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Vascular Research in Mannheim has developed an outstanding track record in endothelial biology and angiogenesis research and has received strong international recognition. To establish the European Center for Angioscience at Heidelberg University (ECAS), the Medial Faculty Mannheim integrates its basic vascular research faculty (presently eight tenured professorships) from different research institutes the ECAS Research Division. This is complemented by an Adjunct Faculty of presently 21 laboratories.
Heidelberg University is uniquely endowed to host ECAS. The Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area offers the best possible environment for a nationally and internationally leading center for vascular biology and medicine. Heidelberg University has two medical faculties and two major university hospitals in Mannheim and Heidelberg, each with departments covering all areas of vascular diseases. Heidelberg/Mannheim is also an important partner site of the German Center for Cardiovascular Diseases (DZHK). Moreover, Ludwigshafen Hospital with its sizable cardiac surgery clinic and a cardiology-epidemiological research institute contribute to the supportive scientific environment.
The two medical faculties are individually and jointly very strong in basic and translational vascular research. Heidelberg University, together with the University of Frankfurt, founded the first exclusively vascular biology-focused Collaborative Research Center (CRC) in 2005, the DFG-funded Transregio SFB23 Vascular Differentiation and Remodeling. Under the auspices of the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University, the TransRegio23 had a successful run for a full funding period of 12 years. A successor CRC, CRC1366 “Vascular Control of Organ Function” is already under way under the guidance of the Directors of ECAS, Prof. Augustin and Prof. Goerdt.
The Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University also operates a DFG-funded vascular research-training group, the international graduate school program 1874 Diabetic Microvascular Complications. Additionally, the Medical Faculty Mannheim has expanded its vascular research significantly through the establishment of endowed chairs and additional appointments placing emphasis on the field of vascular biology. The Medical Faculty Heidelberg has vascular-oriented physiology and pharmacology departments, and a strong research-based cardiology department.
Beyond the university institutions, the Rhine-Neckar region is particularly strong in the life sciences with several non-university research institutes, including the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research. Moreover, the University of Applied Sciences Mannheim conducts applied life science research and there is a strong industry sector with Roche Diagnostics (formerly Boehringer Mannheim).
Furthermore, the nearby Universities of Frankfurt and Giessen have received funding in cardiopulmonary research for the excellence cluster “Cardio-Pulmonary System”. These activities are tightly coordinated with the vascular research in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area. This also involves the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim. Together, the establishment of ECAS is intended to advance the Rhine-Main-Neckar valley into the premier angioscience research region in Europe.