Photo: JLU / Katrina Friese

Institute for Lung Health gets a home

News 2023-394 EN

Excellent lung research in Giessen continues to grow: the state of Hesse and Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for the Institute for Lung Health (ILH) on Tuesday. The new building, which is scheduled for completion by 2026, will be home to international scientists from the field of lung research in the direct vicinity of other research institutions in this field.

"Today's ground-breaking ceremony is another important step on the way to establishing the Institute for Lung Health and thus to making progress in the research and treatment of lung diseases from which we can all benefit - how important this is was shown not least by the Corona pandemic," explains Science Minister Angela Dorn. "Justus Liebig University and Giessen, as the location of the German Centre for Lung Research, have been a center of lung and infection research for years. Against this expertise, the federal government and the state of Hesse support the establishment of the Institute for Lung Health, which is to be kept in perspective as a non-university research institution by the state and federal government. Initially, the ILH will be established under the umbrella of the German Centre for Lung Research (DZL) from 2024.”

Leading location for lung research

"With the new Institute for Lung Health, Giessen is establishing itself as a leading location for lung research. This is the headquarters of the German Centre for Lung Research. With the Centre for Infection and Genomics of the Lung and the Excellence Cluster Cardiopulmonary System, two further research buildings focusing on the lung are located in the immediate vicinity. Construction costs of around 35 million euros from the state budget and 2,600 m2 of usable space will be used for the institute. The state of Hesse is investing more than one billion euros at JLU Giessen - investments that will sustainably strengthen the Central Hessian science landscape for many years," said Finance Minister Michael Boddenberg.

"I am very proud of the development of lung research in Giessen," emphasized JLU President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee. "What has been created here over the past two decades is unique. The fact that we have long been a permanent fixture on the German map of excellence and - as of now - are the only Hessian university with two existing clusters to be able to enter the next round of the Excellence Strategy competition is primarily due to our achievements in lung research. The logical next step is the fact that the ILH will also strengthen the research area outside the university in the future."

"Today's ground-breaking ceremony is a success for the research location of Giessen as a whole, indeed for our entire urban development. As it were, the building will be embedded in its own Giessen district on the Seltersberg for medical research, teaching, and patient care at the highest level," adds Mayor Alexander Wright. "As a city, we want to do our part to ensure that scientists at the Institute for Lung Health find optimal working and living conditions in our city."

Explore and use natural mechanisms of healthy lungs

"The cooperative structures between the new ILH groups and the existing research alliances are creating one of the world's largest lung research campuses," emphasised Prof. Dr. Werner Seeger, who heads the ILH together with Prof. Dr. Friedrich Grimminger. He said the recruitment of numerous international researchers has led to a significantly higher demand for space on the campus. "At the ILH, we increasingly focus on the natural mechanisms that maintain structure and function in healthy lungs. With this deepened knowledge, we aim to reverse disease-induced changes and - in the best case - restore the normal healthy state. We are trying to realise such a breakthrough, which would revolutionise previous therapies for lung diseases, by using the entire translational spectrum from basic research to first clinical application," said Prof. Dr. Dr. Grimminger.

Direct proximity to another particular building for lung research

"As the state's central construction and real estate service provider, the LBIH is faced for the second time within a short period with the task of structurally implementing a highly complex special building for lung research in Gießen. Following the new building for the Center for Infection and Genomics of the Lung (CIGL) in the immediate vicinity, the ILH research building is once again a special project. This project will be a matter of integrating the new building well into its surroundings on a sloping site on the Seltersberg. The design fits harmoniously into the development characterised by the cultural monument of the tax office and the modern Biomedical Research Centre Seltersberg (BFS)," said Raphael Kückmann, project manager at the LBIH Mitte branch.

The state is financing the costs of the new building and the initial set-up of the ILH, which is planned to total around 43 million euros. The building, constructed on Schubertraße next to the Seltersberg Biomedical Research Centre (BFS), will have a total floor space of 2,591 square metres. Commissioning is planned for August 2026. The design is by the architectural firm Carpus + Partner AG from Aachen. The client is the Landesbetrieb Bau und Immobilien Hessen (LBIH).

At the ILH, five professorships, three junior research groups, and several technology platforms are currently focusing on researching and developing new treatment concepts for lung tissue diseases. Scientists are investigating the resistance mechanisms of the lungs to exogenous and endogenous stresses, the disease-related remodeling processes that limit lung function, and new preventive and therapeutic approaches to maintain or restore lung health.

Source: Justus Liebig University Giessen

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