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Two professors at MedUni Vienna newly appointed

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Karl Rössler (at the left) and Daniel Aletaha

(Vienna, 03 July 2019) On July 1, 2019, two professorships were appointed at MedUni Vienna. Karl Rössler is taking over the Chair of Neurosurgery and Head of the Department of Neurosurgery at MedUni Vienna. Daniel Aletaha takes over the Chair of Rheumatology and Head of the Division of Rheumatology of the Department of Internal Medicine III. He led the division last interim.

Karl Rössler takes over Chair of Neurosurgery
Karl Rössler's main research interests over the last few years have been in neuronavigation and intraoperative imaging in epilepsy surgery, brain tumour surgery and vascular neurosurgery at Erlangen University Hospital, one of the world's outstanding centres of excellence in intraoperative imaging. This enabled him to obtain ground-breaking findings in the area of epilepsy surgery, in particular, and to develop them within the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) as a board member of the Surgical Therapies Commission. Rössler intends to continue these research projects at the new intraoperative MRI centre at the Department of Neurosurgery of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital, with the aim of establishing a cutting-edge, international centre for intraoperative imaging in neurosurgery, together with the Department of Radiology, Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy.

In addition to this, Karl Rössler wants to expand and intensify interdisciplinary collaboration with the neurological specialities at MedUni Vienna and establish the Comprehensive Center for Clinical Neurosciences. Intensified collaboration with the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, the Institute of Neurology (Obersteiner Institute) and the Center for Brain Research should help to ensure that basic research findings increasingly feed into neurosurgical treatments for national diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease or depression and are used for new treatments. Synergies with the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna (CCC-CNS Unit) at MedUni Vienna should also be intensively utilised for the precision medicine in oncology. Neurological spinal surgery is to be more closely linked with trauma surgery and orthopaedics on an interdisciplinary level. Paediatric neurosurgery and skull-base surgery (meningioma, acoustic neuroma) are likewise to be developed by closer interdisciplinary collaboration with the associated disciplines. The Department should also play a pioneering role in open questions in gender medicine within the field of neurosurgery.

Other focuses are also to be international networking of clinical practice, research and advanced training of young specialist colleagues and also the treatment of patients with rare neurosurgical diseases, which will play an increasing role in future, especially in oncologic and vascular neurosurgery (in the subfields of endovascular neurosurgery and gamma knife surgery) and will increasingly be reflected in greater participation in international multi-centre studies.

Karl Rössler believes that "Neurosurgery should also be more available on undergraduate and postgraduate courses,” and he plans to establish a major lecture in neurosurgery and an internship in neurosurgery as part of the medical curriculum at MedUni Vienna and to provide more patient-based learning at the bedside and in the operating theatre.

About Karl Rössler
Karl Rössler studied medicine in Vienna and completed a postgraduate course in clinical and experimental neuropathology under Herbert Budka and Hans Lassmann at the Neurology Institute of the University of Vienna (now the Institute of Neurology and Center for Brain Research of MedUni Vienna). He completed his specialist training under Wolfgang Koos at the Department of Neurosurgery Vienna, where he was also awarded the Venia Docendi for neurosurgery and the professional title of University Professor by the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research. He went on to become Senior Doctor in charge of the Division of Neurosurgery at Feldkirch Main Hospital in Vorarlberg, before moving to Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) Erlangen-Nuremberg as Deputy Director of the Department of Neurosurgery.

Daniel Aletaha takes over Chair of Rheumatology
Daniel Aletaha studied medicine at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna (now Medical University of Vienna), where he completed his training in the area of rheumatology. He also completed research assignments at the National Institute of Health in the USA. He holds a Master of Clinical Health Science from Duke University and an MBA from Danube University Krems.

Aletaha is committed to international networking: "The internationality of the Division is very important to me, as is the corresponding development of its staff. Internationality is key to ensuring that our research keeps pace with the times and it also increases the visibility of our university abroad."

His research goal is to ensure optimum use and intensive integration of basic, translational and clinical research to answer pathogenic, clinical and prognostic questions: "That must be our core aim, so that we can develop better treatments for the benefit of our patients."

With this in mind, his aim is to pursue future-oriented fields of research, such as Deep Learning, Big Data (epidemiological, clinical but also "omics" data), single-cell sequencing and developments of the same … plus much more besides.

"A specific goal is the early detection and/or prevention of inflammatory rheumatic diseases," explains Aletaha. The patient must always be at the centre of any endeavour, "so that we can maximise the quality-of-life of all those affected."

Research-related and practice-related teaching
A major focus for Aletaha is the modernisation of teaching. "We want to create classes within the existing curriculum to inspire students and impart both tried and tested and new knowledge from the field in a way that is relevant to both clinical practice and research. Engaging students is one of the keys to this. Clinical rheumatology is concerned with many rare diseases which are, nonetheless, highly relevant to those suffering from them – and here it is important to learn from the complexity of the diseases. Besides, successful teaching is one of the most rewarding aspects of our academic work."


Date: Inaugural lecture Karl Rössler on September 20, 2019 (11:00 am) in the lecture hall center (Hörsaalzentrum) of the MedUni Vienna in the AKH Vienna (level 7). Registration is requested.

Inaugural lecture Daniel Aletaha: tba.