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BIH at Charité Newsletter
NO 4/2021 | May Issue

Dear Readers,

In the past year, we have got used to the fact that children who are hungry or bored occasionally speak up at virtual meetings. And so, at this year's Charité BIH Entrepreneurship Summit, which took place virtually on 11 May, one was not surprised when suddenly a child's voice was heard from the off when Sarah Levy-Schreier talked about her point-of-care tool for blood analysis. But when she seriously referred to the current situation in Israel, it  became clear that it was not the pandemic, but the bomb threats on Tel Aviv that were responsible for the fact that little Elia was at home and not at school. And so we sincerely hope today that not only will our vaccinations soon enable everyday life to return to normal, but that all children in the Middle East will be able to go to school again as soon as possible.

We wish you interesting insights into the BIH with the current newsletter.

Your BIH Board of Directors
Christopher Baum and Andrea Runow

 

Corona/COVID-19: Activities of the BIH

BIH at Charité Newsletter

BärCODE

Scientists at the BIH around Professor Roland Eils, the founding director of the BIH Digital Health Center, have developed a simple digital certification for rapid antigen tests and COVID-19 vaccines that cannot be forged and that respects data privacy. The BärCODE is generated at official testing and vaccine sites and can be scanned using a verification app to gain access to venues and events.

Read the press release
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Second Chance for COVID-19 Drug

Scientists at the BIH around Irina Lehmann, BIH Professor for for Environmental Epigenetics and Lung Research, recently discovered an interesting target molecule on immune cells which plays an important role in corona infection. Researchers at Bayer had already developed a substance against precisely this target molecule several years ago and tested it extensively in studies. The therapeutic substance proved to be well tolerated, but not effective enough for the intended indication. It will now get a second chance as a COVID-19 drug.

 

News From the BIH

BIH at Charité Newsletter

A Digital Health Wallet

More than one billion people lack access to primary health care, mainly due to inadequate safety nets. Doctors from the Department of Neurology at Charité have created a digital solution to this problem and have now launched the company mTOMADY with the help of the Digital Health Accelerator Program of the BIH at Charité. Users of the service can securely and efficiently send, save, and spend funds for medical treatments via a mobile phone-based system. The mTOMADY health platform was initially rolled out in Madagascar, with other African countries to follow.

BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH Charité Newsletter

New BIH Equality and Diversity Strategy 2021-2025

BIH adopted the new BIH Equality and Diversity Strategy 2021-2025 in April 2021. The focus of equal opportunities work continues to be on promoting women scientists and increasing the proportion of women in areas in which they have previously been underrepresented, as well as on reconciling work and family life. At the same time, however, the BIH also wants to expand the focus to include other groups that have a history of being disadvantaged in science. In addition, addressing sex and gender aspects in research helps improve the quality of translational research and increase the medical benefits for all patients.

Read more
Equality and Diversity Strategy 2021-2025 (only in German)
 

News from the BIH Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA)

Logo BIH Academy
Group Picture BIH Academy Retreat 2019

New (Junior) (Digital) Clinician Scientists

In a highly competitive two-stage digital selection process, the new fellows for the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program were chosen from 4–6 May 2021. In total, eleven candidates qualified for the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program (CSP) and ten candidates for the BIH Charité Junior Clinician Scientist Program (JCSP). In addition, seven candidates were accepted for the Digital Clinician Scientist Program (DCSP) and five for the Junior Digital Clinician Scientist Program (JDCSP). Funding for the new program fellows is planned from 1 July, 2021. To all new fellows, a warm welcome aboard!

Read more about the Clinician Scientist Progrram
BIH at Charité Newsletter

First Fellows of the Advanced Clinician Scientist Pilot Program

The BIH Academy welcomes the first ten fellows in the BIH Charité Advanced Clinician Scientist Pilot Program (AdCSP). The target group consists of scientifically active physicians who have just completed their habilitation and are developing towards becoming a senior physician or have just become a senior physician. The primary goals of the AdCSP are to create new senior physician positions with protected time for research and to strengthen the academic translational ecosystem to better meet the requirements of today´s highly specialized university medicine. Approved candidates will receive either 25% or 50% protected time for research. The gender parity of the new AdCSP Fellows (five women, five men) is very gratifying! 

Read more (only in German)
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Evaluation of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program, the first systematic empirical program evaluation is published. Standardized online surveys and structured interviews were used to investigate the extent to which the integration of research into residency training succeeds through the structured program and what opportunities and challenges arise in practice. The social science program evaluation was initiated by Professor Duska Dragun, Director of the BIH Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA) and the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program, who passed away much too early in December 2020, and was conducted by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) in cooperation with the BIH Academy.

Read more
Read the Evaluation Report of the DZHW (only in German)
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Memorial Symposium in Honor of Professor Duska Dragun

On 28 + 29 May 2021, an international memorial symposium will be held in honor of Professor Duska Dragun and on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program. The symposium will commemorate the director of the BIH Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA) and head of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program, who passed away much too early in December 2020, and will be attended by companions from science and science policy. In addition, there will be scientific sessions, which will be designed of tandems of program fellows and invited high-ranking speakers. A digital certificate ceremony is scheduled for the evening of 28 May 2021, during which approximately 50 program alumni will be bid farewell.

To the program and registration link
 

News from the BIH QUEST Center

News from the BIH QUEST Center

Supporting Mental Health During Pandemics

The BIH QUEST Center has launched a new website with resources on mental health for early career researchers (ECRs) during the pandemic. These resources, aimed at both ECRs and their supervisors, were developed with community members and grassroots partners during a virtual brainstorming event earlier this year. 

Read more
BIH at Charité Newsletter

RE-PLACE Evaluates the Impact of Labfolder Training

In the BMBF-funded research project RE-PLACE, the BIH QUEST Center evaluates the implementation of the electronic laboratory notebook (ELN), an institutional programme that aims at replacing analogue paper lab books with digital research documentation using the ELN software labfolder. To this end, BIH QUEST offers training sessions for labfolder teams in research groups, aimed at enhancing their familiarity and use of the ELN software. RE-PLACE systematically evaluates whether labfolder trainings are a major influencing factor to user acceptance as well as quality orientated documentation workflows in research groups. The evaluation results will be used to identify and improve measures to increase labfolder user acceptance at Charité and the BIH.

Read more
 

BIH Paper of the Month

BIH at Charité Newsletter

CRISPR-Cas9-Edited T Cells for Transplant Recipients

In September 2020, Dr. Michael Schmück-Henneresse, head of the BIH research group Experimental Immunotherapy at the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) received the Paper of the Month award.
To prevent a new donor organ from being rejected, transplant recipients usually receive lifelong medication that suppresses their immune defenses. This favors the resurgence of latent viral infections that the body normally keeps in check. In their awarded paper, the scientists describe how they genetically modify T cells from transplant recipients using the CrisprCas gene scissors. The T cells are supposed to increase the immune defense against the body's own viruses, and the genetic modification protects the T cells from the effects of immunosuppressive drugs.

Read more
Read the publication
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Soothing the Immune System With T Cells

In October 2020, Professorin Petra Reinke, head of the BIH reasearch group Cell Therapy and Personalized Immunosuppression at the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) received the Paper of the Month award. This paper also reports about helping transplant recipients: the scientists describe a first clinical study in which they administer their own laboratory-propagated regulatory T cells to donor kidney recipients. These "soothe" the body's own immune system and therefore allow the amount of immunosuppressive drugs to be greatly reduced.

Read more
Read the publication
BIH at Charité Newsletter

How Does Sars-CoV-2 Get Into the Brain?

In October 2020, Frank Heppner, Chairman at the Department of Neuropathology at Charité, received the Paper of the Month award. Using post-mortem tissue samples, Heppner and his team have studied the mechanisms by which the novel coronavirus can reach the brains of patients with COVID-19, and how the immune system responds to the virus once it does. For the first time, researchers have been able to produce electron microscope images of intact coronavirus particles inside the olfactory mucosa.

Read more
Read the publication
Read the press release

 

Event Review

Portrait Simone Spuler

New Muscles From Stem Cells

On 23 April 2021, Professor Simone Spuler was guest in the BIH lecture series "Frontiers in Translational Medicine - Scientific and Structural Challenges". Professor Spuler is Head of the University Out-Patient Clinic for Muscle Disorders and Senior Group Leader of the Myology Research Group at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center Charité (ECRC) of Charité and the MDC. In her talk, she explained how muscle stem cells are returning to the focus of attention in the treatment of muscle wasting and demonstrated the unprecedented efficacy of gene correction strategies derived from CRISPR/Cas9 techniques in primary human muscle stem cells.

To the recording of the BIH Lecture
BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Welcome on Board!

In two Welcome Lectures in March and April 2021, the four new junior research groups of Dr. Simon Haas, Dr. Stefanie Grosswendt, Dr. Leif Ludwig and Dr. Ashley Sanders presented themselves online in the focus area Single Cell Approaches for Personalized Medicine to an audience of about 200 people each. In their presentations the four ambitious group leaders showed  how diverse the translational application possibilities of single cell technologies are and informed the participants how the development of serious diseases can be promoted by pathological changes in stem cells, in the genomic DNA of our mitochondria as well as by somatic mutations in our body cells and which role different embryonic cell states play in cancer development.

Read more
BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

First Online Lecture of the Translation Hub Digital Medicine

On 22 April 2021, the first Online Lecture of the Translation Hub Digital Medicine took place. Titled "Health Data Platform Solutions", Moyez Dharsee, Susan Gilbert Evans and Fan Dong (Indoc Research, partner in the implementation of the BIH/Charité Virtual Research Environment) presented possibilities and technologies underlying modern health data platforms. The event was moderated by Professorin Petra Ritter.

Read more
Team GRN

15 New Members in the German Reproducibility Network

Science can be more trustworthy, transparent and reproducible. The founders of the German Reproducibility Network (GRN) are convinced of this and are therefore committed to networking different stakeholders in the academic research environment. On 23 April 2021, the first 'Onboarding Event' took place, officially welcoming 15 new researcher groups.

Learn more about the new members
Become a member of the GRN network
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Virtual Girls‘ Day at the BIH

On this year's Girls' Day, almost 100 schoolgirls got a digital insight into the work of women scientists from the BIH and Charité. In eight workshops, women scientists from various working groups presented their research projects and reported on their work. In addition to insights into digital medicine, the researchers took the girls virtually into their lab and reported on their research on viruses, lung diseases, dental health and the digestive tract. Connecting engineering and heart medicine and working on biomaterials to heal broken bones were also topics in the workshops.

Read more (only in German)
BIH at Charité Newsletter
Logos of SPARK Europe Education and BIH Innovations

SPARK Europe at the BIONNALE 2021

At this year’s BIONNALE, five SPARK Europe teams pitched their translational projects & business ideas on the virtual stage in front of representatives of the healthcare and life sciences industry. Charité and DHZB pediatric cardiologist PD. Dr. Boris Schmitt and SPARK-BIH Program Manager Dr. Tanja Rosenmund represented the SPARK-BIH program at the BIONNALE 2021.

Read more
 
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.
 

Open Calls

 
BIH at Charité Newsletter

BIH Excellence Award

The award aims to promote sex and gender issues in translational research and increase visibility for these topics. It recognizes research excellence among scientists working in the field of biomedicine, who can show how accounting for sex and gender in translational research improves their research project and makes the outcomes and results more useful. The prize is awarded for a joint research project of the applicant with cooperation partners at BIH. Each project can get up to 25.000 euros. Deadline for applications is 23 July 2021.

Read more
BIH at Charité Newsletter
BIH at Charité Newsletter

SPARK-BIH Call for Proposals Still Open Until 31 May

Scientists and clinicians of all career stages at Charité including BIH are invited to 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. Translational research projects can come from any medical field. Project submission will be accepted until 31 May 2021 (14:00 CET). The SPARK-BIH project support consists of funding, mentoring and targeted training and extends over a period of 12-24 months. 

Read more
 
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