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BIH at Charité Newsletter
Nr. 3/2021 | April Issue

Dear Readers,

"When will the pandemic be over?" asked an audience member at the last internal Corona information event at the Charité. Professor Christian Drosten hesitated: "Not so soon," was his expected and yet somewhat disappointing answer. "It will probably start again after the summer holidays, and in all likelihood we will have to be patient until next spring before the virus really disappears," was his prognosis. Maybe we'll be lucky and some freedoms will return sooner, thanks to sophisticated testing strategies and more and more vaccinated people: Berlin's cultural theatres have already tried it out, and representatives from BIH have helped the Philharmonie keep the necessary data streams flowing securely. The secure use of medical data has also been called for by the Federal Minister of Health's Council of Experts, and representatives from BIH are also involved here. And finally, the new BIH podcast is also all about medical data and how we can use it better. You will find the links to all these news as well as many other interesting news in the current BIH Newsletter. We wish you good entertainment!

With best regards
Your BIH Board of Directors
Christopher Baum and Andrea Runow
 

Corona/COVID-19: BIH Activities

BIH at Charité Newsletter

Philharmonic concert in front of an audience: BIH helps with data process

After months of lockdown, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was finally allowed to play in front of an audience again on March 20, 2021. Around 1,000 guests had registered in advance, undergone a rapid test for Corona at home and again on site, and were then allowed to listen to and applaud the orchestra live under the direction of Kyrill Petrenko. "The pilot project is intended to test the conditions under which we will be able to perform in public again in the near future," said Andrea Zietzschmann, artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation. The musicians received support for this project from BIH, among others: Professor Roland Eils, founding director of the BIH Digital Health Center, provided the expertise for the data processing.

Read more
 

News from the BIH

BIH at Charité Newsletter

Grand opening of the BIH and MDC’s Käthe Beutler Building

Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek and Berlin’s Governing Mayor and Senator for Higher Education and Research Michael Müller inaugurated a new building for translational medical research at the science, health and biotechnology park Campus Berlin Buch. The facility will be jointly run by the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC). The federal government financed €26.2 million of the new building’s total cost of around €29 million. A former clinic facility that stood on the site has been renovated and expanded to create the new Käthe Beutler Building, which now provides 3,000 m2 of space where some 200 scientists will conduct research with a focus on vascular medicine. The name of the building commemorates Jewish doctor and scientist Käthe Beutler, who was forced to emigrate to the United States under the Nazis in 1935. Her son and grandson both gave speeches at the event, as did the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Community of Berlin. The Käthe Beutler Building is the first BIH research building to go into operation.

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BIH at Charité Newsletter

Keep calm! How blood vessels are kept in check

The inner surface of blood vessels is lined by a wafer-thin layer of cells known as the endothelium, which forms a crucial barrier between blood and the surrounding tissue. The single-layered cell structure promotes the exchange of oxygen and nutrients, while simultaneously preventing the uncontrolled leakage of blood components. Only when the metabolic needs of the surrounding tissue increase, e.g., during growth, wound healing or tumor development, do endothelial cells abandon this stable cell association in order to divide and form new blood vessels. The signals that trigger this activation have been throroughly studied. Previously, however, little was known about how endothelial cells maintain their stable resting state. This is what scientists at Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité have now investigated together with an international team of researchers. They have published their findings in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

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BIH at Charité Newsletter

BIH website in a new look

Since April, the BIH website has a new design. This also visually underlines the integration of BIH into Charité, while at the same time BIH remains visible as an independent brand and actor in translational research. In the course of this, the website received new functions as well as a new portal for news, events and calls for proposals.

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BIH at Charité Newsletter

Digitization in the Service of Health

The life and health of people in Germany could be better protected: This is the conclusion of the seven-member Health Expert Council (SVR), whose member is BIH Chair Christof von Kalle. In his current report, the council on 24.3. handed over to the Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn, the members are calling for the possibilities of digitization in the healthcare system to be used in a responsible and scientifically sensible manner.

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The BIH in Transition

The journal „The BIH in Transition“ about the last three years 2018-2020 is now available in English: Please find here or ask for a hard copy by sending an email to newsletter@bihealth.de

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BIH History Brochure Published

Do you know who founded the BIH? What were the names of its various chairmen? When did the first clinical studies begin or when was the BIG Act signed? Answers to these questions and many other interesting details about the history of the BIH can be found - nicely presented graphically - in the new BIH History brochure, of which you can order a copy from Newsletter@bihealth.de

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News from the BIH Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA)

BIH at Charité Newsletter

May 28-29, 2021: International Symposium of the BIH Academy 

On May 28-29, 2021, an international symposium will be taken place in memory of Prof. Duska Dragun and for celebrating the tenth anniversary of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program. The symposium which will be held at the Langenbeck-Virchow-Haus in Berlin is composed of several components: First and foremost, it will commemorate the former director of the Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA) and director of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program, who passed away in December 2020, and will be joined by stakeholders from academia and science policy. In addition, there will be scientific sessions, which will form tandems of program fellows and invited speaker. During a digital certificate ceremony on the evening of May 28, 2021, some 50 alumni will be bid farewell. The event language is English and the symposium is expected to take place in a semi-digital format.

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BIH at Charité Newsletter

CSP Alumnus Bobbert President of the Berlin Chamber of Physicians

Clinician Scientist Pilot Program alumnus PD Dr. med. Peter Bobbert has been elected as the new President of the Berlin Chamber of Physician, succeeding Dr. med. Günther Jonitz. Bobbert is a specialist in internal medicine and cardiology (additional qualification in emergency medicine), had already been a member of the board of the Berlin Chamber of Physicians since 2013 and was elected to the board of the German Medical Association in 2019. In 2013, he was elected chairman of the Marburger Bund, Berlin/Brandenburg regional association. We warmly congratulate Bobbert on his new position and look forward to working with him!

Read more (in German)
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Clinician Scientist Christian Oeing receives research award

The Innovative Cardiology 2021 Research Award of the Dr. Marija Orlovic Foundation goes to Clinician Scientist Christian Oeing, MD, for his work on mTOR signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy. The resident from the Cardiology Department at Charité Campus Virchow will receive 10,000 euros to further decipher this signaling pathway and test new therapeutic options in animal models. The prize will was awarded on April 7, 2021 at the Congress of the German Society of Cardiology (DGK). We warmly congratulate on this award!

Read more (in German)
 

News from the BIH QUEST Center

BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Charité Metrics Dashboard

The Charité Metrics Dashboard developed by the BIH QUEST Center (only accessible from the Charité intranet) provides an up-to-date overview of the status quo (as well as the progress) of various metrics of open and accountable research at Charité, including BIH. It serves as a transparent communication to staff, funding agencies, and the public of Charité's progress towards its goal of targeting robust and relevant research outcomes. As part of an international project (involving partners from the European University Hospital Alliance), versions of the dashboard adapted to local conditions are to be established at other university hospitals in Europe, North and South America. The Charité is in an international leading role regarding the development of the tool as well as its implementation. If you have any questions, please contact quest@bihealth.de.

Read more (only accessible from the Charité intranet)
 

News from BIH Innovations

BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

BIH Innovations awards European patent license

Following initial discussions in spring 2019, BIH Innovations, the joint technology transfer arm of Charité and BIH, signed an exclusive European patent licensing agreement with Actimed Therapeutics Ltd. of the UK, founded in 2017, for the use of S-oxprenolol in ALS in November 2020. PD Dr. Jochen Springer and Prof. Stefan Anker (Medizinische Klinik m.S. Kardiologie CVK) from Charité together with Prof. Andrew Coats, identified the S-enantiomeric form of the beta-blocker oxprenolol as a suitable drug candidate for the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In an established ALS mouse model, S-oxprenolol can prolong the survival of the animals after the onset of the first symptoms of the disease compared to placebo- or riluzole-treated animals, improve the quality of life and also delays the loss of body mass and muscle mass in the animals. Based on these results, the Charité together with the inventor Andrew Coats applied for a patent application for the invention. Following initial discussions in spring 2019, the Charité Technology Transfer has now concluded an exclusive European patent licensing agreement for the use of S-oxprenolol in ALS with the British company Actimed Therapeutics Ltd, which was founded in 2017.

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BIH at Charité Newsletter

Enhancing Endosomal Escape – A new platform technology for improved cytosolic drug delivery

A bench-to-bedside translational collaboration agreement between Charité and Sapreme Technologies B.V. (Utrecht, Netherlands) was recently renewed.Prof. Hendrik Fuchs from Institute of Laboratory Medicine developed a platform technology for enhanced cytosolic drug delivery, using plant-based substances (glycosylated triterpenoids). Several patent applications have already been filed.Sapreme drives the development of the technology with the potential to treat cancer and diverse other disorders further towards clinical development.

Read more about Sapreme Technologies B.V.
Read more about Endoscape
 

Paper of the Month

BIH at Charité Newsletter

August 2020 - Dietary supplements for the acid-base balance?

What is the effect of food on the acid-base balance? And what do nutritional supplements do? Michael Boschmann and his team at the ECRC, the Experimental and Clinical Research Center of the MDC and Charité, pursued this question: Until now, the pH of the blood was measured to answer this question. With the result that blood is well buffered and that even an unbalanced diet, for example with excessive protein intake, has no significant effect on the acid-base balance. But new measurement methods allow it now to record these parameters in the muscles too, and the scientists found what they were looking for: too much protein in the diet acidifies the muscles and dietary supplements may have a positive influence on this effect. "And that is important," explains Michael Boschmann, last author of the award-winning publication.

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BIH at Charité Newsletter

July 2020 - Why do COVID-19 patients get different degrees of illness?

In search of possible answers, the scientists working with Andreas Thiel from the BCRT took a look at CD4-positive T cells, a certain immune cell type. These cells recognize antigens of the virus, such as the spike protein. The researchers found that many people carry reactive T cells that recognize antigens of the coronavirus, even if they have never been infected with SARS-CoV-2. This is probably due to the fact that normal cold viruses also have a spike protein similar to the new coronavirus. In the paper of the Month July 2020, the authors discuss whether this turns out to be good or bad in the case of an actual infection with the new coronavirus.

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Events

BIH at Charité Newsletter

Due to the current situation regarding Sars-CoV-2/COVID-19 almost all BIH events will be implemented by using online tools, as noted in the event calender

If you would like to receive a regular overview of upcoming BIH Events, please register here. Many thanks.
 

Event Review

BIH at Charité Newsletter

Online BIH Lecture with Sylvia Thun

On March 12, 2021, Professor Sylvia Thun gave an online lecture as part of our BIH lecture series "Frontiers in Translational Medicine - Scientific and Structural Challenges". Professor Thun is the director of the BIH Core Unit eHealth and Interoperability (CEI) at BIH. In her talk, she explains why interoperability of medical data is fundamentally important for digital innovation and how it enables digital transformation in research and medicine, which in turn benefits patients.

To the recording of the BIH Lecture
 

Calls

BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Call for Proposals for the SPARK-BIH program is open

The call for proposals for the SPARK-BIH program is open. Scientists and clinicians of all career stages at BIH and Charité can apply for the SPARK-BIH program with their translational research projects in the fields of drug development (small molecule, biologics, ATMP, gene therapy), medical device technology and diagnostics in all medical fields until May 31 (14:00 CET). The project support consists of funding, mentoring and targeted training and extends over a period of 12-24 months.

To the SPARK-BIH Program and Call for Proposals
BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

QUEST Grant for Patient & Stakeholder Engagement

Early active participation of patients and other stakeholders can increase the relevance of research. For this purpose, the BIH QUEST Center promotes the active participation of patients already in the planning phase of a study. All scientists at BIH and Charité are eligible to apply. The deadline for submission is 30.04.2021.

Read more (currently only available in German)
BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Apply for a QUEST award!

You can receive a QUEST award, for example, for publications on projects in which patients and/or other stakeholders were actively involved in the research process. Awards are also available for data reuse, for publications on pre-registered preclinical studies, on null results or on replication studies. Publications can be submitted at any time.

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BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Charité BIH Entrepreneurship Summit (CBES) – Startup Call Life Sciences Venture Market (LSVM)

The LSVM supports startups and projects in life sciences space. Take your chance and present your idea and business concept in front of a truly global expert audience, be judged by international experts in the field of innovation, life sciences and healthcare. The best three video pitches will be awarded 3x 1,000 € at the Summit. Additionally, the best six startups will be invited to present at the World Health Summit. Deadline April 25, 2021 – Apply now!

Join CBES 2021 on May 11, 2021 with fellow physicians, scientists, international innovators, investors, and representatives from industry and government. The conference will provide networks of key opinion leaders and innovation experts from Scotland, Australia, Canada, Israel, and the U.S. This global collaboration will surely provide unique perspectives on The Future of Translational Innovation for Patient-Centered Healthcare (Program).

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BIH at Charité Newsletter

Sanofi iAwards Europe 2021

Sanofi is looking for potential collaboration partners at BIH, Charité and MDC to jointly drive forward innovative and translational projects in the prestigious iAwards program. 

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New Faces at BIH

Steffen Sinnig

Steffen Sinnig has been working for BIH as a receptionist since March 15, 2021. Previously, he worked in the hotel industry (including in South Africa) in various positions and was most recently a team leader for a concierge and receptionist company. 

Sophie Powik

Since 06.04.2021 Sophie Powik supports the personnel team as recruiter. Previously, she worked in recruiting and personnel administration at BIO COMPANY GmbH and at the TU Berlin, where she was responsible for the independent supervision of all personnel matters of the scientific staff and civil servants. There she was responsible for the independent supervision of all personnel matters of the scientific employees and civil servants.
 
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