Professor Dirk Haller receives research award for new therapeutic options in inflammatory bowel diseasesCategory: Research, Award
For his outstanding project on the development of new therapeutic options for inflammatory bowel diseases, Professor Dirk Haller, Head of the TUM Department of Immunology and Director of the ZIEL-Institute for Food and Health, has received the UEG Research Award 2021. The UEG ( United European Gastroenterology) is a professional non-profit organization that unites all leading European medical professional and national societies focusing on digestive health. It awards an annual prize of 100,000 Euros for outstanding achievements in basic, translational or clinical research.
The aim of professor Haller’s project is to use mitochondrial-protecting therapeutics for wound healing in the intestine and thereby to develop a supportive therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases. To this end, he and his team are harnessing the activities of several classes of drugs already used to treat mitochondrial diseases to enhance regenerative tissue responses following inflammation-induced damage to the intestinal epithelium.
“Over the past 20 years,” states the award citation, “Professor Haller and his team have pioneered the notion that the epithelium actively integrates signal from the cellular and metabolic environment of the gut microbiome to maintain tissue stability and digestive health. He has established a comprehensive and internationally visible biomedical research program dedicated to better understanding the role of microbiome-host interactions in the initiation and regulation of inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract.”
The award is intended to support a scientific research project from early stages to successful completion. It is aimed at established researchers at the peak of their careers, whose contributions to science have had or will have a critical impact on digestive health.
United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is a professional non-profit organization that brings together all leading European medical specialty and national societies focused on digestive health. Member societies range from those involved in general gastroenterology and surgery to disease- or organ-oriented and special interest societies on a pan-European level. Together, they represent more than 30,000 specialists in all areas of digestive health.
Professor Haller conducts research in the field of nutritional science. His focus is on bacteria (microbiome) in the gut and their role in chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease and carcinogenesis. He has developed fundamental insights into the molecular interaction of complex microbial ecosystems )the microbiome) with barrier and immune cells in the gut. He contributes to the mechanistic elucidation of inflammatory and tumor diseases through his work with newly developed gnotobiotic mouse models ( selective colonisation of germ-free animals ) and patients. His research places changes in the microbial milieu at the center of pathogenesis of complex diseases. He heads both the Department of Nutrition and Immunology and the Central Institute for Food & Health (ZIEL) at the TUM Campus Weihenstephan.
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