New Leibniz Science Campus in Hamburg: InterACt

Hamburg has acquired a Leibniz Science Campus: InterACt-which stands for "integrated analysis of pathogen-induced compartments"--is a cooperative project to strengthen connections between The Heinrich Pette Institute Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology (HPI) and Universität Hamburg in the field of structural systems biology and infection research. Researchers work alongside colleagues at other research institutions such as the Centre for Structural System Biology (CSSB) to study the functions and structures of viruses, bacteria, and parasites. The Leibniz Association sees the Leibniz Science Campi as a way to strengthen research cooperation between universities and non-university research institutions. They should create networks that can further develop specific research areas and cultivate a scientific environment conducive to specific topics.

At the Science Campus InterACt, researchers want to investigate the role of reaction chambers in cells. Reaction chambers or compartments are enclosed areas within cells in which, for example, special metabolic processes take place. During the course of a cellular infection, pathogens often use these niches for specific stages in their life cycles. InterACt’s goal is to study the processes and structures in these reaction chambers and, in the long term, to find new therapeutic approaches. Kay Grünewald (CSSB) will act as spokesperson for InterACt, which will begin its work on 1 May 2019.

President of Universität Hamburg Dr. h. c. Dieter Lenzen said: "The creation of a new Leibniz Science Campus devoted to infection research is yet another example of the excellent cooperation between the University and non-university research institutions. This cooperation is promising: Together, we in Hamburg want to tackle the numerous pathogens."

In the next 4 years, InterACt will receive a total of approximately ¤6.6 million in funding. Universität Hamburg will contribute ¤2.8 million, HPI will contribute roughly ¤1.5 million, the Hamburg Ministry of Science, Research and Equalities will contribute ¤1.2 million, and the Leibniz Association will contribute ¤1.1 million. Four new research groups will be created in the context of InterACt. They will focus on the junction between virology and integrative data analysis. Universität Hamburg will advertise for a W3 professorship for computational systems biology and a W1 professorship for infection research; the HPI will set up a new early career research group. Furthermore, the University and HPI are planning to establish a joint W3 temporary professorship.

In addition to the HPI and Universität Hamburg, the HPI’s 2 partner institutes-the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Research Center Borstel / Leibniz Lung Center-will also take part in the Science Campus InterACt. The new Science Campus in Hamburg is one of 22 Science Campi in Germany.