Thematic Research NetworkINTEGRATIVE BLOOD BIOLOGY NETWORK (iBLOOD)
The blood system can arguably be considered one of the best model organs for studying basic biological principles, bridging molecular-, cellular-, tissue-, inter-organ- and temporal levels of analysis. This is primarily because the blood is a “liquid organ” which facilitates relatively easy sampling of all stages of hematopoiesis, from mature blood cells in the periphery, through to stem and progenitor cells in the bone marrow.
The ability to readily isolate live blood cells and blood products from healthy and diseased individuals and subsequently employ them in molecular and functional assays, has meant that the hematopoietic system has frequently been used as a pioneering model to uncover important, broadly applicable biological phenomena - from the regulation of gene expression at the globin loci through to the cancer stem cell concept.
Results based on fundamental research can be quickly translated into the clinical arena. The recent rise of cellular therapies with genetically modified blood cells may transform modern medicine.
Our vision for iBLOOD is
- to build on the pre-existing grassroots hematology community that already spans multiple Heidelberg University and University-associated institutions. The close links between clinical and basic research colleagues also provide exceptional opportunities for reverse translational research.
- to create a hub that actively attracts additional colleagues from across the natural sciences disciplines into blood associated research.
- to initiate the next generation of research approaches through the interdisciplinary nature of iBLOOD
- to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches based on groundbreaking basic research.
By integrating all institutions at the HMLS campus, we will create a collaborative network that provides the critical mass of interdisciplinary expertise, technology and resources that are necessary to perform studies that will help define the field during the next decade, and beyond.