View in your browser
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
NO 9/2020 | NovemBEr Issue

Dear Readers,

It was Schiller's birthday on 10 November. On this occasion, the literary archive in Schiller´s hometown of Marbach am Neckar annually invites a “prominent figure in public life” to give the “Schiller speech”. This year, they invited BIH Professor Christian Drosten – and he accepted! It was a good fit, because the virologist has something in common with the poet: Both studied medicine without becoming a doctor, both are driven by curiosity, striving for freedom and aware of the responsibility of their actions. And so Christian Drosten closes his thoroughly interesting and entertaining speech with the justified assumption: Schiller would wear a mask! Listen in here (only in German)! And when you have finished listening to or reading the speech, we wish you good entertainment with the latest edition of the BIH Newsletter.

Best wishes,
Your BIH Newsletter Team

News From the BIH

Portrait Georg Duda

Georg Duda Appointed New BIH Chair

On 1 November 2020, Professor Georg Duda took up the tenured W3 Professorship for Engineering Regenerative Therapies at the BIH and at Charité. The expert in biomechanics and regenerative medicine is particularly interested in the special ability of tissues such as bone and muscle to adapt to mechanical-physical stimuli through formation and degradation. The deputy spokesperson of the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) will continue to develop and expand the BIH and Charité’s joint focus area “Regenerative Therapies”, with a particular focus on advanced therapies.

Read the press release
Logo Optico

Tracking Down the Causes of Heart Attack

Heart attacks occur suddenly and have various triggers. Researchers at Charité, the BIH and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) have now been able to uncover another cause of heart attacks. Some of the vascular deposits examined in patients contain activated immune cells that accumulate on the inner wall of the blood vessels under altered flow conditions and damage the cells lining the vessels. The scientists have now described their results in the European Heart Journal.

Read the press release
Read about the publication
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter
Logo BIH

Election of the BIH Translation Hub Speakers

In September and October 2020, the Steering Committees of the four BIH Translation Hubs have elected their respective new speakers. As previously, they will represent the Hub Communities and their Steering Committees in the BIH Scientific Committee. We congratulate all new speakers:

Clinical Translation: PD Dr. Uta Höpken, Prof. Dr. Andreas Meisel
Digital Medicine: Prof. Felix Balzer, Prof. Petra Ritter, Prof. Sylvia Thun
Multi-Omics: Prof. Nils Blüthgen, Prof. Angelika Eggert
Organoids and Cell Engineering: Dr. Mina Gouti, Dr. Harald Stachelscheid 

More about the BIH Translation Hubs

News From the BIH Academy

Portrait Duska Dragun

Duska Dragun Becomes Honorary Member of ASHI

Professor Duska Dragun, Director of the BIH Academy (BIA) was granted a lifetime honorary membership by the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) for her outstanding achievements in the field of tissue typing and immunogenetics. Duska Dragun's groundbreaking work on the first functional non-HLA antibodies has become part of routine diagnostics in the entire field of transplantation medicine. Congratulations! 

More about the BIH Academy

News From the BIH QUEST Center

Logos BIH QUEST Center, Berlin University Alliance, University of Oxford

Third Oxford | Berlin Summer School on Open Research

From 28 September – 1 October, the BIH QUEST Center conducted the third iteration of their annual Oxford | Berlin Summer School on Open Research, this year online. This was done in collaboration with the Berlin University Alliance and University of Oxford. The program thus featured lecturers from all Berlin universities and from the University of Oxford. Fifty participants from Berlin, Europe, and some even beyond followed the program on best practice and new developments towards transparent and reproducible research.   

To the talks

News From BIH Innovations

Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

BIH Digital Health Accelerator Program 2020 Launched

This year's cohort of the BIH Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) program started in early October with ten new teams. There are projects for digital pathology, models for the metabolism of organs, an APP for patients with psychological problems, AI-based diagnostic solutions for intensive care units or a computer-assisted tool for cancer patients to coordinate the administration of medication with the internal clock. A telemedical solution is to optimize the therapy of severe muscle weakness, a participation platform is to track heart patients over the long term, disease-causing DNA sequence variants are to be discovered and personalized therapies for heart valve patients are to be developed. The aim of the program is to support translation projects in the concept design, product development, clinical validation and transfer of digital health innovations into medical applications, e.g. through licensing or company foundation. The BIH wishes the teams every success with their translation projects.

Read more about the funded projects
Funded teams receive certificates for joining the SPARK-BIH program and a guide book for translational science written by the SPARK founder)

Nine New Teams Enter the SPARK-BIH Program in Fall 2020

On 7 – 8 September 2020 teams from Charité and the MDC presented their translational projects in front of a jury with experts from diverse fields including science, industry, business and medicine. Nine Teams convinced the jury and were selected to take part in the SPARK-BIH Validation Funding Program where they will receive tailored education, mentoring, advice and networking as well as milestone-based funding over a period of up to two years. The funded teams cover a diverse range of cutting-edge projects from different medical areas and include cell therapies, vaccine discovery, diagnostic and medtech projects.

Read more
First successful NeuroCure / SPARK-BIH Call)

Four Translational Projects Enter the SPARK-BIH Mentoring Program

Several teams have applied to the first NeuroCure / SPARK-BIH Call for translational proposals.  At the evaluation session in September 2020, teams from the field of Neuroscience presented their projects in short pitches in front of an expert jury. Based on the expert’s recommendations, the NeuroCure board approved the funding of for teams (two Pharma projects, one MedTech project and one Diagnostic project) that have now entered the SPARK-BIH mentoring program. 

Read more
Porträts Falk Müller-Riemenscheid und Roland Eils

FACES Portrait with Falk Müller-Riemenschneider and Roland Eils

Professor Falk Müller-Riemenschneider lives and works in Singapore. As an Associate Professor at the School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS), he specializes in broad-based studies on the health of the population. Since 2019, he has regularly traveled to Berlin as a BIH Visiting Professor, funded by Stiftung Charité. Together with his host, Professor Roland Eils, Founding Director of the BIH Digital Health Center, he has established a partnership between the NUS, the BIH and Charité in the field of personalized digital medicine. Stiftung Charité met with both in August 2020 via a video meeting to discuss the impact of the pandemic on their daily work. 

Read the FACES portrait with Falk Müller-Riemenschneider

BIH Paper of the Month

The Microbiome Controls Immune System Fitness

In May 2020 Laura Schaupp received the Paper of the Month award. The immunologist in the department of BIH Professor Andreas Diefenbach was able to show how the microbiome influences the immune system. She compared sterile mice without any microbiome with normal mice and found that the immune system is significantly less efficient when the bacteria in the intestine are missing. 

Read the press release
Read the publication


Berlin Institute of Health 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

Professor Kai Zacharowski

Future Medicine Science Match 2020: AI in Translational Medicine

At the fifth edition of the Future Medicine Science Match 2020, organized by the BIH and the Tagesspiegel, almost 1,000 participants met on 7 November –
this year online – to learn about the best projects involving artificial intelligence (AI) in translational medicine. The award for best scientific pitch went to app@work, a project that uses automated data analysis with integrated AI to predict the course of disease and help identify targeted treatment options for COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. The audience award for the most entertaining pitch, which is funded by Intuitive Surgical, was won by Manouchehr Shamsrizi from – part of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’s Cluster of Excellence.

Read the press release
Video recording of the event
Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

BIH Diversithon

On 10 November, the last day of this year's Berlin Science Week, about 35 participants met virtually for the BIH Diversithon to jointly edit and write Wikipedia articles about women scientists in the life sciences. We all use Wikipedia, but women are still underrepresented in the world's largest encyclopedia. With the online edit-a-thon, the BIH has helped to give women scientists more visibility and to attract new authors to bring scientific findings to the public.  

Read more
Sketchnote by Marianna Poppit

(In)credible Research

From 29 – 30 October 2020, Charité and the BIH invited all Early Career Researchers from within the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) to take part in the first annual, discipline-independent online conference under this year's motto: '(In)Credible Research' - for Credibility, Integrity and Reproducibility of Research. More than 150 PhD and postdoc students accepted this invitation and were able to expand their methodological competencies and network. International scientists at different career levels, including among others, BIH Professor Ulrich Dirnagl, offered insights into the demands of academic research and critical comments on scientific practice. (In)credible Research was the prelude to an annual event on good scientific practice. 

Read more
Portait Michael Potente

Online-BIH Lecture with Michael Potente

On 30 October 2020 Michael Potente was speaker in the BIH Lecture Series. He is BIH Professor for Translational Vascular Biomedicine and spoke about the influence of metabolic processes on the formation of blood vessels in health and disease. Aberrant angiogenesis is a characteristic and trigger of cancer or inflammation, but therapeutic approaches have so far shown little success. New insights into the metabolic processes that small blood vessels use to form networks open up new possibilities for intervention.

Recording of the BIH Lecture
Logo World Health Summit

BIH Discussion at the World Health Summit

The 12th World Health Summit (WHS) took place from 25 – 27 October 2020; this year digitally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  More than 6,000 participants from over 100 different nations worldwide took part online. The central topic of the conference was the Covid-19 pandemic. Among others, Professor Ulrich Dirnagl, BIH Chairman and  Founding Director of the BIH QUEST Center discussed with Christopher Baum, Chief Executive Officer of the BIH, and other guests the changed conditions in health research and for medical translation during and after the corona pandemic. The session by BIH Chairman Professor Christof von Kalle on the subject of "Translation in times of Covid-19" was also very informative. 

To the session with Ulrich Dirnagl
To the session with Christof von Kalle
To all sessions of the WHS

Open Calls

Berlin Institute of Health Newsletter

Call for Projects of the Translation Hub Organoids and Cell Engineering

The BIH Translation Hub Organoids and Cell Engineering has opened its third call for project proposals. Until 11 December 2020, hub members are invited to submit their project applications. The hub connects scientists and clinicians from different disciplines and institutes to enable the development of innovative technologies and research projects.  

Read more
Recommend the BIH Newsletter