The International Research Training Group (IRTG1902) “Intra- and interorgan communication of the cardiovascular system” aims to promote international education of graduate students in a cooperation of the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf and the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA.
Mechanical forces, oxygen tension, locally released signaling molecules are major stimuli that affect the function of the cardiovascular system and substantially modulate cell-cell communication, cell migration and cell interaction with the extracellular matrix. In addition to this intrinsic signaling it has been recognized that there exists extensive crosstalk of heart and vessels with remote organs. The central research idea of the IRTG is the investigation of functional and molecular mechanisms underlying intra- and inter-organ communication as a means to understand normal and pathological cell and organ function. Using a combination of high-end technology in molecular biology, proteomic research, cell biology, transgenic animals, isolated organs, and organ culture we will analyze the role of selected signaling mechanisms as the basis for communication among cardiovascular cells with other cells in close proximity such as fibroblasts, adipocytes and invading immune cells.
We will also investigate novel mechanisms of interorgan communication between heart, kidney, and skeletal muscle which may represent the underlying mechanisms of clinical syndromes such as cardio-renal syndrome and cardiac cachexia, respectively. Thus, the whole spectrum from molecule to function will be covered by the IRTG. The central task of the educational program is to provide graduate students with a profound experience in the field of integrative cardiovascular biology at the interface of basic research and clinical science.
Therefore, the IRTG aims to advance cooperative international research and learning of doctoral students in medicine and natural sciences in the context of tightly linked, cooperative research projects and an interdisciplinary training program. Besides training in key skills, an IRTG specific program including guest seminars, practical and clinical courses as well as the obligatory exchange program for graduate students provides important elements of the educational program.
To support an optimal development of our doctoral students the supervisory concept stipulates two supervisors who will accompany the project progress in a defined time course and will provide continued support in order to develop excellent doctoral theses.