Another milestone in Giessen's lung research will soon become visible. In February, the preparation of the construction site for the building of the new Institute for Lung Health (ILH) will begin. Further preparatory infrastructure measures will take place from the middle of the year. The new building is constructed above the Biomedical Research Center (BFS) of Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) on Schubertstrasse. On the other side of the BFS on Aulweg is the JLU's recently occupied Center for Infection and Genomics of the Lung (CIGL).
Preparatory construction is expected to be completed around mid-2023. After that, the building will be constructed, for which a construction period of around two and a half years is planned. The building will be designed by the architectural firm Carpus + Partner AG from Aachen, which has now been awarded the contract in the negotiated procedure for selecting a building designer. According to current estimates, the research building has a main usable area of 2,200 square meters and costs around 36 million euros, including scientific equipment. The client is the Landesbetrieb Bau und Immobilien Hessen (LBIH).
Even though the building is not yet up and running: Research at the Institute for Lung Health is already underway. The participating research groups, which the federal and state governments jointly finance, are gradually being established. At the ILH, three professorships and two junior research groups are currently focusing on researching and developing new treatment concepts for lung tissue diseases using four specially implemented platforms for innovative technologies. The scientists are investigating the resistance mechanisms of the lung to exogenous and endogenous stresses, the disease-related remodeling processes that limit lung function, and new preventive and therapeutic approaches to maintain or restore lung health.
"Even before Corona, research into the causes and therapies of lung diseases was a major focus of Justus Liebig University Giessen. We owe a great deal of expertise in this field to the outstanding commitment of the scientists - it is more important than ever in these pandemic times and will remain so in the future: viruses that attack the respiratory tract continue to threaten us, and further lessons must be learned from the findings of the Corona pandemic. That is why the joint effort to build the Institute of Lung Health is worthwhile," said Science Minister Angela Dorn.
"Giessen's lung researchers have been at the forefront internationally for years - the importance of their work is once again very evident in the Corona pandemic," said JLU President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee. "I am extremely grateful to the state of Hesse for its generous support of the ILH."
Lung diseases are among the leading causes of death worldwide, not just since COVID-19. "It is very worrying that the incidence of many respiratory diseases continues to rise, even independently of the current dramatic COVID-19 pandemic. Especially our lung center in Giessen has to face this challenge," said Prof. Dr. Werner Seeger, lung researcher in Giessen and chairman of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL). Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedrich Grimminger, Chairman of the Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), emphasizes: "The novel approach of ILH is not only to symptomatically improve the disturbed function of diseased lungs but - learning from biology - to therapeutically use mechanisms of lung tissue formation to improve the resistance and regeneration of the lung structure. Put simply, this is helping the diseased lung to help itself."
Together with the DZL, which is based in Giessen, the UGMLC, the Cluster of Excellence Cardio-Pulmonary Institute (CPI), and several other research consortia such as Collaborative Research Centers and Clinical Research Units, JLU concentrates basic scientific, technological-methodological, translational, and clinical competencies in lung research that are unique in this density in Germany and also - according to international experts in the course of various reviews - in Europe. The goal is to transfer the preservation of healthy lung structure and the treatment of lung diseases into a new dimension of cause-related and personalized concepts and to set new clinical standards.