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Two new vice presidents for the DFG: Axel A. Brakhage, speaker of our Research Alliance succeeds Katja Becker

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has two new vice presidents. At its session during the DFG’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday 1 July 2020, the General Assembly of the DFG elected molecular biologist Professor Dr. Axel A. Brakhage and engineer Professor Dr.-Ing. Hans Hasse to the Executive Committee of the DFG, Germany’s largest research funding organisation and central self-governing body for the research community. Brakhage succeeds Professor Dr. Katja Becker, who became President of the DFG at the beginning of 2020, while Hasse takes over from engineer Professor Dr.-Ing. Frank Allgöwer. Please click for the press release of the DFG here.


Covid-19 seed money projects

Due to the current outbreak of the Sars-CoV-2 corona virus, the Leibniz Research Alliance Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnology funded smaller short-term scientific initiating projects in order to support the cooperation between the institutes (“seed money”).

  1. Dr. Aldrin Vasco Vidal (IPB) – Prof. Thomas Dobner (HPI): Synthesis of stapled peptide inhibitors of the ACE2 – CoV-2-RBD interaction (“Pin-Cov”)
  2. Prof. Gülsah Gabriel (HPI) –  (HKI): Identification of novel compounds to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in cell culture
  3. Dr. Victoria Shpacovitch (ISAS) – Prof. Carsten Watzl (IfADO): Development of SPR-based immunoassays for measuring anti-CoV-2 antibodies and for detecting interactions between CoV-2 spike protein and virus entry receptor ACE2 at very low concentrations.

contact: wirkstoffe@ipb-halle.de


Medicinal plants thrive in biodiversity hotspots: new approach to phylogenetically guided drug discovery

Scientists from the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB), Leipzig University (UL) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) have now shown a way to considerably simplify this search for bioactive natural compounds using data analyses on the phylogenetic relationships, spatial distribution and secondary metabolites of plants. Their new approach makes it possible to predict which groups of plants and which geographical areas are likely to have a particularly high density of species with medicinal effects.  Please click here for the joint press release by IPB, University of Leipzig and the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), 12.5.2020.


EUvsVirus-Hackathon 24-26. April 2020 – with the Bioactives Cloud Team as participant

Bio- and chemoinformaticians from the IPB participated in this year’s #EUvsVirus-Hackathon as a team of the Leibniz Research Alliance “Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnology”.

Their goal was to optimize the Cloud Information & Resource Management System CRIMSy that they developed before. This software allows secure access control of research data in early project phases across partner institutes of the research alliance that would otherwise remain inaccessible for the protection of intellectual property.

The hackathon #EUvsVirus was initiated by the European Commission to find solutions in the fight against COVID-19. The competition took place in April with over 20,000 participants from all over Europe.


Congratulations to the seed money project teams 2020!

  • P. Stark, K. Franke, IPB Halle / J Sikorska, DSMZ Braunschweig: Hypericum metabolome and rhizosphere microbiome: a cross-kindom factory for bioactive compounds
  • B. Westermann, T. Vogt, IPB Halle / F. Kloß, HKI Jena: Biosynthesis of bioactive amides by an enzymatic cascade reaction
  • E. Freier, ISAS Dortmund / J. Hengstler, IfADo Dortmund: Investigation of inflammation-inducing effect of lipid droplets in hepatocytes with CARS microscopy (HepatoCARS)

Wirkstoffradio, new episode (in German)

A new episode on desinfection and washing hands, click here to listen!


„Tonspur Wissen“ answers Corona-questions: daily podcast of the Leibniz Alliance and t-online

Please click here for the podcast.


COVID-19 – actual information from our member Institute FZB Leibniz Lung Center Borstel (in German)

Please click here for further information.


Potential Corona-drug identified

Interview with Stefan Pöhlman, head of the Infection Biology Unit at DPZ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plhfUVtC_EU&feature=youtu.be

original publication: Hoffmann, M et al. (2020). SARS-CoV-2 cell entry depends on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and is blocked by a 2 clinically-proven protease inhibitor. Cell, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.02.052


UPDATE – Leibniz Conference on Bioactive Compounds postponed

due to the risks of corona virus infections, various institutes have now imposed travel restrictions. In view of the current developments and after consultation with the host institutes (FZB Borstel and CSSB Hamburg), we have therefore decided to postpone the Leibniz Conference on Bioactive Compounds until autumn. New dates are currently being worked out, probably for October, and will be communicated to you as soon as possible. Information available online: https://www.leibniz-wirkstoffe.de/forthcoming and https://events.ipb-halle.de/event/49

We hope that all speakers and participants can join us: this time the program has been better than ever, featuring new program elements and a poster prize – it should be the same in autumn.

Registration and abstract submission online stays open: https://events.ipb-halle.de/events/49

Date: expected in Oktober 2020 – exact date will be announced soon


The Wirkstoffradio visits the HKI in Jena – interview with Dr. Florian Kloß

The Wirkstoffradio-Team was guest in Jena at the Hans Knöll Institute (HKI), Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology with Dr. Florian Kloß, head of the Transfer Group Anti-infectives. Dr. Kloß introduced the world of infectious diseases and research on active substances against infections:- the anti-infectives. The interview is available in German here.


Bioactives Cloud-workshop for Alliance members

Programme: https://events.ipb-halle.de/event/56

Colleagues involved in the development of the Leibniz Bioactives Cloud Project met at the Leibniz-Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Halle (Saale) on 29th of January 2020. The workshop provided up-to-date information on the project as well as gave a platform to discuss existing initiatives in detail. Please click here for the video. The presentation ist avalibale as PDF.


Invitation of the Leibniz-EU-office:

“European Research Council (ERC) – Workshop for potential applicants from Leibniz institutes”

  • Date and time: March 18, 2020, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Place: Leibniz Association, Chausseestr. 111, Berlin
  • Please click here for the final agenda.

This event is aimed at potential ERC applicants as well as multipliers from all institutes of the Leibniz Association. It will provide information on the rules and requirements for proposal writing, as well as on the evaluation procedure. In addition, an ERC panel member as well as a successful ERC grantee will share their experience with the evaluation procedures and the application. There is no participation fee.

You will also have the opportunity to book an individual advice session after the main event. The slots for these sessions will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis.

Please click here for the registration form. Please submit your registration until February 26th and sending it to events@leibniz-association.eu


Call for application by our member institute IPK Gatersleben

Challenging new Ideas – become female junior group leader at the IPK. More information here: IPK_Junior_Group_Leader.


EU-Openscreen General Director Wolfgang Fecke Guest Speaker at the Member Assembly of the Alliance – 25. Annual Meeting of the Leibniz Association

Steigenberger Hotel am Kanzleramt, Ella-Trebe-Straße 5, 10557 Berlin, Salon 1

Dr. Wolfgang Fecke, General Director of EU-OPENSCREEN followed our  invitation and presented the project, integrating high-capacity screening platforms throughout Europe, which jointly use a rationally selected compound collection, comprising up to 140.000 commercial and proprietary compounds collected from European chemists.


PRIZE “LEIBNIZ BIOTECHNOLOGY PROCESS 2019”

Researcher team at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB Halle) awarded

To honor the important field of new biotechnological processes, the Leibniz Research Alliance Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnology awarded the Prize “Leibniz Biotechnology Process 2019”. The research team of Professor Ludger A. Wessjohann and Dr. Martin Dippe at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) was honored for their work on the sustainable large-scale production process of the bitter-masking flavanone homoeriodictyol (HED).

Homoeriodictyol (HED) represents the active principle of the desert plant Eriodictyon californicum – a medicinal plant already used by indigenous population of Mexico. HED shows a pronounced bitter masking effect, which is why there is great interest in using this natural product in the food and pharmaceutical industries. HED, however, cannot be obtained in sufficient quantities from plant material as Eriodictyon cannot be grown and the wild stocks of the plant are threatened.

The aim of the project was therefore to develop a sustainable process for the large-scale production of HED. Chemically, it is a flavanone biosynthetically derived from the plant ubiquitous precursor naringenin. Naringenin is available in large quantities, it is a cheap, but hardly economically used waste product from press residues of orange juice production. The conversion of naringenin to HED occurs in two enzymatic steps (patents WO2016/050656A1, 15188136.4, WO2016/050656A1). Advantages of the method are that (I) a waste product is biotechnologically upgraded into a high-priced drug, and (II) it does not require the external addition of the above-mentioned costly cofactors, which are taken from the cellular base metabolism.


Berlin Science Week, Leibniz debates – Leibniz Theme  Day “Health”

As a part of the Berlin Science Week and the event “Leibniz debattiert” (“Leibniz Debate”), this time on the subject of vaccination/immunization, a Leibniz Theme Day took place on 5. November 2019 from 17:00 in Berlin.

Our LRA Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnology was presented for visitors of the event. Our presentation was supported by the colleagues of the Leibniz Research Cluster, our Wirkstoffradio-project and the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich.

Program flyer (in German): Flyer_Leibniz_debattiert_Impfen.

photo: Leibniz Gemeinschaft/Oliver Lang

photo left, left to right: Dr Sina Gerbach, Dr. Erik Freier, Dr. Anna Rusznyak, Dr. Vito Valiante (photo: Dr. Erik Freier)

photo right, left to right: Dr. Gisela Olias, Dr. Anna Rusznyak

 


First PhytoAD Symposium at the IPB on neuroactive substances from plants

On 21st and 22nd of October, scientists met at the PhytoAD Symposium in the IPB to present their latest research on plant bioactives. They discussed natural drugs from St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), inflammation inhibitors from other medicinal plants and treatment approaches for Alzheimer’s disease. In between, external guests among the about 30 participants joined guided tours to visit the facilities and technical equipment of the institute. Read more


THE ALLIANCE WELCOMES NEW IT-COLLEAGUE AT IPB IN HALLE:

Fabian Mauz will support Bioactives Cloud-Team

Mr. Fabian Mauz has joined the IPB beginning of June 2019. He studied economic informatics at the Martin Luther University in Halle with specialisation in mathematical optimisation and statistics. He has 10 years of work experience as a software developer with JAVA and MATLAB (Price [it],Halle). Email: fabian.mauz@ipb-halle.de

The Bioactives Cloud Newsletter: Newsletter Leibniz-Cloud