CRC1382 assembles a team of 30 basic and clinician scientists a highly interdisciplinary setting to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical needs.

RWTH Aachen University forms the hub of CRC1382 activities: 25 of the 30 principal investigators of this CRC are based at 5 research institutes and 4 clinical departments of RWTH Aachen University. Experts from Berlin (Adrien Guillot and Frank Tacke, Charité), Münster (Jonel Trebicka, University Clinic), Cologne (Maria Vehreschild, University Clinic) and Leipzig (Martin von Bergen, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research) supplement and strengthen the team.

Scientists with a focus on gastroenterology and hepatology form the core of the team and are complemented by experts in the fields of immunology, microbiology, imaging and bioinformatics to unravel the multiple facets of the gut-liver axis.

Hepatic malignancies and liver fibrosis

Research in this field has a longstanding basis at RWTH Aachen University. Research of Tom Lüdde (A01E) has linked inflammatory and cell death-related signalling pathways to liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Ulf Neumann (B08, A01E and A06E), an expert in hepatic surgery with interest in innovative therapeutic strategies for liver diseases, provides access to tissue samples from human patients and clinical studies and fosters translational research within the initiative. Christian Liedtke and Yulia Nevzorova (A02) are leading experts in the field of cyclins and regeneration in the context of hepatic homeostasis and injury. Christian Trautwein (A06E, A08) and Jonel Trebicka (A09) have a long-standing track record on human liver fibrosis and murine models of metabolic and toxic liver diseases. Nurdan Güldiken and Pavel Strnad (both A03) have studied the role of epithelial factors in development of liver. Frank Tacke, Adrien Guillot (both B05) and Marie-Luise Berres (B04) are experts in liver immunology, particularly on the role of chemokines, macrophages and dendritic cells.

From metabolomics and mediators to the visualization of enterohepatic circuits

The group of Martin von Bergen (A05) in Leipzig has a long-standing expertise in mass spectrometric analysis of the human and murine metabolome in health and disease and studying metabolomic activities in the enteric microbiome. Joachim Jankowski and Heidi Noels (both A04) successfully combine mass spectrometry, systems medicine and functional assays to identify novel mediators of disease as well as the underlying functional pathways. Steven Olde Damink and Frank Schaap (both A07) have studied regulatory mediators of bile salts as integral constituents of the enterohepatic cooperation. Fabian Kiessling, Felix Gremse and Wiltrud Lederle (both Q01) are experts in multimodal preclinical and translational imaging. They pioneered in the development of several high-end imaging methods that will allow the analysis of the dynamics of inter-organ communication and mediator exchange. Lars Blank (Q02 and A06E) is an expert in the field of genetic engineering. Radiologist Emona Staudacher (A04) provides patient cohorts, clinical expertise in human imaging analysis and access to human portal venous blood.

From mucosal immunology and tolerance to enteric microbiota and the gut-liver axis

The integrated view of gut and liver as propagated by this CRC is just being established in immunology and microbiota research. The group of Mathias Hornef (B01) established key concepts about the mechanisms that facilitate the fetal-neonatal transition and determine differential susceptibility to enteric infections between neonate and adults. Vuk Cerovic (B03) and Oliver Pabst (B06) have been studying mechanisms of immune priming in the gut immune system. Norbert Wagner and Angela Schippers (both B02) have made major contributions to the field of immune cell migration to the gut. Thomas Clavel (A05, Q02) has studied mammalian gut microbiomes via the complementary use of molecular and culture-based techniques, initiated strain collections from the intestine of mice and pigs and contributed to the establishment of minimal microbial consortia in gnotobiotic mice.

New recruitments to RWTH Aachen university and new PI tandems strenghten CRC1382 and support early career scientists

Tony Bruns (B07) was recruited to RWTH Aachen University as Professor of Hepatology and associated his DFG funded project proposal to our CRC. In the second funding period, Tony Bruns teams up with Maria Vehreschild, a pioneer of encapsulated faecal microbiota transfer (eFMT), to address the impact of gut microbiota composition and translocation, gut permeability and immune activation in a clinical trial on eFMT in pationts with decompensated licer cirrhosis. Carolin V. Schneider (new project A11) with her expertise in biostatistics will make use of large-scale population-based datasets to analyze how inter-individual differences in dietary factors influence liver diease development and the contribution of gut microbiota to this process. Ana Izcue (new project B08 together with Ulf Neumann) contributes strong expertise in sophisticated animal experiments to analyze th influence of tumour-mediated enteric factors in the development of liver cancer.. Adrien Guillot, teams up as PI with Frank Tacke in project B05 and adds his expertise in liver pathophysiology and in vivo live imaging of hepatic tissue. Kai Markus Schneider (new project B09) was recruited as a Junior Professor of Experimental Gastroenterology and Organ Crosstalk to RWTH Aachen University and elucidates microbiota-dependent and -independent imflammasome-mediated innate immunity in hepatocellular cancer formation. Marianne Grognot (new project A10), newly recruited as a Junior Professor for Biophysics of Host-Microbe Interactions to RWTH Aachen University, provides a new perspective in our CRC by dissecting the effects of mediators of the gut-liver axis on the motility of gut microbiota.

Colleagues that left CRC1382 during or at the end of the first funding period

Yulia Nevzorova (A02) moved to Madrid to head her own research group. Maximilian Hatting (A08) took on a new appointment and left RWTH Aachen University. Felix Gremse (Q01) decided to focus solely on his company ‘Gremse IT’, a RWTH spin off developing imaging software. Tom Lüdde (A01) accepted the position as Head of the Depeartment of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases at Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf and moved to Düsseldorf during the first funding period. Upon adapting his research priorities at the new location, project A01 will not be not continued in the second funding period. Project B03, headed by Vuk Cerovic will not be continued in the second funding period as findings obtained are only losely linked to the gut-liver axis and will be followed up outside of CRC1382. Finally, Christiane Kuhl (A04) quit the PI team and handed-over to Emona Staudacher to support an early career scientist in this CRC.

Our team is driven by the prospect that a detailed understanding of the ‘gut-liver axis’ will provide novel insights into the physiology of host-microbial interaction, metabolomics and pathogenesis of hepatic and intestinal diseases and will offer interventional options to improve organ function and clinical outcome in patients.

List of Current Scientists

List of Scientists that left our Consortium during/after the first funding period