Eighteen positions for young early career researchers have been funded at the medical faculty

Under the leadership of two members of the Health Campus Immunology, Infectiology and Inflammation, Prof. Dr. Berend Isermann and Prof. Dr. Michael Naumann, funding for the new RTG 2408 was successfully obtained from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

RTGs are used by the DFG to strengthen scientific development. This means that, starting in October 2018, 18 new positions will be open for young scientists, who will have the chance to complete a PhD in a structured research and qualification program at a high level. This will strengthen fundamental research as well as the development of Clinician Scientists.  Because ten of the new positions are for PhDs in natural sciences, six remain for students who wish to do their doctorate in human medicine and two for young doctors who want to devote 12 months to research instead of clinical tasks. Prof. Isermann explained: “Through this combination of doctoral students in natural sciences and medicine, we hope to create numerous translational approaches, allowing the application of fundamental research in therapeutic applications in the clinic – directly improving the treatment of patients.”

The newly approved RTG 2408 is titled  „Maladaptive processes across physiological barriers in chronic diseases“. Physiological barriers are boundaries such as skin, mucous membranes or blood vessel walls. These barriers consist of highly specialized cells, so called endothelial and epithelial cells. For many chronic diseases, for example atherosclerosis and chronic kidney disease, the regulation and function of these barriers is disturbed. One example is the release of messenger substances, which attract inflammatory cells. The molecular changes responsible for these incorrectly managed reactions in the cells are largely unknown. Through a better understanding of these processes, researchers hope to develop new therapies for chronic diseases in the long term. With the help of modern cellular biology methods and technologies, including mass spectrometry, organoid cultures, microfluidics and high resolution microscopy, the doctoral students in RTG 2408 will investigate these processes. Thus, the young scientists of the RTG will apply state of the art technology and techniques to a highly relevant topic while developing an excellent start to their scientific careers.

The RTG 2408 will be associated with the Health Campus Immunology, Infectiology and Inflammation at the Otto-von-Guericke University (OvGU), which offers superb conditions for this research and extremely relevant expertise in the topic of inflammatory diseases. “The “Center of Dynamic Systems: Systems Engineering” (CDS) of the OvGU offers expertise with measurement systems for micro resonant sensors and innovative microfluidics technology”, explained Prof. Naumann (representative of the CDS).  In addition, the RTG will work in close cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik (IWS) in Dresden, which supports the establishment of innovative microfluidics technology and organ-on-a-chip technologies.

In addition to the RTG 2408, the DFG also approved another Research Training Group for the medical faculty.  In the RTG 2413, neuroscientists will further research the processes connected with the aging of synapses.

Picture: Immunofluorescence staining of a human podocyte (Sanchita Ghosh)

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