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Dr. Philipp Diehl
Amer Dakka
Novita Simanjuntak
Judith Amann
Georg Barinov
Xavier Tonnar
Patrick Malcolm Siegel
Karlheinz Peter MD PhD (Baker Institute Melbourne)
Daniel Steiner PhD (Molecular Partners AG
Peter Meikle PhD (Baker Institute Melbourne)
Stephan Winnik MD (Institute of Physiology - University of Zurich)

Vascular inflammation is critical for several acute and chronic cardiovascular and also rheumatic or infectious diseases. Platelets and leukocytes promote pathophysiology of vascular inflammation and thereby contribute to the progression and severity of inflammation driven cardiovascular diseases. Our lab investigates different aspects of vascular inflammation and focuses on the role of platelets and leukocytes in inflammatory cardiovascular conditions.

We are particularly interested in The impact of microparticles on vascular inflammation and coagulation and the anti-inflammatory effects of anti-platelet drugs.

The impact of microparticles on vascular inflammation and coagulation.

Microparticles are small cell vesicles (Ø <1.5 μm) that are released into circulation during cellular activation from different blood cells (e.g. platelets, leukocytes or endothelial cells). Microparticles contain cytoplasma, cell organelles and surface receptors from their maternal cells. Recent data have shown that circulating microparticles bind to and fuse with different target cells, such as endothelial cells, thereby promoting an inflammatory phenotype of the target cells. Hence, microparticles function as inflammatory, paracrine biovectors in circulation.

Our lab has shown that different microparticle subtypes can be used as inflammatory and coagulatory surrogate markers in different cardiocirculatory diseases, such as aortic valve stenosis or pulmonary hypertension. We additionally showed that microparticles induce destinct inflammatory phenotypes in their target cells, thereby promoting acute and chronic vascular inflammation.

In current research projects, we investigate different cellular mechanisms determining how microparticles induce inflammation in their target cells.

The anti-inflammatory effect of anti-platelet drugs.

Platelet activation is a major phenomenon in several cardiovascular diseases often leading to intravascular clot formation and ischemic complications, such as myocardial infarction or ischemic stroke. Thus, anti-platelet drugs, such as acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin®) or P2Y12 blockers, are often prescribed to patients with atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease (CAD). Over the last decades it has been shown that anti-platelet drugs not only inhibit platelet clot formation but also reduce vascular inflammation.

In our lab, we investigate the impact of different anti-platelet drugs on platelet function and vascular inflammation. We will assess how different inflammatory, cardiovascular diseases are promoted by platelets and platelet leukocyte-interplay.



Medical doctoral thesis (Dr.med.)

We are looking for highly motivated medical students that have successfully completed the Physikum, and that have a strong interest in molecular biology and basic research. Medical students are required to work 6 months in parallel to their medical studies followed by 8 months full time lab work. We provide training in several state of the art molecular methods, which enable them to investigate specific scientific questions.

Currently, the following medical theses are available:

-        The impact of MP as biological vectors in cardiovascular diseases

-        Anti-inflammatory effects of novel anti-platelet drugs

Master students (faculty of biology)

Biologists are most welcome to join our team and to complete their master thesis in our lab. All projects of master students are in the field of vascular inflammation, biological vectors and cardiovascular drug therapy. If you have any suggestions for the topic of your own project, we are happy to discuss research opportunities in our lab with you.

If you are interested in an open position or have any questions, please contact Dr. Philipp Diehl (philipp.diehl@unversitaetsherzzentrum-freiburg.de)


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