Three new guest scientists foster research at BIH

Excellent new people at BIH: The Charité Foundation and the Einstein Foundation of Berlin are supporting three professors who will come to Berlin to collaborate with Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) groups under the framework of BIH. The support is part of the BIH strategy to bring findings from basic research more quickly into clinical practice.

Two of the visitors have received grants under the Einstein BIH Visiting Fellows program to develop research laboratories in Berlin for a period of at least three years.

Prof. David H. Gutmann, a neurologist at the Washington University School of Medicine, will study the development of ocular gliomas in collaboration with Helmut Kettenmann’s lab at the MDC, aiming to develop new types of therapies. These gliomas are the most common form of cancer among children and adolescents; current treatments are generally too aggressive for use in individuals whose brains are still developing.

Prof. Mario Nicodemi, Professor for Theoretical Physics at the University of Naples, Italy, has developed methods to analyze highly complex data sets in the field of polymer physics. The methods can also be applied to other types of data, such as information from patient samples. In Berlin he will collaborate with the MDC group of Ana Pombo, whose lab is collecting vast amounts of sequence data to be assembled into maps of the structure of genomes. The work aims to provide insights into the way hereditary diseases of the nervous and skeletal systems introduce genomic rearrangements that affect chromatin folding and gene regulation.

Gutmann and Nicodemi will each receive 450,000 Euros to support personnel, equipment, and material as they establish new labs in Berlin. They will continue to operate groups at their home institutes while spending part of their time here.

Dr. Michael Potente comes from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim. Potente’s area of expertise is the development of blood vessels and the factors that regulate vessel size. He will join Holger Gerhardt’s lab at the MDC, whose theme is “Integrative Vascular Biology,” with the aim of launching a joint research program in the near future. He is being sponsored under the new BIH Visiting Professors program. The project provides travel expenses and salary over a three- to nine-month period for scientists working on collaborative projects with BIH groups.

In October 2016, the Charité Foundation appointed three Einstein BIH Visiting Fellows and three BIH Visiting Professors. The Einstein Visiting Fellows Program has existed since 2014 and is supported through the Private Excellence Initiative devoted to BIH, funded by Johanna Quandt. It provides the financial support for the funding. The Charité Foundation awards the Einstein BIH Visiting Fellowships in collaboration with the Einstein Foundation Berlin.

Source: MDC