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Interdisciplinary Symposium
26.11.2018

Talents apply for a position at Helmholtz Pioneer Campus

The Pioneer Campus at Helmholtz Zentrum München was launched about one year ago and the first teams have already started their research. As part of a second recruitment round, the Symposium ‘Engineering Biomedical Breakthroughs Enabled by Computer Sciences’ was held on November 15.

Twelve young technology and innovation-oriented scientists presented their research approaches. © Helmholtz Zentrum München

Twelve young technology and innovation-oriented scientists presented their research approaches and thereby applied for a team leader position at the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus (HPC). As in the previous year, all the applicants had published noteworthy papers or were recipients of prestigious awards or grants. They all came from world-leading institutions such as Caltech, Harvard, Stanford, Max Planck institutes or the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).

The presentations conveyed a broad overview of the latest, state-of-the-art techniques in biomedical imaging, quantum physics and bioengineering with a view to improving the understanding of biological systems or therapeutically influencing them. Moreover, bioinformatics and its digital applications to intelligently link experimental and clinical data played a key role. Among the speakers there was also an old acquaintance: Dr. Laleh Haghverdi (formerly Helmholtz Zentrum München, now at EMBL-EBI in Cambridge). In 2017, she and her former colleagues won the Erwin-Schrödinger-Prize.

“We are proud of the fact that the still very young idea of the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus is attracting such high-caliber scientists from renowned research institutes,” says Dr. Thomas Schwarz-Romond, Director of Operations at the HPC. “This response shows that we are on the right track and is a key benchmark and a motivation to unwaveringly adhere to the innovation and internationalization course we have set. It is now on us to identify the right candidates for our technology-driven portfolio and to bring them to Munich soon.” Up to four team leaders might be recruited next year.

Although the recruiting symposium was primarily a competitive format, the organizers managed to create a constructive atmosphere and shine the spotlight on science. “Besides the competition, this type of event also allows to establish networks for the future, which makes it mutually beneficial for all participants”, says Professor Matthias H. Tschöp, CEO of Helmholtz Zentrum München and biomedical director of the HPC. “Given this inspiring atmosphere and the enormous scientific quality of the talks, this symposium created an added value for all the participants and the center as a whole.”

Also the scientific focus of the HPC starts to crystallize more strongly. All activities revolve around a healthier society: new technologies should help to meet patients’ medical needs faster and more sustainably. In particular, the HPC relies on advanced dynamic measurement methods to explore physiological systems, as well as on the evaluation and integration of the collected data with the help of cutting-edge IT tools.

“These three pillars and their interaction will not only improve our understanding of biological processes but will accelerate the identification of novel therapies,” explains Professor Vasilis Ntziachristos, HPC Director of Bioengineering. “With the help of our multidisciplinary approach, we hope for a shift from a ‘discovery’ and information building culture to a tool-making and ‘solutions’ culture.”

Some participants of the symposium might soon join this journey: After the initial meeting with the applicants during the symposium, discussions will follow with the candidates who are most in tune with the vision of the HPC. Another milestone which is planned for 2019 will be the laying of the cornerstone of HPC research building on the Neuherberg Campus in the immediate vicinity of the new HDC. Here, the scientists will chase their ideas together under one roof.


Further Information

Please find the agenda of the symposium including all candidates here.

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus, allergies and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,300 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

Helmholtz Pioneer Campus (HPC) stands for the intelligent fusion of biomedicine, engineering and digitization. Top scientists from all over the world work together to develop novel tools and solutions for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of urgent medical needs. The aim of HPC is to establish a highly dynamic research environment at the interface of various disciplines – one that is free from the continuous pressure of having to apply for third-party funding and with minimum administrative work. Founded by and embedded in the Helmholtz Zentrum München and as part of the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest research organization, HPC offers a place for innovation and start-up culture. HPC derives its name and guiding principles from Hermann von Helmholtz: physician and physicist, mathematician and pioneer of applied science.

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