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Central Institutes and Interdisciplinary Centers

Central Institutes and Facilities of Faculty and Universitätsklinikum Erlangen

The Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF) is a central structure of research development at the Faculty of Medicine. Its mission is to improve the overall quality of clinical research at the Faculty of Medicine, to stimulate interdisciplinary research, to advance the careers of young scientists, and to foster the acquisition of extramural funds.

Research report IZKF

The Preclinical Experimental Animal Center (PETZ) belongs to the Faculty of Medicine and is a facility of the Franz-Penzoldt-Center (FPZ) that serves as a state-of-the-art experimental animal facility for basic and preclinical research. The facility resources are primarily meant for users belonging to the Faculty of Medicine, but also offer state-of-the-art and appropriate animal housing with directly associated experimental facilities for other research groups and associations.

The Center is a research-oriented animal facility that provides for customers a modern infrastructure and specific-pathogen-free conditions for preclinical animal experiments. The center offers various research related services, e.g. import of transgenic mouse strains via embryo transfer as well as veterinary advice and supervision for surgical or toxicological studies on large or small animals. Already as early as the time of project application, the team of the PETZ provides competent references in all areas of the application processes and related questions regarding experimental strategy.

With its infrastructure, the PETZ supports effective and optimized science and enables translational medical research in a controlled, standardized environment most appropriate for each of the species. Our center represents a professional and reliable partner on the way from the scientific idea and the consecutive ways ultimately resulting in benefits for the human patients.

Research report PETZ

In 2008, CCS Erlangen was founded as a service unit shared by the Faculty of Medicine of the FAU and the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. From an organizational point of view, it is affiliated with the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen as one of its central facilities. Its tasks comprise:
  1. provision of counseling and support to members of the Faculty of Medicine and staff of the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen for the conception, planning, conduct, and analysis of clinical studies, taking into account the relevant legal and regulatory requirements;
  2. support to the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen for fulfilling the rights and duties of the sponsor in clinical studies;
  3. administration of the insurance for participants in clinical studies;
  4. administration of the clinical studies database of the Faculty of Medicine;
  5. organization of educational events on all aspects of clinical

Since its inception, CCS Erlangen participated in about 350 clinical research projects of members of the Faculty of Medicine and staff of the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. These comprise several multinational clinical studies in Europe and the USA as well as three projects involving the first administration to humans of novel medicinal products (first-in-man trials).

CCS Erlangen divides into the areas of study management and clinical monitoring, quality management, and pharmacovigilance.

Research report CCS

The Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen – European Metropolitan Region Nürnberg (CCC ER-EMN) is an interdisciplinary center of excellence established to coordinate medical care, research, and teaching. For patients, physicians, and scientific researchers, the CCC ER-EMN is the central contact for all questions connected to cancer diseases.

The center organizes further education and training courses on topics in oncology and coordinates research projects. In addition, the CCC ER-EMN runs a free tumor consultancy service for patients and their relatives.

Nationwide, there are currently only 13 institutions as leading centers for cancer research and treatment, sponsored by German Cancer Aid.

The CCC ER-EMN was founded in December 2007 as the Erlangen University Cancer Center by members of staff at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and the Faculty of Medicine at the FAU. In January 2013, a cooperation agreement with Bamberg Hospital (Sozialstiftung Bamberg) and Bayreuth Hospital (Klinikum Bayreuth, Ltd.) was established. All three sites have oncological centers certified in accordance with the German Cancer Society (DKG) criteria.

Under the aegis of the CCC ER-EMN, there is a total of 13 certified organ cancer centers and 25 interdisciplinary tumor conferences in three oncological centers which are responsible for optimized patient care and multidisciplinary development of clinical pathways according to the most up-to-date standards.

Research report CCC

Interdisciplinary Centers

The interdisciplinary centers facilitate the initiation of research projects  beyond faculties and institutions.

The Emil Fischer Center (EFC) aims at promoting and implementing research and educational projects involving pharmaceutical sciences, food chemistry, and molecular medicine. This interdisciplinary center constitutes an association of eight chairs from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science. The EFC includes the full and associate professors of the Institute of Biochemistry and the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (Faculty of Medicine) and of the chairs of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Technology, Food Chemistry, and Bioinorganic Chemistry (Faculty of Science).

The EFC promotes collaborative research between its members and operates the core unit “Bioanalytics“ as well as several basic technical facilities. The EFC represents its members vis-à-vis third parties, coordinates interdisciplinary fund-raising activities and serves as a platform for cooperation with partners from the pharmaceutical and food industries. The interdisciplinary training of post-graduates is accomplished by the associated Emil-Fischer-Graduate School (EFS). At the end of 2014, the EFC was evaluated positively by the University and was granted increased support.

Research report Emil Fischer Center

The Erlangen Center for Infection Research (ECI) was founded as an interdisciplinary center of the FAU on July 28, 2010. The ECI is a consortium of more than 30 professors and lecturers and their research groups which belong to the Faculty of Medicine, the Department of Biology, the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, or the Department of Chemistry and Bioengineering. Infectious disease research is one of the key research areas at the FAU and the UK Erlangen.

The ECI focuses on the analysis of the pathogenesis of infections in order to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of infectious diseases in the long run. Accordingly, the ECI aims at providing a close scientific interaction between medical doctors in the clinics (e.g. specialists for infectious diseases, dermatology, hematology, and oncology) as well as micro- biologists, virologists, infectious disease immunologists, pathologists, clinical pharmacologists, pharmaceutical, organic and inorganic chemists, and bioengineers. The necessity for an interdisciplinary and interfaculty cooperation and for combining the diverse scientific strength and know-how in the area of infection research becomes particularly apparent whenever novel anti-infectives, vaccines, or therapeutics for the treatment of immunopathological processes during chronic infections are to be developed. The broad spectrum of expertise of the ECI members in medicine and science will serve to open up new fields of research, such as the design and analysis of redox-active metal compounds for the therapy of infections and chronic inflammatory processes.

Research report ECI

The Imaging Science Institute (ISI) was founded in 2005 as a cooperation project between Siemens Healthcare and the Institute of Radiology of the FAU. Its location within the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen allows optimizing modern imaging systems to improve quality and efficiency of diagnostic analysis as well as treatment methods. The ISI provides the prerequisites to transfer new developments regarding imaging methods and data-processing systems into the clinical setting. Aside from scientific activities, the ISI provides training courses for users and technicians to operate new hard- and software services in the field of biomedical imaging.

Moreover, the ISI is also a platform in which other medical centers and the public can get familiar with the latest developments regarding research and application of state-of-the-art medical imaging techniques. Aside from the acquisition of scientific findings, medical professionals and decision-makers working in public health all over the world will learn about quality improvement and opportunities to minimize costs by employing novel technologies. Within the eight years since its establishment, roughly 20,000 people from all over the world have visited the ISI Erlangen, among them numerous leaders of medical centers as well as representatives of public healthcare systems and politicians.

Research report ISI

Since its foundation in 2003, the Interdisciplinary Center for Aging Research (formerly known as Interdisciplinary Center of Gerontology – ICG) has been active in the fields of biological, medical, psychiatric, psychological, behavioral, humanistic, economic, and technological aging research. The ICA initiates and supports interdisciplinary collaboration on aging research at the FAU. The ICA is also actively collaborating with communal institutions of medical care and with nursing homes of the region. Currently the ICA has 29 members that come from four different faculties and five associated institutions.

Research report ICA

The “Interdisciplinary Center for Ophthalmic Preventive Medicine and Imaging” (IZPI) was founded to increase the intensity and the efficiency of cooperation projects between the Faculties of Medicine and Engineering of the FAU in the field of preventive medicine. The aim is to improve the conditions of research and the public communication of the arising results.

In the scientific areas medical imaging, pattern recognition, and preventive medicine, there was already scientific excellence in the Faculties of Medicine and Engineering. Embedded in the main research focus “Medical Technology” of the FAU, the IZPI should help to enforce and to improve the scientific excellence in these topics. The most important purpose of IZPI is the development of novel diagnostic methods in the area of preventive medicine. The goal is to develop new technologies for early detection of risk factors or symptoms of diseases.

Thus, the areas of interest of IZPI are

  • development of novel technologies and
  • improvement of well-established technologies by optimizing image acquisition, analysis, and medical

The analysis of medical images and data comprises all processes which lead to a medical interpretation or a transformation of the medical image in a symbolic description. To extract relevant risk factors from a given medical image, there is the necessity to develop an effective model of the disease. The model will allow elute relevant information from a given image.

Research report IZPI

“Networking across scientific borders” is the unique selling proposition of the Interdisciplinary Center for Public Health (IZPH). The IZPH is a multidisciplinary research center involving different faculties of the FAU: The primary objective of the Center is to merge medical, economical, and social sciences and management in order to advance research in public-health and resolve current health care challenges of the aging society.

Within the Nürnberg Metropolitan Region, the IZPH bundles all relevant stakeholders of the health care industry, i.e. medical professionals (doctors, hospitals trusts, outpatient sectors), the different statutory health and care insurance providers, health technology providers (global operating companies like Siemens Healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturers), as well as patients and their family members.

Research report IZPH

By now, neurosciences are one of the central disciplines of life sciences in basic and clinic research. Intensive research led to a huge increase of knowledge, thus essentially enlarging our knowledge of the nervous system. Interdisciplinarity was crucial for this success. Examples are molecular-biological and genetic methods that are now taken into account in neurosciences, the development of multiple transgenic animal models for diseases so far not understood or treatable as well as the use of new imaging methods which give undreamt-of insights into the brain.

Neuroscience at the Faculty comprises the molecular analysis of subcellular processes as well as clinically oriented research in the fields of diagnosis, therapy, or healthy services. Thus, the development of innovative approaches for translational medicine is an essential goal of ICN.

The Medical Immunology Campus Erlangen, an interdisciplinary center at the Faculty of Medicine of the FAU, was founded in March 2009 in order to provide a common organizational platform to scientists from all areas of immunobiology and clinical immunology. Since then, several institutes, clinics, clinical divisions, and research groups of the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, the Faculties of Medicine Sciences of the FAU, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, and the Max Planck-Institute for the Science of Light have been integrated into the Campus. The Medical Immunology Campus Erlangen organizes scientific seminars and lectures, promotes the research of its members by public relation activities, develops teaching concepts for immunology in the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs of Molecular Medicine, and coordinates the participation in competitive federal funding initiatives. By bundling the available scientific resources in the field of immunology, the Campus is dedicated to strengthen the research focus Immunology and Infection Research of the Faculty of Medicine and, in the long run, to enable the founding of a non-university institution (i.e. Leibniz Institute) for translational immunology and immunotechnology. Three times a year, the Campus publishes a Newsletter on exciting publications, honors, and awards of the Campus’ more than 80 members.

Research report MICE

Intention and main focus of METEAN is to combine the research competence in biomedical engineering of the Fraunhofer IIS with the clinical expertise of regional partners from industry, research institutes, and specifically the UK Erlangen in a synergistic way to exchange ideas for technical solutions considering the medical and clinical needs and hence providing and opening perspectives for innovative and market-oriented products. METEAN is located at the Faculty of Medicine inside facilities of the UK Erlangen and hosts technical and medical scientists. A tight involvement of the project partners from clinics, academics, and industry into the research and development activities allows an active participation into the strategic, programmatic, and process-related orientation of METEAN.

Research report METEAN

The NFZ is a research institution of the Faculty of Medicine. The center harbors the two Chairs of Experimental Medicine I and II (Molecular Pathogenesis Research and Molecular Tumor Research, respectively), a Division of Molecular Immunology as part of the Department of Medicine 3, a division of the Chair of Genetics of the Faculty of Sciences, as well as two junior research groups of the IZKF of the Faculty of Medicine. Additionally, lab space is provided to rotating clinical research groups. The intention of the research center is to strengthen biomedical research in the Faculty of Medicine by stimulating cooperations between basic and clinical researchers and by giving young clinicians the opportunity to carry out competitive biomedical research projects, benefiting from the infrastructure of a modern research center.

Research report NFZ

In 2014 the Translational Research Center (TRC) with an exemplary concept and infrastructure was opened at the Faculty of Medicine of FAU. The newly established research building enables physicians and basic scientists to collaborate closely and develop novel approaches for diagnosing and treating diseases. Areas of expertise
covered in the center include aspects of inflammation-, tumor-, kidney-, heart-, and circulation research.

A central approach of the TRC is a highly efficient and flexible use of laboratory space. The research modules have a uniform floor plan. All laboratory areas are linked to a central middle zone which harbors multiuser equipment in order to ensure easy access and efficient utilization of advanced technologies. Several core units complement the infrastructure and provide a broad array of specialized methodologies. These include a central
isotope area that for example enables to generate markers used for innovative imaging techniques, a biobank for sample storage, processing, and analysis of blood and urine of patients, and a cutting edge unit for immune monitoring of patients. All research areas are connected with an open structure to facilitate intense interaction. To this end, a central communication area was created for all personnel.

Research report Translational Research Center

Medical technology is one of the scientific focuses of the FAU. Almost 100 scientists and lecturers are working in this sector linked together in the Central Institute of Medical Engineering (ZiMT). The coordination of responsibilities of numerous cooperation partners as well as international visibility are the important core areas of ZiMT. It is an organizational unit which sharpens the biomedical engineering profile of the FAU and improves the general conditions for interdisciplinary collaboration in the diversified research area of healthcare engineering.

Research report ZiMT