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16. January 2018

New chair for substance bioinformatics endowed by the Klaus Faber Foundation.

New chair for substance bioinformatics endowed by the Klaus Faber Foundation.

New chair for substance bioinformatics endowed by the Klaus Faber Foundation.

The Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) and Saarland University are jointly establishing an endowed chair for substance bioinformatics. The new professorship has been enabled by an initiative of the charitable Klaus Faber foundation. The 1.6 million euros from the Saarbrücken-based Klaus Faber foundation are thus supporting an area of research that is placed at the exact intersection of two key research topics in the Saarland, bioinformatics and active ingredient research. The professorial chair is designed to drive the research and development of new antibiotics for clinical-medical use, which are ever more urgently needed in view of growing bacterial resistance to the standard antibiotics. The funding period runs from 2018 to 2022.

A growing number of bacterial infections are becoming difficult to fight because the germs have partly become resistant to antibiotics by now. If the drugs are no longer effective, there is a risk of life-threatening complications and diseases. This makes the development of new antibiotics that bacteria have not yet developed a resistance to an important objective in medical drug research.

To draw closer to this aim, Saarland University and the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) have established a joint chair for substance bioinformatics that will be endowed with 1.6 million euros by the Klaus Faber Foundation over the next five years.

The two institutions' areas of expertise in this regard go hand in hand. "HIPS is a national and international leader in active ingredient research and scientifically outstanding in the natural science and research of active ingredients with a focus on developing antibiotics. The Centre for Bioinformatics at Saarbrücken University contributes the IT expertise for the drug development" is how university president Manfred Schmitt summarizes the strengths of the two research institutions. Bioinformatics has turned into a core discipline of medical drug research in recent years. Genome analysis of antibiotic-producing bacteria is as much part of its task area as the modelling of drug molecules, especially for antibiotics.

The professorship endowed by the Klaus Faber Foundation could enable the HIPS team and Saarbrücken University to gain new insights and knowledge in cooperation with the ZBI and all the involved units, while the Saarland consolidates its competitive edge as a substance research location.

The representative of Susanne Reichrath, Minister-President for Higher Education, Science and Technology, paid tribute to the Klaus Faber Foundation's extraordinary engagement in the name of Minister-President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, adding that the endowment comes as a great boost for the competence of the HIPS and university in the important area of substance bioinformatics, and thus serves to strengthen pharmaceutical research in the Saarland overall.

Professor Rolf Müller, managing director of the HIPS, showed himself greatly delighted by the endowment of the professorial chair: "I would like to thank the donors as well as the university for launching this professorship and working group, trendsetters for the HIPS and German Center for Infection Research, in cooperation with us. The search for effective medical drugs against resistant bacteria is one of the key issues of today's and tomorrow's substance research. This endowed chair combines the strengths of the Saarland as an intra- and extramural research location in the most excellent manner."

The Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) is a branch of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig. It was established by the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, and Saarland University in August 2009 with the objective of contributing to the development of new medical drugs and treatment options against infectious diseases.

The scientists at the HIPS are searching for new active substances and improving them for application in humans. They are also studying how the active substances reach their destinations. The HIPS is part of the Hannover-Braunschweig branch of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). 

The Klaus Faber Foundation is a partner of Saarbrücken-based Klaus Faber AG, one of Europe's largest cable distributors and a top provider in the cable and wire industry. The foundation supports suitable projects in medical research and applied medicine. The endowment of this new professorship is already the second engagement at Saarland University for the Klaus Faber Foundation, which is also enabling the creation of a Center for Corneal Diseases at the eye clinic of the University Clinic in Homburg with a donation of 1.2 million euros at virtually the same time. In 2016, the Klaus Faber Foundation had already involved itself in the financing of a cutting-edge operating theatre for vascular intervention at the CaritasKlinikum St. Theresia in Saarbrücken - the Klaus Faber Hybrid Operating Theatre - with a donation of 1.6 million euros.

The contractual agreement was undersigned in the rector's office of the university on 16/01/2018 in the presence of representatives from the Saarbrücken state chancellery (Ms. Susanne Reichrath, Ms. Stephanie Thomas), the management board of the Klaus Faber Foundation (Messrs. Detlef Thiery, Gerhard Pfefferle, Andreas Schmitt), management board of Klaus Faber AG (Messrs. Joachim Czabanski, Christian Reissner), the vice chairwoman of Klaus Faber AG, Ms. Marie-Therese Bettscheider and, from the HIPS and University, of Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller, the managing director of the Helmholtz Institute, of Prof. Dr. Rolf W. Hartmann, Prof. Dr. Anna K. H. Hirsch and the university's president, Prof. Dr. Manfred Schmitt.

Here's a link to the news report on SR.

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