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The BIH research group “Translational Immunology” headed by Professor Birgit Sawitzki is part a European MSCA (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action) doctoral network on the topic of "Organoids modelling Physiology and Pathology in the human gastrointestinal tract ", which was selected for funding in mid-March.

The development of therapies and drugs requires reliable models to test their efficacy and safety. Current models, mostly based on cancer cell lines or animal models, are only of limited value. Advances in stem cell biology and microfluidics are now enabling the development of better models. Developments are heading towards providing "patient avatars" that represent the next generation of precision medicine.

The interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral European doctoral network "TOP-Gut" has now set itself the goal of training doctoral students in the field of innovative preclinical models with a focus on complex gastrointestinal models. With its scientific quality and visionary interdisciplinary training programme, the European consortium of academic and non-academic partners was able to fully convince the EU reviewers.

The TOP-Gut project will be implemented by an international network of 21 partners from 7 countries, uniting biologists, engineers, pharmacologists, ethicists and lawyers. Academic partners from Berlin are the TU-Berlin (Medical Biotechnology, coordination) and the BIH (PI: Birgit Sawitzki, AG Translational Immunology, BIH@Charité). The BIH-Unit “Translational Immunology” coordinates the innovative training programme. Scientifically, the working group will contribute its expertise on the analysis of immune cells in tissues in the TOP-Gut project and test cross-tissue immune cell integration in organoids of the gastrointestinal tract in cooperation with university and industrial partners.

The collaboration of the partners from TU-Berlin and BIH emerges from and further expands the joint work on/in the Si-M (The Simulated Human, joint §91b research building of TU-Berlin and Charité in completion).