Within the last years it was proven that stress of the endoplasmatic reticulum (ER-stress) can play a role in the development of several diseases. ER-stress is caused by deficient production or misfolding of proteins followed by their accumulation in the cell. To prevent cell damages these "stored" proteins need to be degraded or disposed, which is done by specific ER-stress disposal mechanisms of the cell. Errors in protein folding or in the ER-stress disposal mechanisms have been confirmed for some hereditary storage diseases like for example liver diseases and forms of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Permanent ER-stress will lead to the development of local inflammation, tissue decline and to chronic organ damages.
The project uniquely combines expertise of the leading research groups in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the field of protein misfolding and thereby caused ER-stress, producing severe diseases of the liver and pancreas. The participating clinical scientists from Greifswald and Rostock will not only investigate the mechanisms behind hereditary liver and pancreas diseases, but at the same time will develop and test new pharmaceutic active ingredients together with partners from fundamental research. The newly developed pharmaceutic active ingredients are supposed to help preventing ER-stress or, respectively, to support or stimulate the degradation of misfolded proteins in the cell.
Besides translational and fundamental research the project strongly emphasizes the promotion of young researchers to foster their scientific careers: Within the project duration two junior research group leaders, six postdoctorates, ten Ph.D. students and 17 M.A. students and medical doctoral candidates, respectively, will be funded to reach a higher qualification level in their scientific careers.
The following scientific questions and subprojects will be worked on:
The research project PePPP is funded within the framework "Excellence Initiative of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania" in the current funding period 2014 - 2020. The project started in January 2017 and will run until the end of March in 2021 with a budget of almost 5 Mio. Euro. The funding is povided by the European Social Fund (ESF) of the European Union. The programme specifically focuses on young scientists at research institutions in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania who join together in research associations and will promote their scientific careers through reaching a higher qualification.