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GRK 2338 - Toxicological target structures - deciphering therapeutic target structures in pulmonary toxicology

  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. Thomas Gudermann
  • Affiliation: Walther Straub Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Funding: 2018 to 2022

Toxic gaseous substances that are absorbed via the respiratory tract can cause considerable damage to the lungs. Due to the broad chemical reactivity of these substances, which include cigarette smoke, particulate matter, diesel particles, reactive oxygen and certain chemical weapons, the resulting lung damage was previously regarded as unspecific and can only be treated symptomatically. The Research Training Group "Toxicological Target Structures - Deciphering Therapeutic Target Structures in Pulmonary Toxicology" newly established by the DFG is now intended to open up new paths in toxicology: "We want to elucidate the specific mechanisms that lead to lung damage and thus improve therapy options in the long term," says Professor Thomas Gudermann of the Walther Straub Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology at the LMU, the spokesperson of the new research group.

It has recently become known that the so-called toxic inhalative pollutants (TIH) in the lungs are recognised by specific receptor molecules. These receptors activate certain signalling pathways and thus trigger a cellular reaction that can lead to inflammation or pulmonary fibrosis. The aim of the new Research Training Group is to gain a better understanding of these mechanisms. The aim is to decipher new therapeutic target structures for acute and chronic toxic lung damage. To achieve this innovative and methodologically challenging goal, scientists from numerous disciplines in the field of life sciences are working together on an interdisciplinary basis. In addition to LMU working groups, teams from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Helmholtz Zentrum M√ľnchen and the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the German Armed Forces are also involved.

18 doctoral positions will be financed by the new graduate college, 10 more doctoral students from other programmes will also be able to participate in the new training programme. "The programme is aimed at highly talented graduates in the life sciences and medicine," said Gudermann. It offers young scientists both specialised training in the field of pulmonary pathophysiology and broad training in toxicology. A unique advantage of the qualification programme is an international network both in the academic and industrial environment, which offers internships and further training opportunities. The long-term goal is the training of highly qualified, competent toxicologists who hold leading positions at universities, in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and in public administration and who are up to the social challenges posed by the continuous increase in new chemicals, according to the programme description.

Source: LMU