CRC1382 assembles a team of 27 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: 23 of the 27 principal investigators involved in this CRC work at 5 research institutes and 4 clinical departments of RWTH Aachen University. Experts from Berlin (Frank Tacke, Charite), Frankfurt (Jonel Trebicka, Goethe University) 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 microbiome, imaging and computational modeling to unravel multiple facets of gut-liver axis.

© Heike Herbrand

Hepatic malignancies and liver fibrosis

Research in this field has a longstanding basis at RWTH Aachen University. The group of Tom Lüdde (A01) has linked inflammatory and cell death-related signalling pathways to liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Ulf Neumann (A01) is an expert in hepatic surgery with interest in innovative therapeutic strategies for liver diseases. He will provide access to tissue samples from human patients and clinical studies and fostering translational research within the initiative. Christian Liedtke and Yulia Nevzorova (both A02) are leading experts in the field of cyclins and regeneration in the context of hepatic homeostasis and injury. Christian Trautwein (A06, 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 (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) has a long-standing expertise in mass spectrometric analysis of the human and murine metabolome in health and disease and on metabolomic activities in the enteric microbiome. Joachim Jankowski (A04) successfully combined 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 (all 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 (A06) is an expert in the computational modelling of substrate pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Radiologist Christiane Kuhl (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. 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 Scientists