Mina Yakoub awarded “Start Up” funding grant from IRTG 1902

Mina Yakoub has two good reasons to celebrate.  He submitted his PhD Thesis in April and has been awarded an IRTG 1902 Postdoc Start Up Funding grant, which he started at the beginning of May.  His PhD research investigating the effect of different diet components on the cardiovascular health was supervised by Dr. Johannes Stegbauer, Department of Experimental Nephrology, University Hospital of Düsseldorf. Short chain fatty acids, table salt (sodium intake) and dietary potassium were among the dietary components investigated in relation to their beneficial or detrimental effect on the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, new potential immune cell candidates, which take part in the salt mediated pathogenesis of aortic abdominal aneurysm, were identified.

The exchange phase of his IRTG 1902 doctoral research was spent in the Laboratory of Prof. Dr. Gorav Ailawadi, Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Institute, University of Virginia, USA. This exchange enabled Mina to determine differences in the extent of the development of aortic aneurysms between different mouse strains.

In the next year Mina aims to confirm the pro-inflammatory effect of salt pretreatment on immune cell phenotype and vascular...


Congrats to Dr. Vici Oenarto!

Vici Oenarto has sucessfully defended her thesis entitled "Interorgan Crosstalk between the heart and adipose tissue during heart failure establishment" on February, 4th 2020! Vici has been a member of the Goedecke Lab since January 2016. We congratulate her on completion of her doctoral studies. We wish her the very best for the future as Dr. Oenarto!


Who is new (12/2019)

A new IRTG 1902 cohort of doctoral researchers has begun. Christoph Wittich started in October in the Ahmadian lab (P6). Olesia Omelchenko started in November in the Gödecke lab (P8). We also have three new medical doctoral researchers: Julia Rosen (P2), Nils Rollersbroich (P8) and Alexandra Zimmerhofer (P8). Welcome!



Claire is a Pharmacology degree candidate in the lab of Brant Isakson at the University of Virginia. She is studying the spatial distributions of microdomains within small resistance arteries and is currently in Düsseldorf for a 3 months (October - December 2019) exchange in Axel Gödecke’s lab.

During her stay she has also enjoyed getting to know German culture and travelling around Europe. She says she will miss the beautiful parks, shopping, and Christmas markets when she is back in the US.


EXCHANGE EXPERIENCES: Mina Yakoub & Christoph Owenier

Mina Yakoub, May - December 2019

My stay in Charlottesville was a stunning adventure. I got to know new people, work in a new lab and experience a new culture. I learned a new model at Dr. Ailawadi’s lab which I will transfer to my lab in Düsseldorf. I believe the exchange phase was quite beneficial for my future career. Travelling to the states has broadened my horizon.

Christoph Owenier, September - December 2019

My stay in Charlottesville is coming to an end and I have to say that the opportunity to work in such an inspiring environment was an amazing experience. The Isakson lab has welcomed me with open arms and offered me access to different techniques and instruments to make my research stay here in Charlottesville a success! Working as a graduate student in a foreign country is a challenging task but at the same time is an ideal opportunity for professional and personal development. My time at the UVA helped me to become a better scientist and I am very thankful for being a part of the IRTG 1902.


Research visits to the partner institution

The IRTG 1902 exchange phase has never been so busy.

This year six HHU doctoral researchers visited their partner labs at UVA:

Lisa Kalfhues, Mina Yakoub, Marcel Buchholzer, Christoph Owenier, Angelina Misiou  Felicia Hartmann.

Felicia even went twice to Gary Owens lab to finish her work. Angelina completed her work during her second visit in 2019.

A special thanks to Paul Orange for the fantastic organization!!!!

The other way round, the UVA researchers

Katelyn Ahern Clint Upchurch Claire Ruddiman

came for an internship to Düsseldorf.


Rise Students 2019

The IRTG 1902 welcomed two undergraduate students from the USA over the summer:

Vikram Gupta from UVA, Charlottesville visited the lab of Johannes Stegbauer Amanda Pellegrino from Duquesne University, Pittsburg worked in the lab of Axel Gödecke.


Fall School 2019

In October 2019 the German and American branches of the IRTG 1902 came together in Düsseldorf for their yearly meeting. Around 70 scientists participated in a 3-day Fall School Program of scientific presentations, discussions, networking and social gatherings.


Memorandum of Understanding

During this year´s Fall school representatives from the University of Virginia (UVA) and the Heinrich-Heine-University (HHU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further promote co-operation in the fields of teaching and research between the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, UVA and the Institute for Cardiovascular Physiology, Heinrich Heine University.

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