TU Dresden: Cluster of Excellence "From Cells to Tissues to Therapies"
The Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) was founded in 2006 and has since then been receiving annual support amounting to € 6 million by a joint promotion scheme of the federal government, the DFG and the German Science Council.
From the very start, the aim was to establish a renowned research institution with excellent international scientists. The network of the interdisciplinary research centre currently comprises more than 90 groups, together with corresponding commercial partners, and concentrates above all on the fields of regeneration, stem cells and tissue engineering. One special aspect of the work done at the CRTD is the fact that it is the first research centre in Germany to place adult stem cells in the focus of attention.
The principal goal of the CRTD is to pursue basic research aimed at developing improved treatment methods for haemato-oncological, diabetic, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, among others. Model organisms permit investigation of the mechanisms which control the functions of stem cells. Innovative regenerative therapies are tested at the CRTD and translated into marketable products with commercial partners. In this way, the CRTD is intended to become one of the leading research centres for regenerative therapies in Europe.
Technology development is a key concern of the new cluster of excellence. "Scientific progress is often closely coupled to technological advances," says Professor Michael Brand, director of the CRTD. "We will be using the additional funding to establish innovative structures for the promotion of young scientists and to stimulate interactions between the participating working groups through project-specific support, as a catalyst to accelerate the translation of basic research results into clinical practice," is how he explains the target of the cluster. Further aims are to offer novel career options for junior researchers, as well as special support for female scientists.
This outstanding success is also important for Dresden from other viewpoints: The cluster of excellence will further boost efforts to establish a globally prime location for regenerative therapies and molecular bioengineering. And the Dresden university as a whole is presented new opportunities on its road to becoming one of Germany's "elite universities". After all, the granting of a cluster of excellence is one prerequisite for success in the third line of funding.
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