Press Release

13.04.2021

Joining forces to combat common diseases - 3rd Joint DZG Symposium in Dresden

Fighting common diseases together! The mission of the German Centers for Health Research (DZGs) is to optimize the translation of research results to their application in patients and thus improve the prevention and treatment of common diseases. In the individual centers, the best scientists from university and non-university research institutions work together on an interdisciplinary basis to bring new medical research results into application more rapidly. With this goal in mind, the DZG pursue a research strategy that complements existing research activities and combines them in a unique way.

Diabetes, cancer and dementia: as diverse as these diseases may appear, there are often cross-connections that are relevant for the development of therapeutic approaches and examination methods. Thus, the active networking of different DZGs reflects a unique opportunity to develop completely new and innovative research approaches. Dresden is a pioneer in this field, as the three in Dresden located DZGs, the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden (PLID) of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), have already been closely interconnected for several years.

The annual Joint Dresden DZG Symposium is one of the highlights of these interactions and took place for the third time on April 13th 2021. The symposium is intended as an exchange forum for young and established scientists aims amongst others to create knowledge and availability for the methods and infrastructures of the Dresden medical campus.

Following the official opening of the virtual symposium for the 125 registered participants by Prof. Mechthild Krause (speaker DKTK Dresden), Prof. Michele Solimena (speaker DZD) and Prof. Gerd Kempermann (DZNE), Prof. Reinhard Berner – coordinator of the recently by the BMBF announced new fourth DZG in Dresden – presented the goals and visions of SaxoChiLD – the saxon partner in the new forming German Center for Child and Adolescent Health (DZKJ). Since this year's online format impeded a comprehensive presentation of methods and infrastructures via poster session, Dr. Treewut Rassamegevanon (DKTK) was invited to introduce the Preclinical Imaging Facility existing at OncoRay/NCT. The Keynote Lecture on “Sharing and promoting your research using Social Media” given by Dr. Ulrike Brandt-Bohne from the National Institute of Science Communication (NaWIK) provided inspiring insights into the steadily growing field of science communication via social media channels like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, and was therefore rewarded with an excited feedback and a tremendously lively discussion.

Another great success of the joint initiatives of the Dresden DZGs are the 2020 established seed-funding grants for DZG-overarching projects which are intended to promote new translational activities between the DZGs in Dresden. The awardees of the last year funded projects Theresa Suckert and Dr. Nicole Bechmann were invited to present status reports on their"Exploration of pathological mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration" and "Oxidative stress markers as non-invasive tool to predict therapy response", respectively. The last part of this year's symposium was eagerly awaited by many participants: The announcement of the winners of the seed-funding 2021.With great enthusiasm it was reported, that for this year´s call ten joint applications of high quality were submitted. “This reflects the intense interconnection that can be created through initiatives such as the Joint Dresden DZG Symposium.”, said Prof. Kempermann, who subsequently announced the successful winners, who will be supported each with 10.000 Euro within the next year. The awardees of 2021 were:

  1. Judith Houtman (DZNE) and Karthikeyan Mohanraj (DZD/PLID) with their project “Identification of epigenetic-driven changes in metabolic fluxes in a model of neural stem cell aging
  2. Ekaterina Balaian, Martin Bornhäuser (DKTK) and Triantafyllos Chavakis (DZD/PLID) with their project “The role of microbiome in Low Risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes
  3.  Anna Poetsch, Sukrit Mahajan (DKTK) and Abhinav Soni (DZNE) with their project ”Epigenetic function of oxidative DNA “damage” on repetitive DNA

With this, the 3rd Joint DZG Symposium came to a successful end for all participants. We are excited that our community was increased to four active DZGs in Dresden and we are therefore looking forward to the 4th DZG-meeting hosted by the DZNE in 2022.