Lung Development and Remodelling (Dept. IV)
Respiratory diseases rank second only to cardiovascular diseases in terms of mortality, incidence, prevalence, and socio-economic burden. The Department for Lung Development and Remodelling (IV) addresses diseases that affect the lung parenchyma, with a focus on the three functional compartments of the parenchyma, the vascular, interstitial, and alveolar compartments. Pathological remodelling events in these structures, which result in the loss of proper architecture and severe impairment of lung function, are central to the research conducted in this department. Moreover, particular attention is paid to the development of new treatment concepts, thus shaping the translational focus of this Department. Topics predominantly addressed are:
- Molecular mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension (PH), a disease secondary to pathological inward vascular remodelling with severe loss of luminal cross-sectional area of the precapillary lung resistance vessels, causing right heart failure (Principle Investigator: Soni Savai Pullamsetti)
- Perturbations in alveolar development and maintenance, underlying newborn diseases such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and acute (acute lung injury [ALI]) and chronic (emphysema) diseases of the adult lung (Research Group Leader: Rory Morty)
- Molecular mechanisms of lung cancer growth and metastasis with focus on the specific features of the lung microenvironment as tumor niche (Principle Investigator: Rajkumar Savai)
The Department IV/UGLC holds a central position in the Excellence Cluster Cardiopulmonary System (ECCPS), the Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), the German Center for Lung Research as well as several Collaborative Research Centers and Clinical Research Groups. Moreover, the Department for Lung Development and Remodelling is closely interlinked with the University of Giessen Lung Center. All topics addressed by the three research groups represent research fields jointly pursued by the UGLC and the Department IV. The UGLC is co-chaired by Friedrich Grimminger and Werner Seeger, with Saverio Bellusci, Tobias Gessler, Ardeschir Ghofrani, Andreas Günther, Susanne Herold, Jürgen Lohmeyer, Konstantin Mayer, Christos Samakovlis, Ralph Schermuly and Norbert Weissmann representing leading scientists of the UGLC in these fields of research. Furthermore, external laboratories established in the framework of international cooperations include the “High Altitude Research Guest Laboratory” at the University of Lhasa, Tibet, and the “Max Planck Heart and Lung Guest Laboratory” at the Instituto de Investigación en Biomedicina de Buenos Aires (IBIOBA), Argentina.
All PhD and MD-PhD students undertaking their doctoral thesis work in Department IV/UGLC receive extensive training in biomedical research beyond the scope of his/her specific research topic by being enrolled in one of two international graduate programs, the Molecular Biology and Medicine of the Lung (MBML)/International Graduate College “Signaling Mechanisms in Lung Physiology and Disease” (SMLPD) and the International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research (IMPRS-HLR). Moreover, a “UGMLC/ECCPS/DZL School” has been installed, further promoting all aspects of graduate student education and the advancement of junior scientists in the field of lung research. These activities are currently extended by the foundation of a German-French Lung School.