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Sixfold Success for Thyroid Research in Lübeck

German Research Council provides funding for projects in Lübeck with a total volume of 2.5 million euro for the next 3 years

Six projects in the field of thyroid research at the University of Lübeck and the Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein Campus Lübeck have been positively evaluated by the German Research Council DFG. They will be funded with a total volume of 2.5 million euro, of which 1.37 million euro will go directly to Lübeck, a Hanseatic city in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

Better Treatments for Thyroid Patients

The projects are part of the second funding round of the 8.7 million euro priority programme “Translation of Thyroid Hormone Actions beyond Classical Concepts (THYROID TRANS ACT)” of the German Research Council (SPP1629), which aims to study the actions of the classical thyroid hormones T3 and T4, but also novel thyroid hormone derivatives such as T2 and thyronamines. The thyroid gland is responsible for several disorders, which can be caused by too little or too much thyroid hormone (hypo- or hyperthyroidism respectively). The DFG priority programme, which started with the first funding round in 2012, strengthens the interdisciplinary thyroid research in Germany very effectively in a broad approach from findings in mouse models to better treatment strategies for patients.

The successfully funded projects in Lübeck will be conducted in the Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM) of the Unversity of Lübeck. Project leaders are Prof. Dr. Jens Mittag, Prof. Dr. Georg Brabant (both Internal Medicine I), Prof. Dr. Thomas Münte (Director of Neurology and CBBM spokesperson), as well as Dr. Helge Müller-Fielitz (Institute for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology). External collaborateurs are Prof. Dr. Dagmar Führer-Sakel (Essen, spokesperson of the SPP1629), Prof. Dr. Alexander Sartorius (Mannheim), Prof. Dr. Uwe Völker and Dr. Nele Friedrich (Greifswald) as well as Dr. Heike Heuer (Düsseldorf).

Great Recognition of Lübeck’s Interdisciplinary Research Concept

“These granted projects constitute an important recognition of the performance of the thyroid research conducted here in Lübeck through the German Research Council DFG, and encourage us to continue our interdisciplinary research concept established at the Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism CBBM” says Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Hendrik Lehnert, President of the University, with regard to the funding notice.

Close Collaboration of Basic researchers and Clinicians

Within the granted projects in Lübeck, basic researchers and clinicians work closely together to unravel the mechanisms of thyroid hormone action and translate the findings to help affected patients. The single projects deal with the role of the hypothalamic tanycytes in the control of thyroid function (Müller-Fielitz), the effects of thyroid homrone on brain structures and function (Brabant, Münte, Sartorius), the identification of novel thyroid hormone targets using high-throughput technologies (Brabant, Führer-Sakel, Friedrich, Völker), the molecular basis for successful thyroid hormone replacement therapy (Mittag, Brabant), the role of the cellular thyroid hormone transporters MCT8 and Oatp1c1 in the skeletal muscle, cardiovascular and metabolc systems (Mittag, Heuer) and novel concepts in the regulation of body temperature by thyroid hormone (Mittag).

Priority programmes of the DFG aim to foster national collaborations. Within the defined framework of the programme, research is not restricted with regard to topic, strategy or methodology. Priority programmes are established if the coordinated research promises great knowledge gain within a specific scientific area.

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