Diabetes, Cancer & Neurodegenerative Diseases - 5th Joint Dresden DZG Symposium unites Dresden researchers

A total of more than 80 institutions with numerous participating universities, university hospitals and non-university research facilities make up the German Centers for Health Research (DZG). Three of them have partner sites in Dresden. These include the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden (PLID) of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD). In the individual centers, the best scientists from university and non-university research institutions join forces in an interdisciplinary way to bring new medical research results faster into clinical application. This is urgently needed, as the number of people suffering from or newly diagnosed with widespread diseases such as cancer, metabolic or neurodegenerative diseases is still alarming.

Poster presentation. © Frank Möller | PLID

Despite the different thematic priorities of the three centers, there are many commonalities with regard to the development of new therapeutic approaches or examination methods. Regular intensive and, above all, long-term interconnection at the Dresden site therefore offers excellent opportunities to jointly develop new innovative research strategies.

Once a year, the three centers organize the "Joint DZG Symposium Dresden", which celebrated its fifth anniversary on April 27 and this time was primarily hosted by PLID. The symposium, which was conceived as an exchange platform for scientists and physicians from Dresden, was able to take place again this year as a presence meeting with over 100 participants after several years of online events due to the Corona pandemic.

From left to right: the professors: Michele Solimena (Speaker DZD/PLID), Esther Troost (Dean of the Medical Faculty of the TUD), Gerd Kempermann (Speaker DZNE Dresden site), Angela Rösen-Wolff - Prorector Research of the TUD) , Mechthild Krause, (Speaker DKTK Dresden site). © Klaus Fabel | DZNE

The welcome was given by Prof. Michele Solimena, site speaker of the PLID/DZD and Prof. Esther Troost, Dean of the Medical Faculty of TU Dresden, who unanimously underlined the importance of the DZG for the Johannstadt Life Sciences Campus of the Dresden University Medical School.

In his presentation on the national activities of the German Centers for Health Research, Martin Hrabé de Angelis, board member of the DZD and this year's chairman of the steering committee of the national DZG activities, spoke about the importance of a common research IT, the promotion of young researchers and patient: involvement for cooperation and the success of the DZG.

Since 2020, there have been popular and successful grants for the seed funding of DZG-overarching projects, which are intended to promote new translational activities among the Dresden DZGs. The following 2022 awardees presented their projects:

1. Anja Feldmann (DKTK) on her project "CAR brakes - Equippin Treg cells with chimeric antigen receptors to halt aberrant immunity" with Anne Eugster (DZD/PLID) and Anke Fuchs (DKTK).

2. Joshua Thomas (DZNE) on his project "Interrogating aberrant SMA metabolic pathways for potential combinatorial treatment targets" with Tiago Alves (DZD/PLID).

3. Yanni Morgenroth (PLID) on his project "Abundance and Morphometry of Endocrine and Immune Cells in Islets of Langerhans derived from Living Donors in Health and Type-2 Diabetes" with Rebekka Wehner (DKTK).

The results achieved in the three projects are convincing and provide a basis for further joint research activities.

This year's keynote lecture was given by Prof. Anthony Hyman, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden. The lecture by this multiple award-winning scientist focused on the cell as a polyphasic system and how the formation of fluid phases in a fluid cytoplasm affects the formation of membrane-less compartments of macromolecules in living cells. Excitingly presented, it will be remembered by the audience at the end not only because of the vivid "oil and vinegar" comparison.

At the end of the 5th Joint DZG Symposium, Prof. Mechthild Krause announced the call for the next round of DZG-overarching seed funding, in which at least two scientists from different DZGs can jointly submit a project proposal, and invited the participants to the 6th Joint DZG Symposium, which will be hosted by the DKTK in Dresden in 2024.