Research Objectives

Improve Individual Health

As a leading center in health research with a focus on Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München wants to preserve and improve the health of individuals by developing innovative strategies for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Our expertise enables us to realize our vision of Environmental Health and direct our focus onto the individual. By combining health research and environmental research, we decipher previously unknown connections between genetics, lifestyle and the environment.

Environmental Health

By exploring how genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle  interact to contribute to the development of common diseases, Helmholtz Zentrum München demonstrates its clear commitment to its focus on Environmental Health. The dramatic rise of chronic diseases worldwide can only be explained by elucidating the interaction of environmental factors and individual genetic predisposition.

Individual and Environment
Two aspects determine the uniqueness of research at Helmholtz Zentrum München.
First, besides studying environmental toxic agents and pollutants, genetic aspects are also studied to obtain a more comprehensive picture of individual characteristics and of the mechanisms that tip the balance between health and disease. 
Second, environmental influences are defined much more broadly, and age-specific, socio-economic and geographic factors are taken into account. The particular metabolic state of the individual is considered through the combination of genetic and metabolomic data. In this way Helmholtz Zentrum München contributes to the development of individualized medical strategies and to the creation of added value for society from research.

Leading Science to Health

To improve human health, scientists must go beyond basic research and focus on the realization of concrete applications that yield measurable benefit. To achieve this, researchers must make an outstanding effort to translate advances in science into benefits for society. This is the meaning of the slogan “Leading Science to Health”.

Excellence in science, education and infrastructure and goal-oriented cooperative projects are the basis of Helmholtz Zentrum München. Successful research leads to new approaches to tackle diabetes mellitus, chronic lung diseases and other major widespread diseases. Efficient translational research and technology transfer make the findings quickly available for the use of society. 

Translational Research

Until today, no treatment strategies have been found that can combat the cause of major common diseases or even prevent them. As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München has taken on the task of improving this situation and of developing individualized diagnosis and treatment options. Translational research is an integral part of the research approach of Helmholtz Zentrum München. It enables the transformation of knowledge into medical progress and to realize the translational potential of basic research findings for medical applications. The aim of the close cooperation with Munich’s university hospitals is to rapidly provide patients with new and improved therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.

Answers for Patients and Society 
Translational research in medicine aims to provide effective, safe and affordable answers to the pressing issues of health care for patients and society. In  clinical cooperation groups and translational centers for diabetes, lung and allergy research, scientists and clinicians collaborate closely to elucidate complex chronic diseases in order to be able to treat them more effectively in the future. 

Based on the latest knowledge, clinical observations and findings and state-of-the-art technologies, scientific hypotheses are developed which are then tested in the hospital as to their accuracy and usability. The influence of genetic predisposition and environmental factors on the individual disease risk and the development and progression of the disease are analyzed in tandem. This integrative approach to research creates the preconditions for providing evidence-based, personalized preventive and treatment concepts in the future. Here clinical cooperation groups are the focal point of personalized medicine. 

Interfaces to the Clinic
To strengthen this focal point in the best possible way, Helmholtz Zentrum München has adapted its organizational structure to promote translational research by creating clear interfaces to the clinics. Scientists who engage in translational research in the clinical cooperation groups combine clinical and scientific expertise. This results in new teams that are characterized by a clinical, market and research orientation and whose foremost goal is human health.

Personalized Future Medicine

New approaches to the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of major widespread diseases are contributing significantly to better human health. We are focusing on diabetes mellitus und lung diseases, but at the same time we are also engaged in mechanistic studies that provide important findings for other major diseases such as infectious diseasescardiovascular diseases- and neuropsychiatric disorders. The insights gained from basic research and newly developed applications shall serve to develop an individualized medical approach for treating complex, chronic diseases that are widespread in the population.