The Institute of Cell Biology (Cancer Research) (IFZ) at the University Medicine Essen in Germany was founded in 1975 by Professor Manfred F. Rajewsky as first Institute of Cell Biology in Cancer Research at a University Hospital in Germany aimed at a close collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians. Nowadays the IFZ is integrated into the Comprehensive Cancer Center Essen – West German Cancer Center (CCC-WTZ) at the University Medicine Essen – University Hospital.
The IFZ has currently two departments, the Molecular Cell Biology Group (chaired by Prof. Dr. Verena Jendrossek) with the junior research groups of Prof. Dr. Diana Klein, PD Dr. Justine Rudner, Dr. Johann Matschke, Dr. Florian Wirsdörfer, and Dr. Silvia Vega Rubin de Celis) and the Molecular Genetics Group chaired by Ralf Küppers with the junior research group of PD Dr. Marc Seifert). The IFZ also runs the Genomics and Transcriptomics Facility (GTF) of the Medical Faculty headed by Dr. Rene Scholtysik and will be completed by a third department, presumably in spring 2021.
The scientific research of the IFZ focuses on basic cancer research about cancer initiation and treatment. The research groups at the IFZ use various scientific and methodological strategies to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms driving cancer development and progression, and thereby to provide a scientific basis for rational therapies and therapy optimization. Moreover, the institute has a long-standing interest in the development and improvement of modern methods of biomedical research and biotechnology such as genome and transcriptome analysis, next generation sequencing, high-speed cell sorting, high- resolution single cell analysis, and a wide variety of modern cell biology and radiobiology approaches including also animal models.
The Molecular Cell Biology Group directed by Prof. Dr. Verena Jendrossek represents the partner of the Marie Sklodowska Curie ITN THERADNET at the University Medicine Essen-University Hospital. Her group focuses on molecular mechanisms that determine intrinsic, microenvironment-mediated, and adaptive radiation resistance of cancer cells or radiation-induced immune changes. The group also investigates molecular and cellular mechanisms driving radiation-induced normal tissue toxicity such as vascular remodeling, immune deviation, and tissue reprogramming. The overall goal of the group is to discover and validate therapeutic targets for radiation response modulation in tumors and normal tissues for a biologic optimization of the therapeutic ratio of radiotherapy, and to define biomarkers of therapy response in single projects as well as in a German consortium with a systems approach in radiobiology research. The group has ample expertise in preclinical in vitro and in vivo models of tumor and radiation biology and also closely collaborates with several clinical departments at the University Hospital Essen as well as the non-academic partner in Essen, the West German Proton Therapy Center (WPE) with the Clinic of Particle Therapy chaired by Prof. Dr. Beate Timmermann. Verena Jendrossek is a speaker of a local graduate program in radiation sciences GRK1739.