Research centers and equipment
Interdisciplinary research centers promote cooperation across disciplines and accelerate the translation of basic research results into new treatment methods.
Translational Research Center
The Translational Research Center (TRC), opened in 2014, features an examplary concept and infrastructure. This research building enables phyisicnas and basic scientists for collaborate closely and develop novel approaches for diagnosing and treating diseases. Currently, experts from the fields of inflammation, tumor, kidney and circulation research work in this building. While some labs are assigned permanently, others are others are made available to rotating clinical research groups.
Kussmaul Campus was established in 2009 in order to promote future-oriented biomedical research in Erlangen. The focus is on biomedicine, molecular biology and applied clinical research.
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, benefitting from the infrastructure of a modern research center.
Center for Clinical Studies (CCS)
The CCS is a central infrastructure unit and joint service center of the Medical Faculty of FAU and the University Hospital Erlangen for all aspects of clinical studies. The CCS is the central contact point for physicians and scientists, for study centers, but also for external institutions and companies. The experienced team consists of physicians, biologists, ecotrophologists and biometricians.
The main tasks of the CCS include supporting investigators in organizing and conducting self-initiated clinical trials (IITs).
Consulting and planning
Support in the acquisition of external funding
Study management (GCP-compliant)
Preparation of study plans and study documents
Maintenance of the Trial Master File
Counter costing of contract research
GCP courses for study personnel
Preclinical Experimental Animal Center (PETZ)
The Franz Penzoldt Center of the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg is an interfaculty facility serving to conduct basic and preclinical research on animal models. It is open to all research groups of the university. The Franz Penzoldt Center operates two research buildings, one on the campus of the University Hospital in the Palmsanlage, the other as part of the Biotechnological Development Laboratory in the heart of the southern campus of the University. Both facilities provide state-of-the-art, species-appropriate husbandry conditions.
The overall goal of the Franz Penzoldt Center is to continuously implement the principles of reduce (Reduce), replace (Replace), and refine (Refine) animal experimental work, and to continuously optimize husbandry conditions for the benefit of the animals and the quality of scientific results (Responsibility).
Central aspects of the activities of the Franz Penzoldt Center are
ensuring responsible and ethical handling of laboratory animals,
the optimization and standardization of processes in animal husbandry,
the implementation of a modern quality assurance system
the continuous training of scientific and technical staff.
Core units are centralized methodological platforms that provide access to relevant methods and technologies for a wide range of users. The staff of the core units are available to the researchers as competent contact persons for advice.
Cell Sorting & Immunomonitoring (FACS)
The flow cytometric Core Unit Cell Sorting and Immunomonitoring (here FACS-Core Unit) represents an absolutely essential basis for new and innovative approaches in cell biology, both in basic and applied translational research. The use of high-end flow cytometric devices requires experienced and trained personnel to provide the necessary intensive guidance and professional operation of the very expensive devices. For this reason, the DFG recommends and encourages the operation of such high-end equipment almost exclusively in Core Units. The FACS core unit was established as the first core unit at the Erlangen site in 2000 and officially confirmed as such by the hospital board in 2010. Since then, the FACS Core Unit has been successively expanded. At the moment it operates a MoFlo Astrios EQ 1, MoFlo Astrios EQ 2, MoFlo XDP MoFlow as well as a FACS Aria II. Furthermore, the FACS Core Unit offers Clinical Immunomonitoring using an LSRFortessa device.
Prof. Carola Berking (Department of Dermatology)
Prof. Holger Hackstein (Transfusion Medicine)
Prof. Hans Martin Jäck (Dept. of Molecular Immunology)
Prof. Andreas Mackensen (Medical Clinic 5)
Prof. Thomas Winkler (Section Hematopoiesis, Genetics)
Prof. Dr. Diana Dudziak
Central Biobank Erlangen (CeBE)
The Central Biobank Erlangen (CeBE) is a voluntary organizational association of quality-assured biobanks at the Erlangen site with a common organization, common procedures and platform structures (IT, data and quality management, stakeholder management, ELSI). It is under the auspices of the Medical Faculty of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg and the University Hospital Erlangen.
Spokesman of the Board: Prof. Dr. Bernd Wullich
Managing Director: PD Dr. Matthias Rübner
Contact person: Christina Schüttler M.Sc.
Preclinical Imaging Platform Erlangen (PIPE)
PIPE as a platform for multimodal imaging in preclinical research offers services using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound (US), positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and optical imaging. The following small animal scanners are available for these imaging techniques:
– Ultra High Field MRI 7 Tesla: ClinScan (Bruker).
– Hybrid PET/SPECT/CT: Inveon (Siemens)
– Micro CT: TomoScope 30s duo (VAMP GmbH)
– High resolution US: Vevo 3100 (Visual Sonics)
– Optical imaging: IVIS Spectrum (Perkin Elmer)
With the help of the above mentioned technologies, small animals can be examined in vivo (mainly mice and rats), but also preparations (e.g. organ tissue) ex vivo. In addition to performing the investigations of small animals and preparations, PIPE offers data analysis, which includes data post-processing and determination of quantitative parameters (Scientific Support).
Head: Prof. Dr. Michael Uder, Prof. Dr. Tobias Bäuerle
Contact person: Prof. Dr. Tobias Bäuerle
The Core Unit NGS offers various genome-wide analyses… based on next-generation sequencing technology. The methods primarily include gene expression and Chromatin-based analyses such as RNA-Seq, Methyl-Seq, ChIP-Seq, ATAC-Seq, etc. An emphasis is placed on single cell transcriptome analyses (scRNA-Seq).
Our contribution to the projects starts with consulting and planning, followed by quality control after receipt of the material to be analyzed, different enrichment or depletion methods depending on the problem, preparation of the sequencing libraries and sequencing of these libraries. With the extensive experience in bioinformatic evaluation of such experiments, the subsequent data evaluation is also carried out in close consultation with the users/the cooperation partners up to publication readiness, including all desired illustrations, the method description, the deposition of the data in a public database as required for publication, and the secure long-term archiving of all data.
Head: Prof. Dr. André Reis
Contact person: Dr. Arif B. Ekici
CU Bioinformatics, Data Integration & Analysis (CUBiDA)
CUBiDA provides scientific and clinical bioinformatics, data integration, analysis and visualization services for both molecular biology and clinical datasets. Bioinformatics analyses for metabolomic data, single-cell RNA and bulk RNA sequencing data have already been developed and established so that these analyses can be routinely offered. Data integration and analysis is supported by tranSMART and cBioPortal, as well as other data visualizations. At the same time, we advise researchers on project planning and data management, taking into account FAIR principles. CUBiDA promotes the networking of the previously dispersed expertise on bioinformatics and data integration within UKER and FAU, e.g. by a monthly colloquium around the topics of bioinformatics data analysis and integration.
Depending on demand, further services such as analyses of WES/WGS data or Chip-Seq are planned.
Head: Prof. Dr. Thomas Ganslandt (acting scientific director)
Dr. Detlef Kraska (operational management)
Dr. Pooja Gupta (operational management)
Contact person: Dr. Pooja Gupta
Microbiome Analysis Center Erlangen (MACE)
In Medicine 1, a platform for high-throughput analysis of microbial communities (bacteria, fungi) in different habitats has been established in the last years, which will now be transferred to the Core Unit MACE due to the ever increasing demand in the faculty. MACE supports users in the contamination-free isolation of nucleic acids, creates suitable libraries and realizes marker gene-based metagenomic analyses using Illumina Miseq. In addition, a Minion from the company Oxford Nanopore is available, which allows large read lengths and thus enables more precise identification of bacteria and fungi at the species level. For bioinformatic and statistical analysis, established “pipelines” are available to determine e.g. taxonomic classifications, diversity analyses, relative abundances and functional parameters. In addition, bioinformatic analysis of “whole genome shotgun” sequencing can be supported.
Head: PD Dr. Dr. Stefan Wirtz
Contact person: PD Dr. Dr. Stefan Wirtz
The core unit Metabolomics (METAB) offers untargeted metabolomics analyses performed in order to identify and semi-quantify metabolic differences between sample groups (such as control vs intervention). Sample matrix can vary depending on the research question, e.g. plasma, urine, cell lysates or tissue homogenates. Since experimental design and sample preparation need to be adjusted to each individual research project, a detailed exchange of information and close collaboration with the scientific management of METAB is required prior to starting any experiments.
All analyses are performed on a DFG funded high-resolution mass spectrometer (QExactive Focus, Thermo Fisher) hyphenated to a liquid chromatograph. Analytes of interest are low molecular weight compounds with a mass range up to 1000 Da. METAB functions as scientific collaboration unit for members of the Medical Faculty as well as members of other FAU institutions and external partners. Due to the high heterogeneity of research questions and samples, and the complex data analysis, METAB offers solely scientific collaborations and does not function as a mere service platform.
Head: Prof. Dr. Martin F. Fromm
Contact person: Dr. Arne Gessner
Apart from the core units, researchers can access cost-intensive methods and technologies via the following device platforms.
DNA-Extraction Platform (Biobank)
Genetic and genomic studies for complex traits and clinical studies require high quality DNA-samples of probands as well as a rigorous and reliable handling and tracking of large numbers of samples. Starting in 2009, the IZKF core facility Z4 “DNA-Extraktionsplattform (Biobank)” was established to offer quality controlled DNA-extraction from blood samples and other body fluids, their handling and aliquoting as well as their long-term archiving. The Core Unit has two large scale semi-automatic DNA-extraction platforms, a chemagic magnetic separation module I(Perkin Elmer) and an Autopure LS (Qiagen) and has a capacity of up to 10,000 samples/year. Both platforms yield high quality DNA samples suitable for all downstream applications such as PCR, SNP genotyping, microarray applications and next-generation sequencing. Part of the instrumentation was co-funded by FAU’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. After conclusion of the IZKF funding in 2013 the core facility continues to offer its services financed through user fees.