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Discovery Areas and Translational Hubs

CPI Structure

The CPI is organised into five Discovery Areas and complemented by three Translational Hubs. Our scientific goals: we are dedicated to identifying molecular mechanisms and developing new therapeutic strategies to combat cardiopulmonary disease in an interdisciplinary and translational approach.

Discovery Areas

Heterogeneity is an important feature of living tissue, determining its response to stress signals. We are exploring the mechanisms by which tissue homeostasis is maintained or disturbed in cardiovascular and lung disease and we study mechanisms of repair and regeneration with respect to the contribution of different cell populations.

Malfunction of cellular surveillance mechanisms may contribute to chronic cardiopulmonary disease states. In this area, we study adaptive versus maladaptive surveillance pathways, in particular in relation to RNA modifications, protein and organelle homeostasis, and cellular metabolism.

Temporal and spatial signaling sequences guide the establishment and maintenance of (heart and lung) tissue structures during development, homeostasis, and disease. Details of these pathways are still poorly understood but may be used to promote regeneration after injury. This includes stem/progenitor cells and their niches as well as genetic/epigenetic and metabolic processes with particular emphasis on innate immune cells, neo-angiogenesis and vascular remodeling.

Tissue-derived signaling regulates the phenotypes of stromal and parenchymal cells in the cardiopulmonary system. In this area, core principles of this microenvironmental regulation will be deciphered, e.g. how small molecule metabolites, lipid mediators or mechanical stimuli affect cell behavior and function.

The cardiopulmonary system needs to constantly react to physical demands and environmental conditions. This needs coordination of heart and lung interaction as well as with other organs. We aim to address the impact of oxygen levels (hypoxia, hyperoxia) and airborne toxins (cigarette smoke) and other communication between the cardiopulmonary system and other organs (skeletal muscle, neuronal/cerebral tissues, bone marrow).

Translational Hubs

Models are essential for the mechanistic understanding of disease processes and for translational research. Animal models reflecting human disease conditions, isolated organs and organoid systems, cell cultures and co-cultures will be used to model disease processes and to explore the efficacy of potential new therapeutic interventions.

The increasing amount and complexity of data gained by increasingly in-depth phenotyping offers unique insights, but also requires an integrated systems biology approach over all three sites of CPI. This centralized infrastructure contains the CPI Mart, enabling scientists to store and analyze their data as well as share, and the CPI Clinical Repository aiming to link clinical (patient) data to biomaterials in an anonymous and safe way.

Development of individually tailored treatment concepts are the goal of this hub. This includes precision phenotyping of patients and remote monitoring to allow optimization of treatment.

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