Around 500 scientists, physicians, and junior researchers from five sites attended the 8th DZL Annual Meeting on February 7 and 8 at the Rosengarten Mannheim. This means that the number of participants has risen again this year. Special attention was paid to the outstanding developments in the promotion of junior scientists.
In his opening speech, chairman Prof. Dr. Werner Seeger welcomed 20 new Principal Investigators at the DZL; at the same time, he emphasized the positive development in the promotion of junior scientists. The DZL Academy, newly established in 2018, which provides students, doctoral candidates, and early postdocs with various options for career enhancement, has already recruited 282 fellows. Around 100 of them attended the first DZL Academy Fellow Reception as part of the Annual Meeting and selected a representative for each site. These representatives were admitted to the DZL Academy Board.
During its first year of operation, the DZL Academy has already offered numerous workshops and symposia as well as travel grants.
Furthermore, Seeger praised the remarkable achievements in the expansion of the central clinical DZL Data Warehouse. By optimizing data management structures and harmonizing data, data procedures, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) across the DZL sites, around 700,000 samples from around 32,000 patients have become available. This presently unique nation-wide linking of lung research data enables research on systems biology and medical matters.
In the field of patient information, too, the DZL was able to look back on another successful year working with its partner Lung Information Service, which was represented at the Annual Meeting with its own booth. Another important contribution to this subject was made by the European Patient Ambassador Programme (EPAP), an online course developed in collaboration with the European Lung Foundation (ELF). The program enables patients, their families, and carers to expand their skills in obtaining information and interacting with medical staff and authorities. With the DZL Round Table involving representatives of patients' interests as well as the Panel Discussion on Lung Research for Patients as part of the DGP Congress, two significant events in the field of patient information have been arranged for March 2019.
Finally, Seeger welcomed the five members of the International Scientific Advisory Board, who had come to the event to support the Board of Directors with advice on the further development of the Center. Furthermore, Seeger congratulated DZL Board member Prof. Dr. Tobias Welte on his appointment as new President of the European Respiratory Society (ERS).
The opening speech was followed by an overview of the highlights in the eight Disease Areas. For the first time, the scientists had the opportunity to present their research work not only in the form of posters but also as short teaser talks and participate in the poster prize contest. An independent body then selected the winners, allowing them to present their work to the large audience in a longer presentation on the second day.
This year’s poster prizes, worth 500 euros in prize money, were awarded to:
Asthma and Allergy: Markus Weckmann (ARCN)
COPD: Dmytro Dvornikov (TLRC)
Cystic Fibrosis (Mucoviscidosis): Joschka Hey (TLRC)
Pneumonia and Acute Lung Injury: Christina Malainou (UGMLC)
Diffuse Parenchymal Lung Disease: Jannik Ruwisch (BREATH)
Pulmonary Hypertension: Siladitta Biswas (UGMLC)
End-Stage Lung Disease: Severine Somlo (CPC-M)
Lung Cancer: Xiang Zheng (UGMLC)
Biobanking & Data Management Platform: Thomas Muley (TLRC)
Imaging Platform: Willi Wagner (TLRC)
The participants finished off this fruitful first day of the Annual Meeting in a relaxed atmosphere during dinner with music.
On the second day, the researchers had the opportunity to exchange views on their projects in the various Disease Areas in work groups.
In his closing speech, Werner Seeger reaffirmed that the DZL’s future, with the recommendations of the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) on the transition of the German Centers for Health Research (DZG) to obtain permanent funding, looks promising, dismissing the participants with an invitation to meet again at the Annual Meeting 2020 in Hamburg.