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Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
NO 5/2020 | June ISSUe

Dear Readers,

No, we did not oversleep, it is quite intentional that we are sending the newsletter this time on 15 June. We noticed that our friends at Charité and the MDC also send their newsletters at the beginning of each month, as do many others. In order not to be drowned in the flood of newsletters, we decided to postpone it by two weeks. Please feel free to write to us and tell us how you like it. The next newsletter will be published on 17 August due to the summer holidays. Until then we wish you and your families a nice and relaxing summer holiday!

We hope you enjoy reading this issue,
Your BIH Newsletter Team

Corona/COVID-19: Activities of the BIH


Germany-Wide Standards for Coronavirus Data

Scientists across Germany are studying the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes, COVID-19. It is now important to bring together the findings and facilitate their collaborative use. Stakeholders from all parts of the healthcare system have therefore joined forces under the Corona Component Standards (cocos) Initiative. Christof von Kalle und Sylvia Thun from the BIH have also been playing a leading role in these efforts. The aim of the initiative is to establish common data formats and standards for data related to COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. University hospitals have agreed on a German Corona Consensus (GECCO) Data Set for use in the national network against COVID-19.

Read the press release
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

Corona-App (CovApp) Extended by Data Donation Function

The CovApp, developed by Dr. Alexander Thieme, Fellow of the BIH Charité Digital Clinician Scientist Program at the Department of Radiation Oncology and Radiotherapy, has been enhanced with a data donation function. This function allows users to anonymously submit their risk profile of an infection with SARS-CoV-2 to the Charité. More than 20,000 users have already been recruited to participate voluntarily, and their data will be evaluated for a spatial and temporal spread of the virus.
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

COVID-19: Patient & Stakeholder Engagement Resources

The BIH QUEST Center provides information on studies and initiatives that deal with COVID-19 and Patient & Stakeholder Engagement on their websites. In addition they show opportunities how Patient & Stakeholder Engagement can be realized in the current situation. The content on these pages is continuously updated. You can send additions and feedback at any time to Sarah Weschke.

Read more
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

Ulrich Dirnagl: "Science is Organized Skepticism”

In his current column at Ulrich Dirnagl, Director of the BIH QUEST Center, writes why "organized skepticism" is precisely the strength of science during the COVID-19 Pandemic and what we can learn from the fact that even great advocates of better quality in biomedical research like Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow John Ioannidis make mistakes.

To the article in the Laborjournal (in German)

News from the BIH

Portrait Diefenbach and image Mikrobiota

The Microbiome Controls Immune System

Researchers around BIH Professor Andreas Diefenbach were able to show how the microbiome helps to render the immune system capable of responding to pathogens. If absent, relevant mediators are not released, resulting in a failure to activate metabolic processes in certain immune cells. According to the researchers’ report, which has been published in Cell, this leaves the relevant cells without the necessary fuel to mount an immune response.

Read the press release
Read the publication
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
Portrait Marcus Mall and image lungs

Fitness Key Mechanisms Involved in Pulmonary Fibrosis Development

With pulmonary fibrosis, healthy lung tissue is converted into connective tissue, which leads to restricted oxygen absorption. Research groups around BIH Professor Marcus Mall have elucidated the novel disease processes involved in the development of pulmonary fibrosis. They were able to show that the protein known as NEDD4-2 plays a key role in lung health and that loss of this crucial regulatory molecule has a significant impact on various mechanisms involved in the development of chronic progressive lung disease. These new insights make it easier to further investigate the precise mechanisms involved in the development and progression of pulmonary fibrosis.

Read the press release
Read the publication
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
Logos BIH Quest and Wellcome Trust

First SPOKES Fellowships Awarded

The BIH QUEST Center and the Wellcome Trust recently established their translational partnership: Together, the institutions aim to improve the quality of research in order to enable the translation of research results into clinical practice. The partnership also includes the award of SPOKES Fellowships: The selected fellows receive 25,000 euros for projects that improve the quality of research at the Charité and beyond. The first five researchers have now been selected from 31 applications. More information on the fellows and their projects coming soon!

Read more
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
Female Scientist working in laboratory

DFG Stresses the Relevance of Gender and Diversity Aspects in Research Proposals

In an official statement the DFG underlined the importance of taking gender and diversity aspects into account for research projects. The DFG's application guidelines now contain questions on gender and other diversity dimensions in relation to the persons researching and being studied, laboratory animals, material taken, etc. All applicants are requested to explain the extent to which gender is relevant to the research project (methods, work program, objectives, etc.). Further information on gender aspects in biomedical research can be found here.

Read more
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
Logo Stiftung Charité and portrait Rogier Versteeg

FACES Portrait of Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow Rogier Versteeg

Stiftung Charité met Prof. Rogier Versteeg, Einstein BIH Visiting Fellow, during his first stay in Berlin and talked with him and Angelika Eggert, Director of the Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at Charité, about the beginning of a 20-year long friendship, their dedication for neuroblastoma cure, and personal motivation.

Read the FACES portrait



The BIH Lecture Series will continue to take place online. The next lecture will be given by Prof. Florian Gantner (Boehringer Ingelheim) on 31 July 2020.

Read more
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
If you would like to receive a regular overview of upcoming BIH Events, please register at Many thanks.


Event Review

Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

Vascular Biomedicine/COVID-19 Online Workshop

On May 18 – 19, over 25 researchers and clinicians from the BIH, Charité and the MDC came together to discuss how to address the urgent medical need associated with COVID-19 in the context of Vascular Biomedicine. In the 1st session, participants reported on their ongoing and planned COVID-19 research activities. In the 2nd session, common research perspectives were discussed and first concept plans were developed.

If you want to know more about the contents of the workshop, please contact Rukeia El-Athman.
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

Second Online BIH Lecture with Sonja Jost

On 5 June, the BIH invited to the second online BIH lecture "Frontiers in Translational Medicine". In her lecture "How to Create a Scientific Spin-off" DexLeChem CEO Sonja Jost addressed the challenges in the start-up phase of a science-based company. Jost shared her experiences gathered over years and gave useful tips for the different stages on the way to a spin-off.

Read more

Open Calls

Two person sitting on laptop
Logs SPARK-BIH and BIH Innovations

Validation Fund/SPARK-BIH Call 2020 Still Open Until 18 June 2020

Scientists and clinicians of all career levels from the BIH, Charité and the MDC are invited to submit their translational project proposals until 18 June 2020. The funding aims at supporting translational projects from all medical fields that aim at developing novel therapeutics (small molecule, biologic, ATMP), medical devices and diagnostics for unmet medical needs, as well as repurposing of existing drugs for new indications.

Read more
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
Logos SPARK-BIH and NeuroCure

SPARK-BIH Cooperates with NeuroCure in First Neurocure/SPARK-BIH Call

SPARK-BIH supports NeuroCure with their first NeuroCure funded call to accelerate selected translational projects via milestone-based funding, and mentoring. SPARK-BIH and BIH Innovations are open to offer and extend this support model to other funding instruments to improve translation of academic projects. If interested, please contact Tanja Rosenmund.

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Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
Logo BIH

Open Call: Projects for the Focus Area Translational Vascular Biomedicine

The BIH and MDC Focus Area Translational Vascular Biomedicine invites all researchers and clinician scientists from the BIH, Charité and the MDC to apply for funding for collaborative and innovative projects implementing translational pipelines that bridge basic and clinical science in vascular biomedicine. Project proposals are expected to require funds in the range of 50,000-200,000 euros for two years. The deadline is 26 July 2020.

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New Faces at the BIH

Team Central Services

Katrin Kretschmann

Since mid-May, Katrin Kretschmann has been supporting the Administration Department of the BIH. With her many years of international professional experiences and her skills as a purchaser, she will do her best to implement and establish central purchasing at the BIH. 
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

Team BIH Academy

Nele Mohr

Since April 2020 Nele Mohr has been working as Team Assistant for the BIH Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA). She supports the BIA, among other things, in the organization and implementation of events and in general administrative tasks. Previously, she was a project assistant in an international team at a think tank, where she was involved in setting up a Fellowship Training Program.

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