Promotionskolleg an der Universität Heidelberg
„Aufklärung von molekularen Wirkmechanismen als Fundament für eine evidenzbasierte Komplementäre und Integrative Medizin“ (train4CIM)
Weiterführende Informationen auf der train4CIM Homepage
Nahrungsergänzungsmittel, Kräuter, Akupunktur, Yoga - um nur einige der Möglichkeiten der Komplementären und Integrativen Medizin (Complementary and Integrative Medicine - CIM) zu nennen - werden von ca. 60% der Erwachsenen in Deutschland genutzt. Trotz dieser breiten Akzeptanz wird die CIM oft als das vollkommene Gegenteil der konventionellen akademischen Medizin angesehen, vor allem weil für die Mehrzahl der CIM-Verfahren aussagekräftige Studien zum potenziellen Nutzen, zur Wirkung oder zur Sicherheit fehlen. Darüberhinaus befindet sich die Suche nach zugrundeliegenden molekularen Mechanismen noch in einem frühen Stadium, obwohl die Forschung insbesondere für Präparate auf pflanzlicher Basis an Fahrt gewinnt.
Das Akademische Zentrum für Komplementäre und Integrative Medizin (AZKIM) hat zum Ziel, mögliche Wirkungen von CIM mit hoch entwickelten wissenschaftlichen Methoden, wie sie in der akademischen Medizin angewendet werden, zu untersuchen.
Ergänzend zu den Forschungsanstrengungen des AZKIM wurde das Promotionskolleg train4CIM ins Leben gerufen. Dieses interdisziplinäre Promotionskolleg widmet sich der Untersuchung der molekularen Mechanismen, die die Wirkungen der Komplementärmedizin vermitteln. Themen sind pflanzliche Wirkstoffe und Photobiomodulation hinsichtlich ihrer Wirkung auf das Immunsystem, auf die Tumorabwehr, auf die Regulierung der natürlichen Darmbarriere und auf die Wundheilung. Ziel ist es, wissenschaftlich fundierte Erkenntnisse zu gewinnen, um Methoden der Komplementärmedizin für künftige Behandlungen von Tumoren oder chronisch entzündlichen Erkrankungen kritisch zu evaluieren.
Weitere Informationen zu pflanzlichen Wirkstoffen...
Dietary supplements, herbs, acupuncture, yoga – to name only a few options of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) - are used by approximately 60 % of the adults in Germany. Despite this wide acceptance, CIM is often seen as the stark opposite of conventional, academic Western medicine, mainly because for the majority of CIM procedures, conclusive studies on the potential benefit, efficacy, or safety are lacking. Moreover, the search for underlying molecular mechanisms is still in early stages, although research is picking up, especially for herbal-based compounds.
Recently, the Academic Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (Akademisches Zentrum für Komplementäre und Integrative Medizin, AZKIM) was founded (www.azkim.de) with the goal to investigate possible effects of CIM with advanced scientific methods, as there are used in academic medicine.
To complement the AZKIM research efforts, the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, Baden-Württemberg is financing this Research Training Group (RTG) at Heidelberg University with 4 PhD Fellowships for a period of 3 years.
This interdisciplinary RTG will study molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of complementary medicine. The topics are active ingredients of plants and photobiomodulation in respect to their effects on the immune system, on tumor defense, on regulation of the natural intestinal barrier and on wound healing. The final goal is to obtain solid scientifically consolidated findings to critically evaluate methods of complementary medicine for future treatments of tumors or chronic inflammatory diseases.
About the RTG. The purpose of the interdisciplinary RTG is to unravel the molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of complementary medicine. The scientific projects within the RTG will be on plant active ingredients and photobiomodulation in respect to their effects on the immune system, tumor defense, regulation of the natural intestinal barrier and wound healing. The final goal is to obtain solid scientifically consolidated findings to critically evaluate methods of complementary medicine for future treatments of tumors or chronic inflammatory diseases. The RTG is funded by the Landesgraduiertenförderung (LGF) of the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg.
What we offer. The RTG provides talented and ambitious candidates with an excellent and stimulating research environment. The individual research projects are thematically closely related with partial methodological overlap to allow for intensive and inspiring scientific exchange. The PhD candidates will have access to state-of-the-art research technologies in modern cell and molecular biology (gene expression profiling, bioinformatics, flow cytometry, cell imaging, optical tissue clearing, animal models). The doctoral education further includes a well-structured training program and intensive supervision. The RTG is closely collaborating with the Graduate Academy and other international graduate programs at Heidelberg University. Furthermore, the RTG will be associated to national joint research projects in the field, for example the newly founded Academic Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (AZKIM).
What we expect. The successful candidate must hold a university degree (master or equivalent above average) that gives access to undertake doctoral studies. Further prerequisites are profound biomedical knowledge and in-depth education in cell and molecular biology and/or immunology. Moreover, very good English skills (spoken and written) are taken for granted. In addition, to conduct a superior doctorate successfully, it is essential to bring in a high degree of motivation as well as passion for science and for developing independent scientific ideas.
P1 Molecular and functional effects of redox-active plant derived substances as potential candidates for therapeutic immune modulation
The immune system plays an important role to ensure the health of an individual. Hyperactivity of immune cells causes chronic inflammation. Hypo-responsiveness in turn leads to immune deficiencies (induced for example by tumors). Both may at least in part be related to a disturbance of the cellular redox balance, i.e. production and elimination of reactive oxygen species. Many natural active substances derived from plants are supposed to influence the redox balance and, hence, may be promising candidates for therapeutic immune modulation. Aim of this project it to unravel the molecular mechanisms of action of redox-active plant derived substances on the signal transduction and cellular responses of human immune cells. To this end, we will employ a variety of modern technologies in cell and molecular biology, as well as high-resolution imaging techniques.
P2 Control of the Innate immune responses by diet-related activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor
A connection between nutrition and the activation of components of the innate immune system, such as natural killer (NK) cells and innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), has been discussed for a long time; insights into mechanisms, however, are still missing. The aim of the project is to decipher the influence of nutritional compounds (e.g. broccoli and radishes) and diets (e.g. high fat diet) on the innate immune response in the liver and to uncover the underlying mechanisms (e.g. the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)). To this end, we will investigate innovative mouse models of diet-induced liver damage and carcinogenesis and will validate gained concepts with human immune cells. The results obtained in this project should help to design diet regimens for patients with liver disease that might positively affect the outcome of disease.
P3 Investigation of the molecular mode of action of ginger and boldin in inflammatory response and intestinal barrier function
Project leader: PD Dr. rer. nat. Beate Niesler
Genetics of Neurogastroenterologic Disorders, Department of Human Molecular Genetics, Institute of Human Genetics, Medical Faculty Heidelberg, University of Heidelberg
phone: +49 (0)6221 56-35274, e-mail, homepage
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often goes along with impaired intestinal barrier function and low grade inflammation. The pungent agents in ginger, menthol and boldin inhibit serotonin-3 receptor (5-HT3R) function. 5-HT3 receptors regulate emesis and vomiting, gut motility and peristalsis, secretion and visceral perception as well as intestinal barrier function. Major aim of the project is the investigation of the mode of action of ginger and boldin and the role of 5-HT3Rs in inflammatory response and intestinal barrier function.
P4 The molecular basis of photobiomodulation in skin
Aim of this project is to elucidate how/what light-effects in skin are transferred into changes in gene expression profiles and their final translation into proteins occur. Furthermore, the impact of microRNAs will be analyzed. We expect that the aryl hydrocarbon receptor is the major player which leads to changes in expression profiles. Therefore, AhR agonists and antagonists will be used. The following techniques will be applied: gene expression profiling, optical tissue cleaning, western plotting, PCR. The project includes animal experiments on chronic wounds and tumor development.