Research Focus

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.

Public Health

In line with its primary objective to improve the human health, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich is also engaged in the overarching, multicenter topic of Public Health. Along with the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) it has a leading role in planning a large national cohort for the analysis of disease risks in the population. The nationwide cohort, which is planned for a period of up to twenty years, will study 200,000 people for risk factors to such major common diseases as diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders and cardiovascular diseases and open up new avenues for prevention.

Diabetes Mellitus and Metabolic Diseases

Helmholtz Zentrum München bundles its activities in the field of diabetes research in the Helmholtz Diabetes Center and coordinates the Helmholtz Alliance ICEMED, the aim of which is to develop effective treatments and prevention approaches for metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and obesity. 

In 2010 the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) was founded, which unites national expertise in order to provide faster benefit to patients affected with diabetes. The main office of the DZD is located at Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Further information on the Research Focus Diabetes

Lung Diseases

With a translational research approach, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich is committed to making discoveries more quickly available for the benefit of patients. Together with Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and Asklepios Hospital in Munich-Gauting, Helmholtz Zentrum München founded the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC), a translational center for lung research. The lung center is located on the high-tech campus in Grosshadern and integrated into modern research and clinical infrastructures. With its own research laboratories and a research outpatient clinic, it is connected with the Asklepios Hospital in Munich-Gauting and the hospital of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. The CPC is the Munich partner location in the German Center for Lung Research.

Together with Technische Universität München, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich has founded a new allergy center to elucidate the causes of allergy diseases and to develop therapeutic approaches for their treatment. The Terrestrial Environment (TE) program contributes its expertise in the area of plants and pollen to the research of allergies.

Further information on the Research Focus Lung

Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases

Helmholtz Zentrum Munich has two institutes that conduct research on the brain and the nervous system as well as on neurodegeneration and neuroregeneration and also coordinates the Helmholtz Alliance “Mental Health in an Ageing Society”. Helmholtz Zentrum Munich participates in the Munich partner location of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn. 

Cardiovascular Diseases

With its expertise gained from large, population-based studies, Helmholtz Zentrum München makes contributions to research on the causes of cardiovascular diseases. The analysis of genetic factors and their interaction with environmental and lifestyle factors stands in the foreground. Within the framework of the Munich Heart Alliance, which was founded in 2010, Helmholtz Zentrum München participates in the German Center for Cardiovascular Research, which was launched in 2011. In the Munich Heart Alliance the two Munich universities, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and Helmholtz Zentrum München pool their competencies to strengthen the translation of insights from basic research into clinical research and applications. The EH and SAM programs collaborate closely in research on cardiovascular diseases. They contribute their different scientific approaches to elucidate the molecular and genetic mechanisms of disease causes and to develop new strategies for prevention and treatment.

Infectious Diseases and Immunology

The study of infectious diseases forms an interface of the three Center programs Environmental Health(EH), Systemic Analysis of Multifactorial Diseases (SAM) and Terrestrial Environment (TE). Along with the different scientific approaches to the elucidation of molecular and genetic mechanisms of disease in the EH and SAM programs, TE supports the search for innovative treatment options for infectious diseases.
Helmholtz Zentrum München investigates chronic infectious diseases such as hepatitis and resulting liver diseases as well as human endogenous retroviruses and their medical consequences. It develops diagnostic and therapeutic concepts as well as strategies to prevent viral diseases or the development of tumors. Together with Technische Universität München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Institute of Microbiology of the Bundeswehr, Helmholtz Zentrum München participates in the Center for Infection Medicine Munich (ZIMM), the partner location in Munich of the German Center for Infectious Diseases.

Main Focus Areas of Environmental Research at Helmholtz Zentrum München

Water Quality

A research priority of Helmholtz Zentrum Munich is to study how water quality can be measured and maintained. The Center is in the process of establishing the Water Science Alliance in cooperation with research partners.

Plant Defense Mechanisms

Another focus is the study of plant defense mechanisms and efficient use of resources. Together with plant biology facilities of the two Munich universities, particular emphasis is placed on the study of the molecular mechanisms that enable plants to respond to biotic and abiotic factors.

Further information on the Research Focus Environment