28. Oktober 2004
IMPACTFACTOR 100 The Regular Campus Newsletter
- Chairman’s Welcome
- People News
- Research & Development News
- Funding & Finance
- Campus Association
1. Chairman’s Welcome
Since the last „Impactfactor 100“ only a few weeks have elapsed – and yet many new activities and events took place during that time at the Campus.
To name only a few – the Campus Association organized the Campus-Showcase and another Get-Together, the University initiated the well visited Tuppy Symposium and took part in organizing the EMBO-Workshop, the IMP held its annual recess, Biovertis celebrated a successful start-up phase – and so the list
4th Issue, 28th October 2004
could go on with many seminars and smaller meetings.
All said – the Campus is certainly a lively place. In order to keep track of what is going to happen the event site of the intranet proves useful – even though there is no doubt that the picture gallery out-performs any other site of the intranet on occasion.
In fact, straight after the Campus-Showcase up to 1,000 hits were recorded on that particular picture gallery – during one day only!
This might be explained by the fact that the Campus-Showcase was received with great enthusiasm from many visitors and participants including – of course – Hans Tuppy. And I am very happy and grateful that he took the time to thank us with a personal note. See below. I cannot add anything to that but like to thank the organizers, participants and visitors for all their support they gave to this event.
Whilst the Campus-Showcase – for the time being – was a one off another event has become well established: the Campus Run on Tuesdays carries on despite the early dark hours. In fact in response to an initiative by some runners we have moved the starting point to the Campus. Such initiative is always appreciated as we can only tailor-make our offers to you if we receive such feedback.
Looking ahead we certainly aim for a hot November and December: already three parties are listed on the event site of the intranet, as is a seminar on International Science Communications & Relations and a visit by international colleagues that attend a conference in Vienna organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences.
I encourage you attending one or the other meeting, as they also are a means to an end – getting to know each other.
Finally, within the last two weeks several Campus achievements have been acknowledged by winning prestigious national competitions. Therefore, it is my pleasure to congratulate Sylvia Brunner and Irene Rech-Weichselbraun who are amongst the winners of the City of Vienna’s research funding program FemPower ’04, Claudia Jonak who received the Kardinal-Innitzer-Award for „Natural Sciences“ and also Josef Penninger, who has been voted „Austrian of the Year“ in the category „Sciences“ in a public event organized by the national newspaper „Die Presse“.
Michael Schaude, Chairman
Thanks for the Campus
many thanks! The Campus-Showcase was as much an honor for me as it was a pleasure seeing all Campus organizations presenting their activities to a wide range of people from science & technology, politics & society. It was a privilege to get better acquainted with the organizations – and particularly the persons behind them.
The Campus being the most prominent bioscience cluster in
Austria provided a magnificent setting for the subsequent symposium which dealt with problems and perspectives of academic science in Austria. I am confident that here at the Campus a prosperous future for Austrian science is being shaped in the exemplary form of a harmonious and efficient symbiosis of academic and entrepreneurial sciences. Carry on!
Yours sincerely, Hans Tuppy
2. People News
New Face at the University Institute for Theoretical Chemistry and Molecular Structural Biology
In September 2004 Kristina Djinovic Carugo became full professor at the Institute for Theoretical Chemistry and Molecular Structural Biology, University of Vienna. Her research focuses on crystallography of biopolymers.
Kristina Djinovic Carugo received her doctoral degree in chemistry in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1992. Her academic career started in 1989 as research associate at the University of Pavia in Italy, followed by
three years as post-doc there. In 1995 Kristina Djinovic Carugo moved to Heidelberg, Germany, for a Structural and Computational Biology Program of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). From 1999 – 2004 she was head of the crystallography and structural biology laboratory at Elettra-Sincrotrone in Trieste, Italy.
Increase in Finances at Bender MedSystems
Bender MedSystems‘ Finance Department beefs up its team. Together with Karin Payer, VP finance Johann Sebastian Kann, financial manager (FIM) will work on financial guidelines and procedures, reporting and analysis, budgets, cost control, cash management, risk management as well as tax planning projects. Johann S. Kann graduated from Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in March 2002. Since then he worked in the
banking and consulting industry in London, Frankfurt and Vienna before joining Bender MedSystems in October 2004.
3. R & D News
A. What to Do With Heavy Metal?
Heavy metals can trigger widely varying stress reactions in plants. A team at the Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology and the University Institute of Microbiology and Genetics was now able to provide evidence for this in a research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The results are an important basis to understand how plants cope with an increase in heavy metal concentrations in the soil – and how these abilities can be utilised. Heavy metals naturally exist in the soil in small concentrations, and thereby constitute no difficulties for plants. But high concentrations have a toxic effect and can occur through environmental loads. Heribert Hirt and Claudia Jonak’s team have now compared for the first time the exact reactions of plants to high concentrations of various heavy metals. The work has been published in Plant Physiology in early October (see publication below) – and in parallel was subject of an international press release coordinated by PR&D on behalf of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). More than 25 publications worldwide
covered the story. The original release is available at the Campus Office.
B. Heavenly Award
Claudia Jonak was awarded the Kardinal-Innitzer-Prize for „Natural Sciences“ of the archdiocese Vienna. This award in honor of cardinal Theodor Innitzer (1875 – 1955) is regular given in the categories „Lifetime Achievement“, „Humanities“, „Natural Sciences“ and „Journalism“.
Two Team-Players in Plants
Scientists around Balazs Melikant and Erwin Heberle-Bors, University of Vienna, showed that the co-expression of a specific mitogen-activated kinase and a mitogen-activated kinase kinase leads directly to functional activation. Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases mediate cellular responses to a wide variety of stimuli. Activation of a MAP kinase occurs after phosphorylation by an upstream dual-specificity protein kinase, known as a MAP kinase
kinase or MEK. The Arabidopsis thaliana genome encodes 10 MEKs, but few of these have been shown directly to activate any of the 20 Arabidopsis mitogen activated kinases. Functional complementation experiments with a mutant yeast strain proved, that co- expression of the Arabidopsis MEK AtMKK6 and the MAP kinase AtMPK13 is necessary because the activity of AtMPK13 is only stimulated in presence of AtMKK6. Data of real time PCR shows that this MEK can functionally activate the MAP kinase AtMPK13. (see publication below)
Structure and Stability
Kim Nasmyth and colleagues from the IMP now report that cohesin rings are very stable for extended periods of time, during which they might have to hold sister chromatids together. Cohesin is a multi-subunit protein complex that holds together the two identical copies of every chromosome generated by DNA replication (the sister chromatids), probably by their entrapment within cohesin’s large ring structure. This „cohesion“ is essential for the proper segregation of sister chromatids during cell division. It might be the now observed stability that is required to ensure proper chromosome segregation in oocytes that spend decades before they undergo the first meiotic division. Mistakes in chromosome segregation lead to aneuploidy, a hallmark of malignent cancer cells and a leading cause of fetal abortions in humans. (see publication below)
The Busiest Time …
From 6th – 8th October IMP and IMBA scientists retreated for their annual recess, probably the busiest time of the year for everyone involved. The recess is an internal event which guarantees the continuously high quality of research at the two institutes. Three days of scientific presentations were followed by discussions and evaluations by an external „Scientific Advisory Board“. A poster-session accompanied the talks. This year, roughly 250 people participated in the recess, using the IMP’s lecture hall and cafeteria to their limit.
No Prick or Scratch – Use Chips Instead
A diagnostic-chip for identification of the cause of specific allergies is now used as most innovative product in allergy diagnostics in Germany. The small diagnostic-chip was presented at the „Deutscher Allergologen Kongress“ in Aachen, Germany, by VBC Genomics. Only a few drops of blood or serum need to be applied on the chip and the test- extracts added. Thus up to 400 potential allergens can be tested with one chip. Within a few minutes a reaction is visible by a change in color, and also the intensity of the allergic reaction is predictable by this color-reaction. This chip is more reliable – and for patients more uncomplicated – than the usual prick-test, scratch-test or intradermal-test.
Heavy metal stress. Activation of distinct mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways by copper and cadmium. In: Plant Physiology, Vol. 136, p. 3276-3283, October 2004; Group Jonak, C., Nakagami, H., Hirt, H., GMI, University Viena
The Arabidopsis thaliana MEK AtMKK6 activates the MAP kinase AtMPK13. In: FEBS Letters, Vol. 576, Nr. 1-2; p. 5-8, October 2004; Group Heberle-Bors, E., Melikant, B., Giuliani, C., Halbmayer-Watzina, S., Limmongkon, A., Wilson, C.; Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, University Vienna
Structure and Stability of Cohesin’s Smc1-Kleisin Interaction. In: Molecular Cell, Vol. 15, Nr. 6; p. 951-964, September 2004; Haering, C.H., Schoffnegger, D., Nishino, T., Helmhart, W., Nasmyth, K., Löwe, J., IMP
Directed differentiation and mass cultivation of pure erythroid progenitors from mouse embryonic stem cells. In: Blood, Vol. 104, Nr. 6, p. 1879-1880, September 2004; Carotta, S., Pilat, S., Mairhofer, A., Schmidt, U., Dolznig, H., Steinlein, P., Beug, H., IMP, VIRCC, AKH
Different steroids co-regulate longterm expansion versus terminal differentiation in primary human erythroid progenitors. In: Blood online, September 2004; Leberbauer, C., Boulme, F., Unfried, G., Huber, J., Beug, H., Mullner, E.W., Medical University of Vienna, Max F. Perutz Laboratories of the University Vienna, IMP
4. Funding & Finance
ZIT-Funding of Two Campus Organizations
Affiris is the winner of the „Call FemPower Vienna 2004“. This competition was organized by the ZIT (Zentrum für Innovation und Technologie) and WWFF (Wiener Wirtschaftsförderungsfonds). Sylvia Brunner, the leading scientist of the winning project, and her team aim to develop a vaccine against atherosclerosis. This vaccine should prevent the conversion of the „good“ HDL cholesterol into the „bad“ LDL cholesterol.
With Bender MedSystems a second
Campus organization was successful at the
call. They submitted a project for the
development of a new diagnostic tool for
the assessment of the risk for heart attack.
Preliminary studies have shown the high
predictive potential of the new marker
sCD40L. The goal of the project is the
development of a simple, highly sensitive,
stable immunoassay, based on the Bender
MedSystems‘ proprietary Instant ELISATM technology for sCD40L. The project under the leadership of Irene Rech-Weichselbraun and performed by a 90% female team was elected by the international jury to be supported by a grant.
According to a study performed by the European Commission women are represented with a percentage of only 9% in industrial research in Austria whereas the European average in this field is 14,9%. With this call ZIT and WWFF provided a stimulus to actively integrate women into R&D-projects.
Therefore, FemPower 2004 was designed to finance innovative research & development projects with women in leading positions and to generally promote women in industrial research. An international board of experts selected nine projects (of totally 26) which will receive substantial financial support.
IPR Professional at Intercell
Katherine Cohen, heading the Intellectual Property & Licensing Department of Intercell, has become a European Patent Attorney by having passed her European Patent Attorney qualifying exams. The European Qualifying Examination is European-wide and takes place once a year. In Europe only 3705 people have passed this exam from the early 1980ies until 2004. The European
Patent Attorney is not limited to the field of pharmaceutics and biotechnology, but covers all technology fields including electronics, mechanics, chemical, medicine, biotech and other industries. Katherine Cohen is now eligible to conduct all European patent / legal proceedings.
EUR 900,000 for Immunologic Tolerance
Scientists of the IMP and IMBA together with the Medical University Vienna have successfully applied for a SFB program on investigations of development and maintenance of immunologic tolerance. This program is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) with up to EUR 900,000. The research of the program aims to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms and regulators which prevent autoimmunity.
EU-Network of Excellence
From 24th – 26th September „The Epigenome“ Network of Excellence (NoE) held its kick-off meeting in Brno (CR). The meeting was attended by many of the leading European scientists in epigenetic research. To ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of this field, the European Commission is funding this initiative under the 6th Framework Programme with EUR 12.5 Millions for five years. „The Epigenome“, which is coordinated by Thomas Jenuwein of the IMP, will create a virtual core institute as a coherent platform for the European epigenetic research community with three central activities:
- a joint research program
- an initiative to integrate 22 newly established teams
- an interactive website about epigenetics for the scientific community and the general
More at www.epigenome-noe.net
5. Campus Association
On the occasion of the Tuppy Symposium on 8th October the Campus had organized the Campus-Showcase to present its organizations to a wide range of guests. In the hours before the symposium, from 1 – 3 p.m., an exhibition of posters and slide-shows informed more than 150 people about the work, focus and ongoing activities of each Campus organization. Impressions of an impressive presentation you will find at http://www.viennabiocenter.com/content/gallery3/gallery3.asp
B. The Campus at the Biotechnica
The Campus Vienna Biocenter has been presented at the Biotechnica Asia, 12th – 14th October 2004 in Singapore by Bender MedSystems. About 100 exhibitors and 2,800 attendees were present at the event. As Singapore is committed to become a premier center
for biomedical research and development activities, the Biotechnica Asia brought together the leading international biotech and life science companies, world-class scientists and industry professionals. More at www.biotechnica-asia.com .
The University Institute for Theoretical Chemistry and Molecular Structural Biology
The „Institut für Theoretische Chemie“ was founded in 1968 as a research and teaching unit and comprises the following research areas: quantum chemistry, molecular dynamics and modeling of biomolecules, RNA bioinformatics, and recently, the institute has been extended by two professorships for biomolecular NMR and crystallography, respectively. Accordingly, the name of the institute has been changed to Institute for Theoretical Chemistry and Molecular Structural Biology in 2000. Integration of theoretical and experimental concepts to back up structural and functional biology research is a hallmark of research in the department. The department houses 30 permanent staff. Recent research highlights were: (i) novel bioinformatic tools for nucleic acid hybridization and folding studies, and primer design, (ii) the determination of the solution structures of an oncogenic transcription factor complex and the transient protein complex between EB1 and CRP2, (iii) crystal structures of Cu, Zn and Ni-containing superoxide dismutases from various pathogens, (iv) dielectric component analysis of biomolecular solutions and binding affinity studies of phosphotyrosine mimetics by free energy simulations. More at http://www.itc.univie.ac.at/ .
Evolution in Progress – from Symposium to Party
Ph.D. students of the Campus Vienna Biocenter are organizing a symposium on evolution, 5th – 6th November 2004, IMP. Top scientists will talk about their newest insights covering different subtopics like molecular evolution, genome evolution and population genetics. Each talk will include a general introduction to open the subject to non-specialists. A party will
close the symposium. Latest news: with 250 bookings the event is fully booked! More at
International Science Communication
Looking back …
At the Annual General Meeting of the University PR-Departments from Germany, Switzerland and Austria on 23rd September in Vienna, Till Jelitto gave an invited lecture on International Science Communication on behalf of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Well over thirty people attended the lecture, making it the best visited talk of a rich three days program.
Looking forward …
On 30th November Gabriela Ondrejkovics Fernandes (Head of Research Services & International Relations, University of Vienna), Stefan Bernhardt (Head of Communications, Austrian Science Fund (FWF)) and Till Jelitto (Managing Partner, PR&D) will present a seminar on International Science Communication & Relations at the Campus Vienna Biocenter.
Gabriela Fernandes will present current and forthcoming services and activities of the Office of Research Services & International Relations of the University of Vienna. Since the appointment of Gabriela Fernandes in May 2004 the office has continuously increased its workforce and will have reached full operational level with 17 staff by the end of the year. The office will than provide an extensive range of services to all members of the University.
Stefan Bernhardt will explain the role science communication and PR has for Austria’s largest Basic Science Fund the FWF.
Till Jelitto will present the logistics of and experience from internationally communicating well over 20 FWF-Projects ranging from astrophysics to zebrafishes.
Date: Tuesday, 30th November 2004
Place: Stan Cohen Seminar Room, Campus Vienna Biocenter 2
Time: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Note: Seminar in German
Let-us-know: as snacks & drinks will be provided we shall be grateful would you register by return E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
A. Science & Society with Standard
The EMBO Members Workshop „Frontiers of Molecular Biology“ took place at the IMP from 15th – 18th October 2004. During these days scientists from all over Europe discussed the multifaceted aspects in the subject of molecular biology. This workshop was closed with an outstanding public discussion on the hopes and risks raised by molecular biology research and especially about potential and ethical aspects of cloning. Renée Schroeder and representatives of politics, philosophy and molecular biology engaged in a lively discussion under the chairmanship of The Standard’s chief editor Gerfried Sperl. Special guest was Ian Wilmut, embryologist and „father“ of the cloned sheep Dolly.
B. Vienna Life Sciences at Washington, D.C.
A luncheon conference organized by the Office of Science & Technology at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. took place on 29th September 2004. The luncheon conference offered interested individuals the opportunity to gain additional insight into Vienna’s expertise and activities in the field of medical bioscience research. Participants learned more about the three institutions, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna School of Clinical Research and the American Austrian Foundation, their facilities, activities and training programs. The conference examined the challenges facing clinical research and a broad spectrum of training related issues.
C. PROFIL Features Viennese Biotechnology
Last weeks issue of the Austrian weekly newspaper „Profil“ paid attention to the biotech scene in Vienna. Together with other important biotechnology clusters – the Campus
Novartis Research Institute and the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna – the report especially highlighted the Campus Vienna Biocenter. Two Campus organizations, Axon Neuroscience and Intercell, were prominently featured. An PDF-copy of this article is available from the Campus Office.
D. Campus Materials
Both, a roll-up representing the Campus and all its organizations and copies of the Campus brochure from 2002 are available at the Campus Office. If you need them for presentations don’t hesitate contacting us.
You can also download a Campus power-point presentation on the Campus website. (You will be prompted for your E-mail address. This will help us to keep the online version up-to-date.)
BioMed Students at the Campus
Students of the recently established „Biomedicine“ bachelors course of studies at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, visited the Campus as guests of PR&D. As part of the lectures on Research Marketing by Till Jelitto they were informed about the relevant structure & strategies at the Campus. Later, Irene Rech-Weichselbraun of Bender MedSystems kindly presented the company’s business activities. Christine Nassimbeni, one of the students, commented: „Finally, I can see what all the theory we learned in the lecture theatre is good for.“
Campus Vienna Biocenter Association
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