - the “Trinationale Initiative Gehirnerkrankungen” (TIGER – Trinational Initiative on Brain Diseases) joins scientists from Freiburg, Strasbourg/France and Basel/Switzerland to investigate the neuronal networks involved in several brain diseases. We place special emphasis on such conditions as movement disorders, epilepsy, and anxiety.

The clinical and some of the molecular and cellular aspects that are associated with these diseases have been described already. It is still unclear, however, how pathological changes of cellular properties affect the function of neuronal networks in a negative way, eventually leading to the observed clinical symptoms. TIGER addresses neurological dysfunctions from the perspective of their underlying neuronal networks and sets out to investigate how clinical treatments could possibly modulate the activity of these networks. Neurophysiological studies in specific animal models as well as computational modelling of neuronal networks form the basis of this research.

Besides its scientific goals, TIGER aims to facilitate and enhance the transnational interaction between the large regional research clusters within the life sciences and related fields of technology. Major examples of these research centres in the Upper Rhine Valley are the new Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools on neurotechnology, the research cluster microTEC Südwest on biomedical engineering, the initiatives Neurex and TriNeuron, and the CNRS institutes in France through the INCI - Institut des Neuroscience Cellulaires et Intégratives in Strasbourg.


local coordinator in Freiburg:
Prof. Ulrich Egert

local coordinator in Strasbourg
Dr. Philippe Isope


 The project is co-funded from 2012 until 2015 by the European Union within its INTERREG IV framework. 

 EU Development Fund EU Interreg
European Union/European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
  INTERREG IV Upper Rhine
  Transcending borders with every project




Motivation of the project

Neurological disorders are a major factor for society as well as economy with aspects such as the quality of life and integration into society for the patient and costs for treatment, care, loss of work force, etc.. The increase of average life time in the population aggravates this situation since some disorders relate aging, i.e. their incidence increases with age, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease.

At the same time, recent enormous advances in neuroscience and microsystems engineering open exciting opportunities for the treatment of these conditions. The very high level of research, technology and education as well as the excellent clinical centers in the Upper Rhine Valley provide great opportunities for synergies through cooperations in medical, neuroscientific and engineering research to find solutions for the problems associated with neurological disorders. TIGER for the first time connects French and Swiss scientists to the collaborative research initiatives in Germany and in particular in Baden-Württemberg.

The project merges several research approaches to investigate a set of disorders that represent specific classes:

Epilepsy – associated with pathological large-scale dynamics of neuronal networks

Dystonia – a motor disorder with pathological interaction between subnetworks

Anxiety – associated with a specific nucleus in the brain: the Amygdala

In our research, we use a variety of tools, ranging from single neuron recording, microelectrode array analyses of spike activity and local field potentials in vitro and in vivo, optogenetical manipulation of neuronal activity and computational modeling of neuronal networks.



TIGER is linked to training in the neurosciences through several routes, converging in the activities of the Bernstein Center Freiburg: local student training, such as the trinational Joint MSc in Neurosciences, PhD and PostDoc programs. We further offer workshops for continuing education, e.g. for high school teachers, external students and industrial scientists in collaboration with other local programs.

Neuroscientific training is complemented by various outreach events and materials to communicate the regional neuroscientific research to the general public.



To reach a large audience our activities, seminars, outreach events will be announced through the website of the Bernstein Center Freiburg. We further contribute to various other activities, such as those of the Neurex, to disseminate our research results.