One key driver of neuroscience research in Bonn is to leverage a deep understanding of cellular brain function to better understand common neuropsychiatric disorders. Through studies in animal models, human cell systems and patients, we are aiming at understanding symptoms of these diseases, their symptoms and therapies at the elementary level. To enable this transfer, Bonn basic neurosciences are closely interlinked with clincal and translational units via Integrated Research and Treatment Centers (IRTCs) focused on specific disease entities.
IRTC Epilepsy / Center for Epileptology
This IRTC builds on the Department of Epileptology, which has an outstanding international position as a clinical and scientific center for epileptology. The Department of Epileptology is closely linked with the research-oriented Institute for Experimental Epileptology and Cognition Research (IEECR), as well as the Department of Neurosurgery, the Department of Neuroradiology (head currently being appointed), the Institute of Cellular Neurosciences, and the Labs of the Institute of Neuropathology. There is a close area with the focal research areas genetics and immunology.
IRTC Neurodegenerative Diseases
This IRTC is supported by the Department for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Geriatric Psychiatry with clinical and research focus on neurodegeneration. Other supporting partners are the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry as well as the Institute of Genetics. Particular emphasis is placed on the elucidation of inflammatory mechanisms and the clinical characterization of early and early stages of neurodegenerative diseases. The Department for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Geriatric Psychiatry has developed specialized clinical-scientific units. There is close scientific collaboration with the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), especially in the field of clinical studies, biomarkers and basic research. Here, immunological processes, proteostasis, and neuronal-glial interactions are given special consideration. Another focus is the functional phenomenology and genomics of cognition in neurodegenerative diseases. Thanks to the cooperation with the DZNE, there are unique prerequisites for translational research and treatment studies in Bonn.
This IRTC is supported by the Brain Tumor Reference Center at the Institute of Neuropathology, as well as the oncological programs in the Departments of Neuroradiology and Neurosurgery, and also structures for clinical studies with a translational support program at the Clinical Neurooncology Section. There are close links to the epileptological subject area, such as the clinical, neuro- and molecular-pathological treatment of long-term epilepsy-associated brain tumors. Neurooncology is a thematic focus at the Center for Integrated Oncology Cologne Bonn. At all levels of neurooncological research there is a close link to the profile area “Immunopathogenesis and Organ Dysfunction”, as well as to the research focus “Genetics and Epidemiology”.
IRTC Psychiatric and Cognitive Disorders
The molecular analysis of psychiatric disorders is driven by integrated research approaches, with genetics as a strong foundation. The long-standing, internationally proven expertise in the genetic analysis of psychiatric disorders has been systematically complemented in recent years by expertise on experimental (including epigenetics, transcriptomics) and endophenotypic (including imaging) levels. In addition to integrating the various data levels with the aid of bioinformatics methods, the focus is on the mathematical modeling of basal disease processes. In the future, the IRTC will integrate even more intensively with the Bonn-based groups working on mechanisms of cognition in animal models and humans.
IRTC Cerebrovascular Diseases
Clinically, the Vascular Neurology Section and the Department of Neurosurgery are devoted to the acute care and treatment of cerebrovascular patients within the newly established regional Neurovascular Network. The IRTC is involved in clinical trials adressing acute stroke diagnosis and therapy, small-vessel disease, brain hemorrhage and vascular cognitive impairment, in collaboration with the Departments of Neuroradiology and Cardiology. Scientifically, the Neurovascular Diseases Research Group at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases investigates cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in models of acute stroke and vascular cognitive impairment, and the role of astrocytes and vascular changes in Alzheimer’s disease and amyloid angiopathy.
Life & Brain GmbH
As a translational company of Bonn University Medicine, the LIFE & BRAIN GmbH acts as a ‘revolving door’ between academic research and industry. Novel approaches are typically conceived by academic staff. The development from idea to marketable product is carried out in-house with the support of staff experienced in intellectual property, licensing, business development and funding opportunities. This enables our scientists to develop their business ideas while continuing their academic career. So far, LIFE & BRAIN is active in four business areas: Cellomics, Electrophysiology Services, Genomics, and Neuroeconomics.