DZL expert joins panel discussion of Bench to Bedside Workshop of SPIE and NIH in Bethesda (USA)
Prof. Dr. Peter König (Lübeck University) has been invited to a panel discussion on translational research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He presented the concept of collaboration in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) using the example of his interdisciplinary project on Optical Coherence Microscopy.
How can translation of research – the transfer of research from bench to bedside – be achieved successfully? This much debated question was also a topic at the joint workshop of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the international Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE*). General subjects of this biennial meeting are research trends and future directions of the field.
This year the organizers invited Prof. Dr. Peter König of the Lübeck University (DZL partner site ARCN) to Bethesda (USA) to introduce a German perspective in the panel discussion „Translational Research“. König is collaborating closely with Gereon Hüttmann (also ARCN) from the Institute for Biomedical Optics (also in Lübeck) on Optical Coherence Microscopy (OCM). Their work is known across the pond. König and Hüttmann are aiming at the development of probes that can be introduced into the airways of patients in order to improve diagnostics.
The OCM project seems to be prototypically for translational research as it has an interdisciplinary approach and aims at application in patients: From basic research it utilizes knowledge on the physiological structure of the airways as well as pathological changes in chronic disease, e.g. COPD and asthma. Novel findings in microscopy and optics are used in order to improve imaging and advance miniaturization of probes. This part cannot be done without expertise from physicists and engineers. By now the technique has been tested successfully in tissues of experimental animals and human tissue samples. Thus, OCM is just one step away from being clinically used in order to improve diagnostics. In this project, interdisciplinary research means that biologists, physicists engineers and clinicians are working together hand in hand.
Peter König said that the DZL creates an excellent environment for accomplishment of such a project: „The typical obstacle of translational research, being everyone working for himself, is overcome by bringing basic scientists and clinicians together to work on solutions for clinical challenges. Especially this kind of collaboration enables a faster transfer of findings from basic research into diagnostics and therapy of patients.”
*SPIE: Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers