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Translation is the mantra of today’s academic biomedicine. Over the past decades, a narrative has been popularized which places university medical centers in a unique and exclusive position on the trajectory of translating research results into novel and effective diagnostics and treatments. This narrative is founded on gaps in innovation and implementation which translational research must overcome. Biomedical research centers worldwide compete for funding with (often very similar) recipes on how to cross an imaginary ‘valley of death’ and to minimize translational attrition. That academic medicine is uniquely positioned in this quest is true but trivial: It is the only setting in which researchers and clinicians are directly exposed to the medical need of patients and can consequently test their hypotheses and treatments with and on those patients. Despite the merits and canonical status of such a generic translational framework, in my talk I will challenge some of its elements and discuss modifications to the framework. Specifically, I will argue that there is no valley of death, that translation must sometimes (or even often) fail to succeed, and that attempts to engineer translational breakthroughs must be of limited success "because it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future" (Niels Bohr).

The BIH lecture series takes place at regular intervals on Fridays at lunchtime and offers lectures with leading personalities on key translation issues followed by discussion and networking with the community. It is aimed at everyone interested in translation and the work of BIH.

Registration is kindly requested.


Freitag, 22. November 2019
12:00 – 13:00 Uhr


Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Hans Virchow Hörsaal (Anatomie)
Campus Mitte (CCM, Wilhelm Waldeyer Haus)
Philippstr. 11/12
10115 Berlin


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