IRTG 2251 - "Immunological and Cellular Strategies in Metabolic Disease" (ICSMD)

transCampus IRTG 2251 logo

The International Research Training Group (IRTG) 2251 "Immunological and Cellular Strategies in Metabolic Disease" (ICSMD) at the Technische Universität Dresden and the King's College London aims at providing outstanding PhD students with a specialized but interdisciplinary programme that offers tandem supervision by two principal investigators at TU Dresden and King`s College London and the opportunity to acquire certificates from both institutions.

The goal of our research efforts is yielding in-depth insights into the pathophysiology of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and development of regenerative and interventional strategies to halt, treat and even cure these pathologies. Topics addressed range from regeneration and cell replacement in Type 1 Diabetes to the immunological antigen-presenting machinery of beta cells, specific progenitor cells including new possibilities of using human pluripotent stem cells for the regeneration and/or cell preplacement of pancreatic beta-cells as well as metabolic surgery. Moreover, the IRTG aims at a better understanding of the inter-organ cross talk and immunological processes leading to peripheral insulin resistance and T2D and will advance and develop new interventional and immunological approaches and treatment options.

Profile

transCampus IRTG 2251 profile

The Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and King's College London (KCL) are experts in identifying and modifying immunological processes relevant to the pathophysiology of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D).

Both academic institutions are leading islet transplantation centres and have been pioneering new interventional strategies for the treatment of both types of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, including bariatric surgery. This expertise is combined within the overarching aim of the proposed IRTG to implement our joint key research goals; namely, advancement of our understanding of the pathophysiology of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and development of regenerative and interventional strategies to halt and reverse these pathologies. Little is known about the timeframe and nature of the initial steps in immunological beta-cell destruction that underlie T1D. The understanding of mechanisms governing obesity-related insulin resistance, the process leading to T2D, is scarce. The IRTG will hence focus on these 2 core research topics. The first, 'Recognition, regeneration and cell replacement in T1D' will study the immunological antigen-presenting machinery of beta cells, and specific progenitor cells including new possibilities of using human pluripotent stem cells for the regeneration and/or cell preplacement of pancreatic beta-cells. The second, 'Systems biology in T2D' will provide a better understanding of the inter-organ cross talk and immunological processes leading to peripheral insulin resistance and T2D and will advance and develop new interventional and immunological approaches and treatment options.

Researchers in this consortium proposed a new training programme combining the complementary expertise of TUD and KCL in a newly established transCampus where students can achieve all necessary qualifications and scientific experience for a long-term successful research career. Working across two academic environments with joint supervision will foster research and provide various and complementary viewpoints and directions for a successful PhD thesis completion and beyond. Students in the IRTG will acquire experience in different research traditions and cultures, enhancing their qualification for high-level tasks and expanding their own scientific network.

Research & Projects

The IRTG 2251 is focused on the metabolic disease diabetes mellitus, including both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with the aim to apply the most recent laboratory and clinical techniques to achieve results of the highest quality and relevance in both basic research and clinical application. Within the last few years there was a dramatic change in the field of diabetes regarding the curriculum of medical training and basic research. To become an expert in the field of diabetology and metabolism, young clinical and basic scientists need a broad and interdisciplinary education. The main topics within such a curriculum need to be internal medicine, endocrinology, surgery, transplantation medicine, immunology, use of different kinds of stem cells, encapsulation strategies, use of technical devices for the preservation of cells, regulatory aspects of GMP-procedures and state-of-the-art communication interfaces between patient/device and clinician.

The IRTG provides innovative research projects for highly talented PhD students who will be able to work among the best European research and clinical university structures both in TUD and at the KCL. The program will enable trainees to obtain cutting-edge knowledge in the fields of surgery, transplantation medicine, immunology, use of different kinds of stem cells, encapsulation strategies and the use of technical devices to understand, treat and even cure diabetes.

Training

The goal of the IRTG 2251 is to enable PhD students to acquire the skills needed to perform independent research and to qualify them for ambitious international careers in a broad-ranging employment market. This programme will accomplish this goal by exposing these students to an interdisciplinary academic environment at two excellent institutions in Dresden and London that features internationally competitive research.

The educational goal of the PhD programme is to provide interdisciplinary, in-depth training in programme-specific areas, translational research and individualized training, which is tailored to each student’s needs and interests, combined with stringent supervision and mentoring concepts within a three years (PhD) curriculum. The qualification program for the PhD students will be embedded within the Regenerative Medicine track of the Dresden International PhD Program DIPP (www.dresden-ipp.de).

The IRTG 2251 aims to train a new generation of life and clinician scientists, who are able to bridge the gap between clinical and basic research. Contributing to the understanding of the shared biology and interdependence of metabolic diseases, they will be well prepared to become future international leaders in the field. The international employability of the graduates will be significantly enhanced by experiencing the two different educational systems of the partner institutions and by gaining research experience in two or more working groups within an international network.

People

Speakers / Technische Universität Dresden

Prof. Dr. med. Stefan R. Bornstein, PhD
Department of Medicine III,  Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus an der Technischen Universität Dresden

Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Birkenfeld
Department of Medicine III,  Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus an der Technischen Universität Dresden

 

Speakers / King’s College London

Prof. Mark Peakman, MD, PhD
Department of Immunobiology, King's College London Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

Prof. Shanta Jean Persaud, PhD
Division of Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King's College London

 

Coordinator

Felix Klee
Contact: irtg@transcampus.eu