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Press release


Victory in new round of the Excellence Initiative

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Two other clusters, and a graduate school are in the running

The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin remains on track in the Excellence Initiative.  The speakers for two clusters of excellence and a graduate school have been invited today by the Joint Commission of the German Research Association and the Science Council, to submit detailed proposals by September 1.  They thereby join the two already existing centers of excellence of the Charité, the cluster "NeuroCure" and the Graduate School Berlin Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (BSRT), which are also seeking renewal of their funding in September.  The Charité thus has the chance to develop, in the most favorable case by 2017, three excellency clusters and two postgraduate schools into major pillars of the research priorities of the Charité.  The final funding decision on this will be made in summer of 2012.

This success is based quite significantly on the excellence of our researchers and scientists, but also on flexible research funding, which has been established in recent years at the Charité, said Prof. Annette Grüters Kieslich, the Dean of the Charité.   "The Commission has acknowledged the fact that we were able to combine effectively with the Free University, Humboldt-University and other research institutions, to realize the enormous potential of excellent researchers in biomedicine in Berlin."

The title of the first cluster application "ImmunoReset - from the Suppression to the healing of immune- mediated  illnesses“ describes the aim of the research network to repair a misdirected immune system and to thus cure diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes.  “Treatments available today can only alleviate the symptoms of these chronic illnesses which have a lifelong affect on the patients.", said Prof. Alf Hamann of the Medical Department, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, who conceived the application together with Prof. Andreas Radbruch of the German rheumatism-research centre.

In the proposed research cluster, clinical and research experts work together on new ideas for therapies to fix the cause of chronic immune diseases - the disturbed immune regulation system - and quickly and safely to transfer these ideas into practice.

The focus of the second cluster application "GenoRare" are the orphans of medicine - the patients with rare diseases.  These patients are cared for in the Charité’s newly founded Berlin Centre for Rare Diseases.   In the new research cluster, Prof. Stefan Mundlos of the Institute of Medical Genetics and Human Genetics, in collaboration with research groups at the Max Delbrück Center, the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and researchers of the FU and HU, will investigate the exact development mechanisms of rare illnesses.  The clarification of the cause is the first and most important step in the development of therapies.  "Today's request to develop a full application, for the systematic analysis and functional analysis of genes for rare diseases, is an important opportunity to lay the foundation for a new era of personalized medicine," he explained.  These system-biological research activities are closely integrated with the research at the MDC, with the discussion of ethical aspects of genome analysis at the philosophical faculty of the HU as well as in a specially structured doctoral program, which takes the special needs of medical molecular genetics into account and is coordinated by the Dahlem Research School of the Free University.

With the planned "Berlin Graduate School for Integrative Oncology", the Free University and Humboldt remain important university partners.  „We want to train in an especially closely knit manner, including basic scientists together with young doctors having an interest in cancer research so that they can develop future therapeutic strategies against the medical and social challenge` cancer ',, explained the initiator of the application, Prof. Clemens Schmitt of the molecular cancer research centre of the Charité.  He hopes to receive full funding from the Excellence Initiative of between one and 2.5 million Euros per year with approval of the full application for the project.

Excellence clusters can expect an annual financial support of from 3 to 8 million Euros. "This is a very powerful impulse for science, but also for the regional economy in Berlin and Brandenburg,“ said Prof. Karl Max Einhäupl, the chairman of the board of the Charité.   In the past four years alone, in the two responsible institutions in the Charité, NeuroCure and BSRT, in addition to publication of numerous high-profile scientific papers and development of innovative approaches for scientists, 149 new jobs for scientist have been created.  In addition there are the clusters of excellence "Languages of emotion" of the free University and the "Berlin School of Mind and Brain" of the Humboldt University.  The Charité is also responsible for aiding important elements with a total of three newly recruited researchers  "We were able to entice many of the outstanding scientists because of the attractive research conditions, we can offer through the Excellence Initiative - but also because of the dynamic atmosphere in our city - attract from abroad, " said the Dean.   On this basis hopefully starting in 2012, the Charité will do everything possible to expand the research location Berlin-Brandenburg with further Excellence Initiative projects.


Claudia Peter
GB Unternehmenskommunikation
t.:+ 49 30 450 570 503

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