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BIH at Charité Newsletter
No 9/2021 | November Issue

Dear Readers,

Every year on 9 November, the day the Berlin Wall fell, the Falling Walls Conference presents the “Science Breakthroughs of the Year.” Of course this time around that included the vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the fastest development of a vaccine in the history of medicine. But as with breakthroughs in other fields – from innovations in energy storage to the gene therapy treatment of blindness – BioNTech’s vaccine is based on decades of groundwork in basic research. “Breaking down walls requires many years of preliminary work,” Özlem Türeci said during her presentation. For it is the many small steps, sometimes in the wrong direction, that together make it possible to realize the goal of medical translation.

The Berlin Science Week, where Berlin’s scientific community engages in dialogue with the public, has established itself alongside the Falling Walls Conference. Its aim is to arouse interest and enthusiasm, but also to provide insights into why science sometimes takes a little longer and why there may be detours and unexpected results before a “breakthrough” is achieved. The BIH has also presented its work in various events, which we tell you about in this newsletter – you can even watch recordings of some of the events!

We hope you enjoy this newsletter.   
Your BIH Board of Directors,
Christopher Baum and Michael Frieser


News From the BIH


Pancreatic Tumor Organoids Pave the Way for Single-Cell Diagnostics

The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is usually grim: The tumors are often detected too late and are then difficult to treat. Yet a small percentage of patients survive many years after diagnosis. Scientists from the BIH around Professor Christian Conrad, Head of the Intelligent Imaging Group, have now grown organoids from various pancreatic tumors in the laboratory, which they used to identify individual cell types and test the effects of various drugs. This enables patient-specific diagnostics and opens up the possibility of targeted therapy. The researchers have now published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Read the press release
Read the publication


Portrait Prof. Birgit Sawitzki

The Conductors of the Immune System: Birgit Sawitzki Studies T Cells

Professor Birgit Sawitzki has accepted a lifetime W3 Professorship in Translational Immunology at the BIH. The trained biochemist investigates how immune cells interact in severe inflammatory responses. These occur in severe courses of COVID-19, in autoimmune diseases, and in organ transplantation rejection, thus posing major challenges for medicine today. Until now, she has served as a professor and lab head at the Institute of Medical Immunology of Charité and has done research at the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT). She took up her new position in October.

Read the press release

News From the BIH Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA)

Portrait of Dr. med. Martin A. Mensah

Digital Clinician Scientist Receives Award for Innovative Teaching at Charité

Dr. med. Martin A. Mensah, Fellow of the BIH Charité Digital Clinician Scientist Program, physician and teaching coordinator at the Institute of Medical and Human Genetics at Charité, was one of three recipients of this year's Innovative Teaching Award at Charité. Dr. Mensah was honored for the digital implementation of the practical courses offered by him and his team during the Corona pandemic. The prize is supported by the Verein der Freunde und Förderer der Charité e.V. and is awarded annually. The prize money amounts 500 euros. Congratulations from our side!

Read more (only in German, only for BIH/Charité Interns)

News From the BIH QUEST Center

Portrait of Dr. Anita Bandrowski

BIH QUEST Center Welcomes New BIH Visiting Professor

The BIH QUEST Center is delighted to host Dr. Anita Bandrowski, from the University of California San Diego, as a BIH Visiting Professor. Beginning in January, Dr. Bandrowski will collaborate with BIH QUEST (AG Weissgerber) on improving reporting by using automated tools to screen preprints and publications for problems that affect rigor and reproducibility. Dr. Bandrowski serves as the lead for the Research Resource Identification (RRID) Initiative and contributes to several large informatics projects, including the Brain Cell Census Network, Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC), the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), The Antibody Registry and is the co-founder and CEO of SciCrunch Inc.

Read more (only in German)
BIH at Charité Newsletter

Needs Assessment Survey on Research Data Management

In November, the BIH QUEST Center conducts a needs assessment survey on research data management in a project funded by the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) . The survey is aimed at researchers and is conducted similarly at all BUA institutions. BIH QUEST asks you to particiate when you receive the invitation. Thank you!


News From Charité BIH Innovation (CBI)

Screenshot of Online Onboarding Event of the new SPARKees

SPARK-BIH Welcomes Ten New Projects to the Program

After a two-day pitch event in August, an expert jury selected ten outstanding translational projects for SPARK-BIH funding. The SPARK-BIH team welcomed the new SPARKees during an onboarding event and is excited to support the translation of their medical innovation from bench to bedside.

Read more

Event Review

Poster Future Medicine Round Table

BIH and Tagesspiegel Host Future Medicine Round Table

The Covid-outbreak in the end of 2019 took the world by surprise. After almost two years into the pandemic, science has made great progress and politicians have made valuable experiences concerning the management of the global crisis. But despite these many findings, the all-clear is not sounded. At this year's Future Medicine Event, which BIH organized together with the Tagesspiegel for the sixth time, representatives from science, hospitals, politics and industry discussed on 4 November 2021 as part of this year's Berlin Science Week whether we are already sufficiently prepared for the next pandemic.

Read more
To the Recording of the Future Medicine Round Table
Panel of Springer Nature Discussion

Discussion on Cardiovascular Health in the Time of COVID-19

As part of Berlin Science Week, the event "Cardiovascular Health in the Time of COVID-19" organized by Springer Nature in collaboration with MDC and BIH brought together Berlin-based experts in basic, translational and clinical science focused on cardiovascular disease and immunology. The panel around Leif Erik Sander from Charité, Michael Potente and Birgit Sawitzki from the BIH as well as Holger Gerhardt and Vesna Todorovic of the MDC discussed, among other things, how we can all minimize the risks of cardiovascular disease with vaccination against Corona. The event was moderated by Dr. Vesna Todorovic, Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Nature Cardiovascular Research.

Read more
To the recording of the discussion
BIH and GSCN at Naturkundemuseum

BIH and GSCN at Berlin Science Week Campus 

What are stem cells? How many different cell types are there? And which immune cells can be used to help transplant recipients? On the first weekend in November, many visitors of the Berlin Science Week Campus at the Museum für Naturkunde answered these and other tricky questions about cell research at the big cell quiz at the common stand of the BIH and the German Stem Cell Network (GSCN). On both days of the event, Friday and Saturday, staff from the communication departments of BIH and GSCN as well as scientists were present to inform about their research and answer questions.

To the after report and photo gallery
Portrait of Claudia Langenberg und Georg Duda

BIH Hosts Panel Discussions at the World Health Summit

At this year’s World Health Summit (WHS), on 25 October 2021, scientists from the BIH were hosting two panel discussions featuring leading international experts. Both panels addressed respectively what the impending wave of Long COVID will mean for public health and how to use genomic research discoveries to improve the health of all people.

The discussion “Long COVID: The Aftershock of the Pandemic” by Prof. Georg Duda, BIH Chair for Engineering Regenerative Therapies, and his international speakers can be listened to here.

Claudia Langenberg, BIH Professor für Computational Medicine had brought together international stars of genomics research for her panel discussion. The recording of her discussion, “Genomic Data For Global Human Health“ can be heard here.

More about this year's WHS
  Mayor Michael Müller welcomes the exhibition with some of the portrayed female scientists: Prof. Claudia Langenberg, Prof. Marlis Dürkop-Leptihn, Prof. Gudrun Erzgräber, and Prof. Gesche Joost (from left).

Exhibition "Berlin – Capital of Female Scientists"

On 19 October 2021, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, officially opened the exhibition "Berlin – Capital of female scientists" in Rotes Rathaus. On 20 panels, the biographies of female scientists who work or have worked in Berlin are told in an exemplary manner. The exhibition will be on display in the Rotes Rathaus from 20 October to 20 December 2021 and is open every weekday from 10:00 to 18:00 with free admission. Afterwards, it will be on display as a travelling exhibition at various locations in Berlin and as an online version on the BIH website.

Read more
BIH at Charité Newsletter

SPARK-BIH Organized Design Thinking Workshop for NeuroCure

 SPARK-BIH organized a Design Thinking workshop for the Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure of the Charité. The workshop was tailored to the needs of early career researchers, who are interested to explore problem-solving tools beyond science and translate their idea for the benefit of the patient.

Read more
BIH at Charité Newsletter
Group picture of international journalists together with Christopher Baum

International Journalists at the BIH

As part of Berlin Science Week and the Falling Walls Conference, eight international journalists from the USA, Canada, Brazil, Kenya, Argentina, India and Nigeria visited BIH. They were interested in BIH's translational medical research, the involvement of journalists and patients in the design of clinical studies, and asked about BIH's international contacts and the promotion of women.

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

Logos of GSCN and BIH

Upcoming Deadline for GSCN/BIH Travel Award

If you want to apply for the GSCN/BIH Travel Award for the visit to a stem cell conference, workshop, or event in Europe or abroad in the period from 1 January to 31 March 2022, the deadline for the application is 30 November 2021. To apply, please send the submitted abstract to the event and a short letter of motivation (max. 1 page) to the Office of the German Stem Cell Network (GSCN). The letter should contain the importance of the event for the applicant, how the applicant profits from the event and why financial support is important. Good luck!

Read more about the GSCN
BIH at Charité Newsletter
Graphic of Virchow 2.0

Call for Cell-Based Medicine Project Ideas for Virchow 2.0

Teams involving a minimum of 2 partners from academia and industry can apply with their collaborative R&D project ideas for the Clusters4Future Virchow 2.0. Project ideas aiming at further developing, integrating and applying single-cell technologies, artificial intelligence as well as patient derived disease models for research and/or clinical applications are welcome. Virchow 2.0 is a growing research and innovation network in the German capital region aiming to build a completely novel biomedical AI innovation ecosystem for the implementation of cell-based interceptive medicine in Berlin-Brandenburg as part of the BMBF Clusters4Future initiative.

Detailed information of the call and application documents
BIH at Charité Newsletter
SAVE-THE-DATE: Start of the new competition round Cluster of Excellence

SAVE-THE-DATE: Start of the New Competition Round Cluster of Excellence (only for internal members of BIH and Charité)

The Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments will start a new round of applications for the Clusters of Excellence. In order to ensure that Charité again emerges successfully in this highly prestigious program, Charité would like to foster a discussion as to which internationally competitive research fields – ideally together with the partners of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) – might be successfully brought together in a Cluster of Excellence application. For this purpose, we are organizing an all-day "marketplace" on 9 December 2021, with the intention of providing ample opportunities to present, discuss, exchange and explore ideas and debate them. Your active participation is needed to initiate the formation of the most significant Clusters of Excellence. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organization team.

To the registration
Information on the 2026 retender (only in German)

New Faces at the BIH

Team Personnel

Majana Akadiri

Since October 2021 Majana Akadiri supports the Human Resources Team as personnel administrator for third-party funded personnel.Previously, she worked in the human resources department of Universität der Künste (UdK) Berlin and was responsible for the processing of individual personnel matters ofemployees (including academic mid-level staff), civil servants, visiting professors/-lecturers, as well as for payroll accounting. 

Portrait of Majana Akadiri

The BIH in the Press

BIH at Charité Newsletter

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