Foto: Rolf K. Wegst

New Institute Strengthens Giessen Lung Research

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The federal government and state of Hesse establish another research facility in Giessen: the Institute for Lung Health.

Following its latest success in excellence strategy with the excellence cluster Cardio-Pulmonary Institute (CPI), the renowned Giessen lung research will be further expanded by a new Institute for lung health. The founding of the institute was sealed today in the presence of Boris Rhein, Minister of Science, and JLU president Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee when Volker Bouffier, Hesse’s Minister President, together with Dr. Michael Meister, Parlia-mentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), signed a letter of intent at the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU).

Costs in the amount of 14 million euros for the three-year start-up phase of the institute from 2019 until 2021 will be divided equally (50-50) between the federal government and the State of Hesse. The founding of the Institute is connected to another new development for Giessen lung research, which is supposed to be built in close vicinity to the Biomedical Research Center Seltersberg (BFS). Following the start-up phase, 90 percent of permanent funding is planned to be provided by the federal government and 10 percent by the State of Hesse.

“I am truly delighted that the Institute for Lung Health is another research facility establishing its base in Giessen and thus further strengthening central Hesse’s posi-tion as a location for science,” JLU President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee suggests. “I very much appreciate the extraordinary commitment from the federal government and the State of Hesse. I would particularly like to thank the JLU lung researchers, who have substantially enhanced national and international visibility of the JLU thanks to their outstanding research performance.”

Lung diseases are among the most frequent causes of death worldwide – every fifth death is caused by lung disease or its consequences. “In order to not only fight the symptoms of lung disease, but ideally find a cure, scientists at the Institute for Lung Health will investigate what makes a healthy lung resilient, which processes there are in the lungs in case of illness, and how healthy lung tissue can be restored,“ explains Giessen-based lung researcher Prof. Dr. Werner Seeger, Speaker of the Excellence Cluster CPI at the JLU as well as chairman of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), who will be in charge of the scientific coordination of the Institute for Lung Health. Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedrich Grimminger, co-founder of the Division for Pulmonary Diseases and speaker of the LOEWE center University of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), considers this a successful completion with regard to unique research architecture by the university and science policy in Hesse. “Only if we manage to bundle all interdisciplinary competence in a regional science and healthcare cluster, as is the case in Giessen, can the innovation leadership in modern pulmonary medicine be strengthened and the development of urgently required therapies be accelerated,” Grimminger suggests.

The Giessen-based physicians have been national and international leaders in the field of lung research for years. Already since the first program phase of the excellence initiative of the federal government and the States in 2006, an excellence cluster in the area of cardio-pulmonary research (Excellence Cluster Cardio-Pulmonary System, ECCPS) has been funded at the JLU in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Cardiopulmonary Research in Bad Nauheim and the Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main. The ECCPS is the predecessor of the CPI that has now been approved in the excellence strategy.

Further facilities have strengthened lung research in Giessen since the success in the excellence initiative: In addition to the LOEWE Center UGMLC , the JLU is headquarters to the German Center for Lung Research (DZL). The power of lung research in Giessen is also reflected in constructional development. The ECCPS received a new building; in the beginning of July, the topping out ceremony was celebrated for the Center for Infection and Ge-nomics of the Lung (CIGL), which was built in the Campus area of Seltersberg / Medicine and is funded equally by the federal government and the State of Hesse.

The Giessen lung researchers are connected not only in the region of central Hesse and Rhein-Main, but also internationally. They also cooperate, for instance, in altitude research with research teams in the Autonomous Region of Tibet (PR of China), China, Kyrgyz-stan, Chile, Peru, and the U.S.

The Future Award , which has recently been presented to the Giessen lung researcher Prof. Dr. Ardeschir Ghofrani by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, is just another indication of what they are capable of achieving.

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