News › Leibniz IPHT • Kick-off for new Photonicscenter
Four Jena research institutions sign cooperation agreement for the unique European research infrastructure for research into light-based health technologies
Along with the establishment of its administrative structures, the new Leibniz Center for Photonics in Infection Research (LPI) in Jena will start on July 1, 2020 with concrete projects for research into light-based technologies for the diagnosis and therapy of infectious diseases. »The corona pandemic shows us how we urgently need new approaches in the fight against infectious diseases. Here in Jena, LPI is creating a unique European research infrastructure for international scientists to jointly research such solutions and bring them to the market quickly,« says Prof. Dr. Jürgen Popp, scientific director of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) and spokesman of the new research center, on the occasion of the signing of the cooperation agreement for the LPI on June 17, 2020 in Jena.
New building on the campus of the University Hospital
The Center, to be funded by the federal government with 124 million euros, is supported by four Jena partners: the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena University Hospital, Leibniz IPHT and the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute (Leibniz HKI). »This new research building on the site of our hospital distinguishes the campus in Jena Lobeda not only as a central location for interdisciplinary university patient care, but also as a center for the integration of clinical research and basic research,« says Dr. Brunhilde Seidel-Kwem, spokeswoman of the board of Jena University Hospital. The official construction phase for the new Leibniz Center will begin in January 2021 and from 2026 on the Center will be open to top researchers from all over the world.
»We are currently experiencing how quickly a pandemic can spread in our globalized world. So quickly that there is hardly any time to act appropriately,« emphasizes Jürgen Popp. Another threat is the spread of multidrug-resistant germs. »Every day, 2000 people die from the consequences of an infection with bacteria against which no antibiotics can help. Infectious diseases are among the most frequent causes of death worldwide. We need good ideas, unconventional approaches, and solutions that get quickly from bench to bedside.«
Rapid solutions in the fight against multidrug-resistant germs
In future, the Leibniz Center for Photonics in Infection Research will provide a foundation for this purpose. With short distances and clear transfer points leading to marketability, international researchers from the natural sciences, technology development, and medicine as well as users from industry will be supported in the prompt implementation of innovative methods. In September 2019, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research put the LPI on the forward-looking National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.
»LPI offers the possibility of linking diagnostics and therapy,« says Prof. Dr. Michael Bauer, Director of the Clinic for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at Jena University Hospital. »From a medical perspective, this opens up a great vision: to break new ground in therapeutic approaches.” – »We want to be pioneers for approaches that we believe will determine the medical agenda of the next 10 to 20 years, for example with research into biological therapeutics,« adds Prof. Dr. Axel A. Brakhage, Director of the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute.
The new Center will enrich Jena as a research location – and vice versa, emphasizes University President Prof. Dr. Walter Rosenthal: »The Science Council judged that LPI could revolutionize the diagnostics of pathogens,« said Rosenthal. »It is no coincidence that this is happening in Jena. The combination of photonic technologies, basic research, and clinical application demonstrate the strengths of the location. University, non-university research institutions, and industry are well networked here and make the location attractive for highly qualified scientists from all over the world«.
Photo (Leibniz-IPHT): Left to right: Dr. Brunhilde Seidel-Kwem (Commercial Director and Spokeswoman of the Board of Jena University Hospital), Prof. Dr. Walter Rosenthal (President of Friedrich Schiller University Jena), Prof. Dr. Axel A. Brakhage (Director Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute) and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Popp (Scientific Director Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology).