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Promoting the healing process after a heart attack

The European Research Council has granted 2.4 million Euros to support research into vascular disease and cell aging

Goethe University Frankfurt

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IMAGE: Professor Stefanie Dimmeler (left) and her team are happy about the ERC Advanced Grant that will help them to find new therapies after a heart attack. view more

Credit: Goethe University Frankfurt

FRANKFURT. Prof. Stefanie Dimmeler, a researcher and director of the Institute for Cardiovascular Regeneration at Frankfurt's University Hospital has been awarded an ,ERC Advanced Grant' from the European Research Council to support her research work over the next five years. She will be investigating how to improve the healing process following a heart attack by promoting cardiovascular regeneration and the repair of heart tissue. This research application is one of eleven - Life Science - projects in Germany to be selected for funding, chosen from approximately 800 competitive applications from all over Europe.

Heart attacks and circulatory disease are still the most common cause of death in Western industrialised nations. According to recent findings, small pieces of composed of ribonucleic acids (micro-RNAs) affect the synthesis of hundreds of proteins that play a role in these diseases. The aim is to discover new inhibitors for this regulatory system so that heart tissue can recover after it has been deprived of oxygen. These micro-RNAs and their inhibitors also appear to be suitable for the targeted activation of stem cells, which are already successfully being used at the Frankfurt University Hospital to treat patients who have had a heart attack or suffer from cardiac insufficiency. Since the risk of heart disease increases with age, the researchers will also be looking at how micro-RNAs affect cellular malfunction and degeneration during aging.

Stefanie Dimmeler is the fourth research scientist at Frankfurt's Goethe University to have been selected by the Scientific Council of the ERC. Prof. Roman Inderst, an economic scientist, has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for his work on 'Regulating Retail Finance' and an ERC Starting Grant was won by Kira Kosnick, a cultural anthropologist and Junior Professor at the university, who is investigating ´ Ethnic Club Cultures in Urban Europe`. Prof. Magnus Rueping, a chemist, is also among the successful candidates in the first round of the ERC Starting Grants.

ERC grants, initiated by the European Research Council in 2007, are intended to support high-risk and demanding projects at research institutions in EU Member States or associated countries, regardless of the nationality of the researcher. Through these grants, the ERC hopes to go some way towards mitigating the brain drain to the United States, and to make Europe an attractive option for top scientists in the face of worldwide competition.

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Goethe - University Frankfurt will serve as applicant host institution for a young Russian physicist from a research institution in California in the current ERC Starting Grant Call 2008, an example of a promising attempt to reverse the brain drain in favour of Europe.

For further information please contact:

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Dimmeler, (Assistant: Larissa Hill) Tel: +49 (0)69 6301-5158, Hill@med.uni-frankfurt.de, Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Centre for Molecular Medicine, Campus Niederrad, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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