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Vascular Biology Collaborative Research Center enters second funding period

Prof. Dr. Gergana Dobreva is vice spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center. She heads the Department of Cardiovascular Genomics and Epigenomics at the Mannheim Medical Faculty. | © University Medical Centre Mannheim

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The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a collaborative research center with around 14.3 million euros to investigate mechanisms by which blood vessels control the function of organs. The deputy spokesperson is Professor Dr. Gergana Dobreva from the University Medical Center Mannheim. She is Principal Investigator at the DZHK.

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The Collaborative Research Center "Vascular Control of Organ Function" (SFB 1366) at the Mannheim Medical School of Heidelberg University will continue its work for another four years. The SFB 1366 was established in 2018 to decipher the complex blood vessel functions at the cellular and molecular levels. 

All body organs are lined with a dense network of blood vessels. They form one of the most extensive surfaces of the body and serve as a critical interface between blood circulation and the various organ environments. Recently, there has been increasing recognition that blood vessels actively control organ function. "Malfunctions of blood vessels are directly or indirectly involved in more than two-thirds of all deaths," explains SFB spokesperson Professor Dr. Hellmut Augustin.

In the second funding period, the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) will also address emerging topics. These include a better understanding of endothelial cells' molecular repertoire and functional diversity in physiological and pathological situations at the systems biology level. Vascular aging will also be further explored in the SFB - a promising, rapidly developing area.

"Considering that vascular dysfunction is involved in numerous chronic and life-threatening diseases, better molecular understanding of organ-specific vessels will provide the scientific basis for developing new vascular-targeted treatments to cure previously incurable diseases," Hellmut Augustin is convinced. "We also hope to identify determinants of the vessel wall as biomarkers that can be used for applications in preventive medicine," adds Gergana Dobreva.


Source: University Medical Centre Mannheim