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Collaborative Projects as Partner


New plant-derived active substances for the treatment of elderly people suffering from chronic blood diseases

The risk to suffer from acute and chronic diseases of the blood system is significantly increased in elderly people. Due to its symptoms – e.g. weakness, breathlessness and cognitive dysfunctions – anemia causes severe restrictions of the mental and physical general condition on the one hand. On the other, age-related „ excess of blood“ (polyglobulia) enhances the risk of severe chronic myeloproliferative disorders (CMPD) and symptoms like thromboses, myocardial infarction or stroke. Therefore, anemia and CMPD in elderly people are main reasons for high morbidity resulting in more frequent hospital stays or entering a nursing facility, and finally increased mortality. Those disorders of the blood system are thus dramatically limiting the autonomy of elderly people, whereby the demographic change will intensify this problem steadily.

It is the main goal of the PhytoHäm project to improve the chances of elderly people suffering from a chronic blood disorder to continue their autonomous life. For that purpose, we are seeking for specifically active and well-tolerated plant-based substances that could be used as novel dietary supplements (nutraceuticals) or – in case of very strong biological activity – could be further developed as pharmaceutical drug. Many plant ingredients provide anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects as well as many other properties with high value for human nutrition and medical care. The PhytoHäm project was created to combine the complementary expertises and resources of both cooperation partners, in order to investigate the effects and application potentials of selected plant ingredients and plant extracts, respectively, with respect to the therapy of elderly people suffering from chronic blood disorders.

Funding: European Regional Development Fund, ERDF
Part of the Research Association Autonomie im Alter - Modellregion Sachsen-Anhalt
Funding Period: 07/2019 - 12/2021
Coordinator: Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
Coordinator contact: Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Fischer, University Hospital Magdeburg
Partner: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, IPB, Department of Bioorganic Chemistry
Contact at IPB: Prof. Dr. Ludger Wessjohann and Dr. Robert Rennert

Research Training Group (RTG) 2498

Communication and Dynamics of Plant Cell Compartments

The scientific focus of the new Research Training Group (RTG) 2498 centers on the dynamic interplay of plant cell compartments, such as plastids and nuclei, which are key factors defining the properties of plant cells. The unifying research hypothesis is that the control of key physiological processes during plant development or environmental adaptation involves the coordinated action of organelles. The RTG focuses on processes that functionally link plastids, nuclei and selected other important cell compartments to address the fundamental question of how plant organelles communicate and dynamically associate depending on changing cellular requirements. By focusing on processes that functionally link two or more organelles, we take a necessary step towards understanding the mutual dependency of subcellular compartments with key roles in plant cell physiology.

The research topic of interacting organelles is ideal to promote cooperative research between the groups, as the interdependencies between the organelles are unraveled. The qualification program for the PhD-students of this RTG maximizes their exposure to different experimental approaches, which are pursued by the cooperating research groups. The broad range of alternative experimental approaches is complemented by additional Science Training Courses and Complementary Activities, which will help the PhD-students to develop their scientific profiles and shape their professional personalities. Efficient and successful research will be enabled through support and supervision of the PhD-students by Thesis Committees and their involvement in regular progress and literature seminars, both as participants and co-organizers.

Funding: DFG (Project No. 400681449)
Funding period: since 2019
Coordinator: Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Contact: Prof. Ingo Heilmann (Coordinator: Dr. Julia Grimmer)
Partner: Leibniz-Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB)
Contact at the IPB: Prof. Dr. Bettina Hause, Prof. Dr. Steffen Abel, Dr. Debora Gasperini, Dr. Wolfgang Hoehenwarter
Website: https://rtg2498.uni-halle.de/

Research Training Group (RTG) 2467

Intrinsically Disordered Proteins – Molecular Principles, Cellular Functions, and Diseases

Approximately 40% of amino acid sequences in higher eukaryotes are predicted to be intrinsically disordered (intrinsically disordered proteins, IDPs and intrinsically disordered regions, IDRs) lacking defined structural elements. Many of these flexible proteins, and protein regions, have remained understudied so far. This is despite their importance in regulating fundamental biological processes and in the generation of dynamic architectural superstructures, including, e.g., membrane-less organelles.

Building on the productive history of molecular protein research in Halle/Saale, the planned RTG, IDPs/IDRs will be investigated by an interdisciplinary group of research scientists composed of biochemists, biophysicists, and cell biologists. The complementary scientific expertise will enable studies ranging from the in vitro characterization of IDPs/IDRs to their investigation within cells. A major focus will be the study of IDP/IDR interactions with proteins as well as RNA. All of the planned RTG projects will address key questions on the molecular processes that govern how a single IDP/IDR might adopt multiple conformations upon protein- or RNA-binding. The RTG will go beyond a mere elucidation of physical and functional interactions of individual protein-protein and RNA-protein complexes and deduce novel mechanistic insights that will increase our understanding of intrinsically disordered structures in cellular systems and within organisms.

The RTG will provide a broad spectrum of internationally competitive research training, a wide repertoire of current methods, and career coaching. In addition to benefitting from a series of high-quality lectures and workshops by leading IDP researchers, students will also be trained in how to interact productively within multidisciplinary teams and to communicate their research to different audiences.

Funding: DFG (Project No. 391498659)
Funding period: since 2019
Coordinator: Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Contact: Prof. Dr. Andrea Sinz (Coordinator: Claudia Spielmann)
Partner: Leibniz-Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB)
Contact at the IPB: Dr. Luz Irina A. Calderón Villalobos
Website: https://rtg2467.uni-halle.de/


Breeding Tobacco for Health

The NEWCOTIANA project is a research and innovation initiative that combines several new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) to produce medical and cosmetic products in tobacco plants. Taking advantage of cutting-edge molecular breeding methodologies, researchers will develop new varieties of tobacco and its wild relative Nicotiana benthamiana to produce added-value compounds such as antibodies, vaccines and drugs in a sustainable manner. By applying new NPBTs such as the CRISPR technique to the breeding of tobacco and other related species, the traditional cultivation of tobacco will be revalued, thus providing it with new uses compatible with health. NEWCOTIANA is an excellent testing ground for NPBTs and their applications for sustainable agriculture in the EU. The project will produce reliable data on the utility, robustness, efficiency and safety aspects of a group of four selected NPBTs when applied to the breeding of both conventional and unconventional crop traits. As a result, NEWCOTIANA aims to provide industry, policy-makers and consumers with the experimental evidence and the social communication channels that will facilitate the decision making process for the adoption of NPBTs.

Funding: Horizon 2020 by the European Union (Project ID 760331)
Funding period: 01/2018 - 06/2022
Coordinator: Joint Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants (IBMP-CSIC) Valencia, Spain
Contact: Diego Orzaez
Partners: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) and others
(Consortium including 19 partners)
Contact at the IPB: Dr. Sylvestre Marillonnet
Website: newcotiana.org

CHIC project

Chicory as a multipurpose crop for dietary fibre and medicinal terpenes

The CHIC project aims to develop chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) varieties that can be used to produce dietary fibre with enhanced prebiotic effects to promote gut health. At the same time, given its biosynthetic capacity, high yields and low agronomic requirements, chicory has significant potential as production host in molecular farming. CHIC aims to harness this potential to cultivate chicory for the extraction of other types of health-related compounds (terpenes) as potential lead molecules for drug development. To achieve this, new chicory varieties must be developed. However, conventional chicory breeding is currently exceptionally time-consuming and thus, chicory is a highly relevant case where new plant breeding technologies can make a real difference. Furthermore, CHIC explores the interactions between technological potential and societal acceptance of modern plant breeding. The consortium will evaluate the technological performance of these new plant breeding technologies, as well as the safety, environmental, regulatory, socio-economic and broader societal issues associated with them.

Funding: Horizon 2020 by the European Union (Project ID 760891)
Funding period: 01/2018 - 06/2022
Coordinator: Wageningen University & Research, Niederlande
Contact: CHIC Project Coordinator Dirk Bosch
Partners: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) and others
(Consortium including 17 partners from 11 European nations)
Contact at the IPB: Prof. Alain Tissier
Website: www.chicproject.eu


Partnership for sustainable solutions Sub-Saharan Africa & Germany

This interdisciplinary project aims to identify ecologically endangered and therapeutically valuable plants from Sub-Saharan countries and to ensure their sustainable use. Tri-Sustain implements a three‐pronged integrated approach towards the goals of bioeconomic value‐chains, ecological and therapeutic sustainability. The accompanying Graduate School further ensures personnel and partnership sustainability.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research, German Academic Exchange Service
Coordinator: Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Project leader: Prof. Peter Imming (Institute of Pharmacy)
Partners: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) and Universities from Tanzania, Botswana and Ethiopia
Contact at the IPB: Dr. Norbert Arnold
Website: trisustain.uni-halle.de


German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure

The 'German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure – de.NBI' is a national infrastructure supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research providing comprehensive, high-quality bioinformatics services to users in life sciences research and biomedicine. The partners organize training events, courses and summer schools on tools, standards and compute services provided by de.NBI to assist researchers to more effectively analyse their data. The IPB is a de.NBI partner and member of the Center for Integrative Bioinformatics (CIBI). It maintains and integrates metabolite annotation software into the de.NBI infrastructures and provides service around standards-compliant data management and reuse of data from metabolomics experiments.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Project ID 031L0107)
Period: 11/2016 - 12/2021
Coordinator CIBI: Prof. Dr. Oliver Kohlbacher, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen
Partners CIBI:
Freie Universität Berlin (FUB),
Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen (EKUT),
Universität Konstanz (UKON),
Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry Halle (IPB),
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden (CBG)
Contact at the IPB: Dr. Steffen Neumann
Website: www.denbi.de

DFG Research Training Group 1591

Posttranscriptional control of gene expression: mechanisms and role in pathogenesis

The RTG 1591 includes twelve different groups from the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry organized in three sections (molecular mechanisms, human diseases and plant physiology and immunity). The aim is to explore how the post-transcriptional control of gene expression determines cell fate and diseases on the basis of animal and plant model organisms. The IPB participates in the RTG 1591 with the project "The role of natural antisense long non-coding RNAs in plants", led by Dr. Selma Gago Zachert from the Molecular Signal Processing Department.

Funding: DFG (Project No. 105533105)
Funding period: since 2010
Coordinator: Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Contact: Prof. Stefan Hüttelmaier
Partner: Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie (IPB)
Contact at the IPB: Dr. Selma Gago Zachert
Website: www.medizin.uni-halle.de/grk1591


Indonesian Plant Biodiversity and Human Health

The aim of this project is to initiate the scientific and technological cooperation between Indonesian and German partners and to jointly contribute to the identification of naturally occurring substances in Indonesian plants and fungi with antiinfective effects, potentially suitable for the development of new active pharmaceutical compounds.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (ID 16GW0123)
Funding period: 05/2015 - 10/2019
Coordinator: Leipzig University
Contact: Prof. Müllner-Riehl
Partners: Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB),
Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Research Center of Biology (LIPI), Indonesia,
Bogor Agricultural University, Pharmaceutical Biology, Indonesia
Contact at the IPB: Prof. Ludger Wessjohann
Website: Biohealth Project Website

This page was last modified on 19.05.2020.

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