Another milestone of the Giessen lung research will soon take visible shape: preparation of the construction site for the building of the new non-university Institute for Lung Health (ILH) is beginning in February. Further preparatory infrastructure measures will follow as of the middle of this year. The new building is being constructed in Schubertstrasse, just up the street from the Biomedical Research Center (BFS) of Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU). The recently opened Center for Infection and Genomics of the Lung (CIGL) of the JLU is located on the other side of the BFS on Aulweg.
Preparatory construction work is to be completed around mid-2023. Construction of the building is to follow with a projected construction time of about two and a half years. The design by the Aachen-based architecture firm Carpus + Partner AG is the one that has eventually been chosen in the course of a selection process for an object planner. The research building has a main floor space of 2,200 square meters and its costs including scientific equipment will amount to approximately 36 million euros according to current estimates. The State Construction and Real Estate Agency of Hesse (Landesbetrieb Bau und Immobilien Hessen, LBIH) is the developer.
Even though the building has not yet been completed, research at the non-university Institute for Lung Health (ILH) is already in progress. The relevant research teams, which are jointly funded by the federal government and the State of Hesse, will gradually be established. At ILH, there are currently as many as three professorships and two junior research groups which, with the help of four specifically implemented platforms for innovative technologies, are focusing on the research and development of new therapeutic approaches for lung tissue diseases. The scientists investigate resistance mechanisms of the lung with regard to exogenous and endogenous stresses, restructuring processes caused by disease that restrict lung function, as well as new preventive and therapeutic approaches aiming at maintaining or restoring lung health.
“Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, research on the causes and therapies of lung diseases was a significant focus of the Justus Liebig University Giessen. Thanks to the outstanding com-mitment of the scientists, we have tremendous expertise in this area – in times of the current pandemic, this is more important than ever and will continue to be so in the future. Viruses attacking the respiratory system will continue to pose a threat, and further lessons need to be learned from the findings from the coronavirus pandemic. “That’s why these concerted efforts to build the Institute for Lung Health will pay off,” suggests Angela Dorn, Minister of Science.
“The lung researchers from Giessen have been world leaders for years – how crucial their work is can once again be seen very clearly in the face of the coronavirus pandemic,” JLU President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee points out. “I very much appreciate the generous funding of the ILH by the State of Hesse.”
Lung diseases are among the most frequent causes of death worldwide – not just since the out-break of COVID-19. “The fact that the incidence of many respiratory illnesses continues to rise regardless of the current dramatic COVID-19 pandemic is very alarming. Especially our lung center in Giessen needs to address this challenge,” suggests Giessen-based lung researcher Prof. Dr. Werner Seeger, chairman of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL). Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedrich Grimminger, chairman of the Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), emphasizes: “The novel approach is to not only symptomatically improve the im-paired function of sick lungs, but – by learning from biology – to therapeutically use mechanisms of lung tissue formation in order to improve resistance and recovery of lung structure. Put in simple terms, this means helping a sick lung to help itself.”
Together with the Giessen-based DZL, the UGMLC, the Excellence Cluster Cardio-Pulmonary Institute (CPI) as well as several other research consortia such as collaborative research centers and clinical research teams, the JLU gathers together basic scientific research, technological-methodological, translational, and clinical competences in lung research; in such density, they are unique in Germany and, according to various assessments conducted by international experts, also in Europe. The goal is to transfer the preservation of healthy lung structure and the treatment of lung diseases to a new dimension of causal and personalized approaches and to set new clinical standards.
Visualization of the design for the new building of the non-university Institute for Lung Health (ILH). Illustration: Carpus + Partner AG