University Medical Center Mainz coordinates new, international Innovative Training Network

“TICARDIO” focuses on biomedical processes in cardiovascular diseases

(…) The Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH) of the University Medical Center Mainz coordinates the new Innovative Training Network (ITN) “TICARDIO – Thrombo-Inflammation in Cardiovascular Disease”. TICARDIO is dedicated to study pathological processes in cardiovascular diseases. The ITN provides 15 doctorate students with the opportunity acquire scientific and general skills within a cross-border network. The structured international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral research and training program will start in 2019 and takes place at research locations in Mainz, Maastricht, Marseille and Dortmund. The European Commission provides 4 million euros over a period of 48 months for this ITN, which is part of the Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA) of the Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation.

The demographic change with aging populations places a heavy burden on health care systems worldwide. Despite all medical advances, age remains the major risk for cardiovascular disease, one of the top two killers. The aging vasculature provides an environment in which the finely tuned interplay between diverse cell types becomes disarrayed and thus fosters both, inflammation and thrombosis – the formation of blood clots. “Research in the last decade has shown that the two pathological processes inflammation and thrombosis are related at the cellular and molecular level. Therefore, these processes, summarized under the term thrombo-inflammation, should be investigated together, rather than independently”, explains Prof. Dr. Wolfram Ruf, coordinator of the project and Scientific Director of the CTH. An international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral consortium of researchers is taking on this task at the four participating locations. From early 2019, leading experimental researchers and clinicians will train 15 scientific doctoral students over four years within a European Joint Doctorate (EJD) – a variant of the ITN – in this important field of research.

“A research and education program such as the ITN TICARDIO prepares young researchers in a very special way for their future careers: It has cross-border and cross-sectoral interdisciplinarity as a teaching principle and provides both scientific and general skills. The high value of this ITN for science is illustrated in particular by the approximately four million euros in funding that it receives from Horizon 2020”, emphasizes the Scientific Board of the University Medical Center Mainz Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Förstermann. “The fact that TICARDIO is one of only nine approved EJD projects in the 2018 Call shows the importance of Mainz as a research location.”

The aim of the research will be to discover the highly complex interactions between blood vessel wall and blood during thrombo-inflammation in cardiovascular diseases. In the long term, it is important to develop specific diagnostic markers and new therapeutic targets, i.e. target biomolecules for the active ingredients.

In particular, scientists are following up on new findings in thrombo-inflammation research: Inflammation has been shown to directly influence thrombotic events through a variety of mechanisms. These include, among others, the activation of platelets, dysfunction of the blood vessel wall and the activation of white blood cells (leukocytes). Conversely, leukocytes, platelets and the coagulation system also have a function beyond hemostasis since they also contribute directly to chronic inflammatory processes.

The recruitment and training of the doctoral students will take place at the academic partners of the project, the CTH in Mainz, the School for Cardiovascular Diseases in Maastricht (CARIM) and the Aix-Marseille Université (AMU), as well as the non-university partner Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Sciences – ISAS – e.V. in Dortmund. The PhD students gain interdisciplinary experience at the participating non-academic institutions: the Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim, the French biotech company BioCytex, the transdisciplinary research institute TRON (Translational Oncology at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz gGmbH), the Dutch high-tech product development company 2M Engineering, and the Dutch science and business consultancy ttopstart.

ITNs are European networks for the structured training of young scientists within the framework of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020. These networks were set up by the European Commission to promote transnational and cross-sectoral mobility and career development of early stage researchers and to increase the attractiveness of Europe as a hub of science and innovation. The aim of the EJD variant is to award a joint or double / multiple doctoral degree and promote multidisciplinary and intersectoral cooperation in the training of doctoral students.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Wolfram Ruf
Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH) of the University Medical Center Mainz
Phone: +49 6131 17-8222; Email: ruf@uni-mainz.de

Prof. Dr. Hugo ten Cate

School for Cardiovascular Diseases in Maastricht (CARIM)

Phone: +31 433884262; Email: h.tencate@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Prof. Dr. Françoise Dignat-George

Vascular Research Center of Marseille, Université d’Aix-Marseille

Phone: +33 491835555; Email: francoise.dignat-george@univ-amu.fr

Prof. Dr. Albert Sickmann

Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften- ISAS- e.V.

Phone: 0231 1392100; Email: sickmann@isas.de

Doctoral positions

More information on the 15 doctoral positions…