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.