Outgoing Lab Visits

This special offer aims at young Berlin scientists from the eight institutions participating in the EC3R. With this call, the EC3R gives them the opportunity to learn about innovative technologies and applications of 3R research that complement the methodological competencies within Berlin, referring to all three Rs - not only to the replacement of animal models or the use of alternative methods. Travel and accommodation costs of up to 3.000 € per person can be reimbursed. All applications will be reviewed by members of the EC3R according to transparent and strict criteria.

In 2023 Morris Baumgardt (Charité), Sijie Liu (FU Berlin) and Sunhild Hartmann (Charité/ECRC) were funded.

Note: Unfortunately, the funding program is currently suspended

The Grantees for 2022

Sarah Schmerbeck (Charité) – visiting the lab of Prof. Dr. Alastair Buchan, University of Oxford, England

As part of the EC3R Outgoing Lab Visit Program, Sarah Schmerbeck, PhD student in the group of PD Dr. Mergenthaler, visited the group of Prof. Alastair Buchan at Oxford University, and collaborated with Dr. Paul Holloway. The research of Prof. Buchan and Dr. Holloway combines multicellular 3D models with advanced microfluidic organ-on-chip systems. Dr. Holloway has successfully established several organ-on-chip platforms that reproduce various key aspects of pathophysiological stroke mechanisms. The system used for this project comprises of a 3D neuro-glial-vascular-unit-on-chip that combines three main cell types of the blood brain barrier (BBB): endothelial cells, pericytes and astrocytes. Ultimately, this chip system will be tested as a complementary approach to the PhD project of Sarah Schmerbeck to study neuroinflammation after stroke.

Pragati Parakkat (MDC & Charité) – visiting the lab of Prof. Dr. Thomas Eschenhagen, UKE, Germany

"The research and advanced training experience at the Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) was excellent. I had the rare opportunity to study pressure and volume overload in human engineered heart tissue using the well-built infrastructure. I was given the opportunity to present my work to the experts at UKE and received valuable feedback and encouragement. The dynamic research environment fosters active discussions and challenges young investigators to think out of the box. The insights and connections I gained at UKE will remain valuable for life."

Clemens Alexander Wolf (FU Berlin) – visiting the lab of Dr. Henri Xhaard, Universität Helsinki, Finnland

"With generous financial support provided by the Einstein Centre 3R Berlin I was given the chance to visit the lab of Dr. Henri Xhaard at the university of Helsinki between August and November 2022. I’m a computational scientist conducting research into disease-related proteins employing in silico modelling techniques with the overarching aim of designing innovative and highly selective disease-modifying small molecules. Computational research is fit to cut down on the number of animal sacrifices necessary for sufficient testing of novel chemical entities to enable market authorisation. My PhD project is concerned with the investigation of orphan cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes such as CYP4A11, which is suspected to be implicated in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). I received valuable training in computational techniques for modelling protein structures and ligand binding behaviour complementary to those established in my home lab in Berlin. Consequently, I was able to obtain a set of promising hit compounds with potential to inhibit CYP4A11 currently undergoing final selection ultimately leading up to in vitro testing by our collaborators. Taken together, the research visit both equipped me with an incredibly rewarding opportunity to foster mutual intercultural understanding and took my research an enormous step forward."

The Grantees for 2023

Morris Baumgardt (Charité) – visiting the lab of Prof. Sarah Hedtrich, University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada

"The ongoing development of lung epithelial models is a central challenge in order to generate physiological human lung models. I had the opportunity to learn and apply the building and cultivation of so-called "air-liquid interface" (ALI) lung models in the working group of Prof. Sarah Hedtrich at the University of British Columbia (UBC). I am now able to combine and develop the methods established in our working group for generating human lung epithelial models with the newly acquired method. This is of great importance as part of my doctoral thesis, which focuses on the simulation of viral lung infections. As part of the EC3R Outgoing Lab Visit, I have been able to benefit from a valuable exchange on both a scientific and personal level."

Sunhild Hartmann (Charité/ECRC) – Research stay with Dr. Martin Gauster at the Medical University of Graz

"Through the EC3R Outgoing Lab Visit Program, I had the opportunity to go to Graz to work in Dr. Martin Gauster's group as part of my doctoral thesis. In Berlin I am researching the molecular basis of pre-eclampsia and in Graz, thanks to the collaboration between the clinic and the laboratory, I was able to develop a protocol in which a potential pre-eclampsia factor is activated in placental explants. The explants are then analyzed in Berlin and Graz in order to better understand the molecular causes of pre-eclampsia."

Sijie Liu (FU Berlin) – visiting the lab of Dr. Johannes Kirchmair, University of Vienna, Austria

“Enhancing the precision of in silico predictions regarding the metabolism and toxicological attributes of potential drug candidates through cheminformatic methods represents a vital approach in reducing the necessity for animal testing. I spent nice time at Prof. Johannes Kirchmair's COMP3D group and gained valuable insights into their open-source online platform, "The New E-Resource for Drug Discovery (NERDD)," which incorporates tools for predicting metabolism. As a PhD student majorly works on computer-aided drug design, and highly interested in modeling orphan Cytochrome P450s, it becomes crucial for me to avoid selecting compounds that potentially lead to drug interaction caused by inhibiting the major CYPs. I also acquired the knowledge of appropriately curating and training prediction models employing machine learning and deep learning algorithms during my internship there. Furthermore, my internship at the University of Vienna allowed me to engage in the EUROPIN summer school on drug design, where I had the opportunity to attend enlightening presentations on in silico toxicity prediction tools in the field.”