To offer state-of-the-art patient treatment, health-care providers need to act not only within the wards, but also in laboratories.
Sickness arises when the coordinated communication within and between cells in multicellular organisms falls into disarray. This faulty communication applies to widespread pathologies, including neurodegeneration, atherosclerosis, and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Hence, understanding cellular communication is essential for defining pathological alterations and for developing appropriate therapeutic agents. Our doctoral training program “Cell Communication in Health and Disease” (CCHD) provides students with challenging research projects ranging from basic biomedical sciences to translation into clinical application. CCHD students acquire intellectual and technical skills employable in highly divergent areas, as they are exposed to four research themes dealing with organ-independent ubiquitous regulatory systems (neurobiology, vascular biology, immunology, and inflammation research).
Current research projects provided by the CCHD supervisors focus on
- folding of neurotransmitter transporters, interactions of G protein-coupled receptors and ion channels, dynamics of transmitter release at hippocampal synapses, circuits of the medial prefrontal cortex, novel pathogenic and therapeutic aspects of mood disorders, cell type-specific signaling in pain-related behavior (neurobiology)
- immune mechanisms in atherosclerosis and molecular mechanisms of thrombus resolution (vascular biology)
- high-resolution imaging of molecular T-cell antigen recognition dynamics and T-cell signaling and cellular defense components in bacterial lung infections (immunology)
- proteomics of inflammatory responses, monocytes and macrophages in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, genetic and molecular basis of autoinflammation and autoimmunity, and impact of adipose tissue inflammation on liver and vascular pathologies (inflammation)
By gathering students working in such complementary fields, they not only acquire the scientific knowledge of their own projects, but also that of their program peers. Students obtain hands-on experience in a broad spectrum of techniques employed in the participating laboratories. CCHD students become familiar with international research collaborations by being exposed to external co-supervisors and international speakers in workshops, by participating in international courses and scientific meetings, and by working for one semester abroad. Additional training in other skills by representatives of the pharmaceutical industry provides insights into non-academic research. Thus, graduates of CCHD gain all the necessary qualifications for international careers in the biomedical sciences.