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Three new professorships to enhance the profile

(Vienna, 25 Feb. 2010) With three newly-created professorships, the Medical University of Vienna is extending the research and teaching competence of its research clusters: Siegfried Trattnig is being given the new Professorship of Radiology specialising in high-field MR, Harald Sitte that of Psychopharmacology, and Berthold Streubel is the Professor of Cytogenetics. All three experts have already used their know-how and innovation so far for the benefit of MedUni Vienna.

Siegfried Trattnig, Professor of Radiology specialising in high-field MR
Univ. Prof. Dr. Trattnig is a pioneer in the field of multiparametric or biochemical imaging of the cartilage and spinal disc with MR sequence and method development on the basis of translational research, i.e. clinically oriented research. His global expertise is reflected in many functions in international societies and reviewer work for renowned scientific journals and research funds, including the National Institute of Health (NIH). Thanks to his research work, the centre of excellence for high-field MR at MedUni Vienna, which has also been equipped with one of the world's first 7 Tesla ultrahigh-field magnetic resonance tomographs since autumn 2008, is one of the leading international centres for advanced musculoskeletal MR with particular expertise in multiparametric or biochemical MR imaging. On his next targets Trattnig explains: "Together with my position as head of the centre of excellence for high-field MR, I want to establish this as a clinical imaging centre for 7 Tesla recognised throughout the world." Trattnig also wants to extend the international cooperation projects in the ultrahigh-field MR sector and further strengthen Vienna as a test site for companies which manufacture coils for 7 Tesla.

Harald Sitte, Professor of Psychopharmacology
Univ. Prof. Dr. Harald Sitte works at the Centre for Physiology and Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology at MedUni Vienna and deals with the effect of amphetamines, cocaine and other psychotomimetic substances at the molecular level. The focus of his work based on sophisticated biochemical, microscopic, electrophysiological and molecular biological technologies is the study of the molecular characteristics of neurotransmitter transporters. These are proteins which are concentrated in synaptic structures and here are responsible for rapid removal of neurotransmitters (neuronal messengers) that are released by nerve cells with every electrical stimulation on their endings (synapses). Amphetamines and cocaine also interact mainly with these carrier proteins. While amphetamines are recognised by these proteins as a substrate and are therefore transported, cocaine on the other hand blocks these carrier proteins. "We are interested in understanding how the process of transport and transport blockade functions in atomic detail in order to finally bring this knowledge to the clinical level via the cellular level, and to explain desirable and also undesirable substance effects," says Sitte. As head of the special research area SFB35 »Transmembrane transporters in health and disease«, Sitte is looking for better integration and translation of basic research in structure/effect relationships and cell biology into clinical research.

Berthold Streubel, Professor of Cytogenetics
At the Clinical Institute of Pathology the human geneticist Univ. Prof. Dr. Berthold Streubel studies the connections between genetic and pathological data to discover new findings about the origin and classification of diseases. Areas he has concentrated on so far here are the characterisation of cytogenetic and molecular genetic changes in tumours and the molecular cytogenetic imaging of genetic changes in the tumour microenvironment. Since 2001 Streubel has headed the cytogenetic laboratory he set up at the Clinical Institute of Pathology, and in 2007 he also established a genetic laboratory at the Prince Court Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia. The combination of genetics and pathology under the same structure is seen only rarely internationally. Here Streubel sees extensive possibilities with a wide range of tasks: "Starting from hereditary genetic diseases in the prenatal and postnatal area on to acquired genetic disease in terms of tumours, we can obtain new findings with the correlation of genetic and pathological data and in close cooperation with the clinics." As a vision Streubel sees "genome-based individualised medicine where comprehensive genetic characterisation of the individual patients should be possible."

Rector Wolfgang Schütz says on the appointments: "With the recently created professorships, MedUni Vienna has made key contributions to help shape modern, patient-oriented and individualised medicine, and will once again fulfil its role as the biggest medical school in the world."