The MCGG-SARS-CoV-2 project
A severely disturbed sense of smell and taste is the predominant neurological symptom of COVID-19 disease (Parma V et al. 2020). Scientists assume that the SARS-CoV-2 virus impairs chemosensory perception via other mechanisms than common cold viruses do (Cooper KW et al. 2020). In order to investigate these at the molecular level and thus create a scientific basis for new therapeutic approaches and test options, the Leibniz-LSB@TUM has received funding from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs for a research project started in June 2020. As part of the MCGG-SARS-CoV-2 project, the institute works closely together with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of Vienna.
MCGG-SARS-CoV-2 stands for: Molekularbiologische Charakterisierung von Geruchs- und Geschmacksrezeptoren bei Probanden mit positivem Nachweis von SARS-CoV-2-IgG-Antikörpern sowie auftretenden Geruchs- und Geschmacksstörungen.
Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR)
The Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR) is a group of scientists, clinicians, and patient advocates formed during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Members are spread across 30 countries on five continents. An LSB scientist is also a member of the GCCR, which is conducting a global study to assess the possible relationships between respiratory illnesses (e.g., COVID-19, influenza, the common cold) and their effects on smell and taste perception gcchemosensr.org/projects/. Preliminary results on recovery patterns, which should facilitate selection of appropriate therapeutic interventions, can be found here: www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-96987-0.
In the current Interreg program Bavaria-Austria a project for the organizational development of a "Coffee College" was recently accepted for funding. In this project, the Leibniz-LSB@TUM, under the leadership of Prof. Somoza, is cooperating with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Augustiner Chorherrenstift Reichersberg as the planned location of the Coffee College, as well as with the coffee roasting company "Original Habeshawit Coffee", also located there, and its cooperation partners in Ethiopia. Within this project, the foundation stone is now to be laid for an unprecedented structure, whose long-term goal is a sustainable creation of value for the product coffee for Ethiopia and subsequently for all coffee-producing countries in Africa. In other words, graduates from Ethiopia shall acquire skills to produce the product green coffee not only for the international export market. In day-to-day operations the entire value chain of coffee (from cultivation to marketing and consumption, including the use of by-products) is to be mapped in teaching, research and outreach. In addition, it is planned to generate valuable findings for the coffee industry in terms of quality assurance and optimisation through basic and applied research projects.
Competence Network 'Food Profiling - Solutions for Food Authentication'
Within the framework of the competence network 'Food Profiling' funded by the German Federal Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture, the Leibniz-LSB@TUM and 10 project partners from academic research and industry developed a new analytical strategy for the unequivocal identification of the geographic and botanical origins as well as the chemical identity of plant raw materials. In this project, the participants use state-of-the-art cell biological, analytical and instrumental methods in genomics, proteomics and metabolomics as well as high-resolution elemental and isotope profile analyses for identifications. The new insights will make it possible to authenticate raw materials and the derived food products to their source without any doubt.
The Leibniz Research Project 'Wheatscan' (completed)
The scientific objective of the Wheatscan Consortium is to elucidate the pathomechanism of wheat sensitivity, also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Aside from the Leibniz-LSB@TUM, another four renowned research institutes are part of the Wheatscan Consortium. In particular, the scientists aim to identify the wheat proteins causing wheat sensitivity and to characterize their functions. Based on this knowledge, the scientists want to develop better diagnostic tests for this sensitivity. In the joint project, the scientists will investigate the 60 main wheat cultivars grown in Germany between 1891 and 2010. They will focus on the potential of the wheat cultivars to stimulate the immune system dependent on the genetic variability (genome), gene expression (transcriptome) and the protein composition (proteome). In this multidisciplinary approach, the scientists want to develop the foundation for cultivating new types of wheat with as little pathogenic potential as possible, good nutritional and product characteristics as well as sufficient profitability.
Leibniz Research Consortium 'Sustainable Food Production and Healthy Nutrition' (closed 2021)
Together with twelve other Leibniz Institutes with scientists working in many different disciplines, the Leibniz-LSB@TUM contributes to the Leibniz Consortium 'Sustainable Food Production and Healthy Nutrition'. In this network, the partners have a common platform but work in a decentralized fashion. The objective is to link the activities of the partner institutes, to develop joint research activities in cooperation with each other and to bundle the research results for presentation to the public, politicians and the media. The objectives of the Consortium are the development of systematic scientific foundations to meet the interdisciplinary challenges of achieving 'sustainable food production and healthy nutrition' in their entire complexity on all levels and creating scientifically sound recommendations for society.
In December 2016, the joint research project 'Protein Paradoxes: Protein supply under the conditions of climate change – production, consumption and human health' started. The Leibniz Association funds this joint project with the objective to analyze and study potential strategies to supply sufficient protein to the growing global population in times of climate change.
Leibniz Research Network "Green Nutrition - Healthy Society"
Global food systems are the cornerstone of human and planetary health. The world population is estimated growing to 10 billion people by 2050. In order to supply the global population continuously with a healthy diet and at the same time preserving the livelihood of future generations, a timely and fundamental change in the global food system is necessary.
Under the present conditions of climatic and social changes and consequences, the transformation towards a healthy and sustainable food system requires cross-disciplinary solution strategies. The Leibniz Network Green Nutrition - Healthy Society comprises expertise from the areas of healthy nutrition, health, biodiversity, environment, climate change, food production and sustainable development as well as their social relevance. For us, a green diet is a physiologically optimized nutrition provided by resource-saving and sustainable food production, processing and distribution.
In addition to scientific exchange, the members of the network aim at identifying specific research needs on current issues in the field of healthy and sustainable nutrition; initiating interdisciplinary cooperation, far-sightedly promoting of young talent and careers; and establishing active exchange with political actors and regular transfer of knowledge in politics and the public.
Leibniz Research Alliance 'Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnology'
(since 01.01.2021 transferred to the Leibniz Network "Bioactives")
The Leibniz-LSB@TUM is one of 16 partners in the Leibniz Research Consortium 'Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnology'. The focus of the network is on the investigation of natural effector substances and their biotechnological production. Bioactives influence the aroma and taste of food but also contribute to the health of consumers. This applies for example to vitamins as well as to effector substances, which stimulate the immune system.
Within the alliance / network, Leibniz-LSB@TUM is involved in the project "Leibniz Bioactives Cloud" and, since 2021, together with the FMP, in the development and evaluation of a "Leibniz Bioactives News Portal". The research network initiated the Leibniz Bioactives Cloud project to create a decentralized platform for the exchange and analysis of data corresponding to specific issues in bioactives research.
Website of the alliance: http://www.leibniz-wirkstoffe.de/
Leibniz Research Network "Immune-Mediated Diseases"
An intact immune system protects us against infections and cancer. A malfunctioning immune system can therefore cause a wide range of diseases. In Germany, around ten percent of the population suffers from an immune-mediated disease, of which there are over 100 different types.
They include allergies, inflammatory neurological disorders, enteritis, rheumatism and diabetes. As well as weighing heavily on the patients and their families, immune-mediated diseases also have considerable economic costs. And there is still no cure for many of them — in part, because we do not fully understand them.
The aim of the Leibniz Research Network "Immune-Mediated Diseases" is to research and explain the mechanisms underlying these diseases and to develop suitable treatments. Leibniz Institutes working in a wide range of specialist disciplines are involved in this network.
Leibniz Research Network "Stem cells and organoids"
The development of methods for the generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPS cells) represents a groundbreaking step that allows more and more researchers to use human organ-like (organoid) experimental models in addition to or as an alternative to animal experiments. Combined with modern genome-editing techniques, this will enable the life sciences to develop entirely new human disease models.
Science will then be able to respond much more effectively to scientific arguments, some of which are serious, that question the value of animal experiments on the basis of species differences. In this way, it will also be possible to take better account of ethical and, in some cases, already legally binding requirements for replacing animal experiments that are relevant to society as a whole.
Through the methodological and technological exchange on stem cells and their application in the various research areas represented by the network partners, focusing on basic research, disease modeling, drug development, stem cell therapy, safety toxicological testing and species protection, a clear added value is generated within the Leibniz community, which takes into account the rapid technical development of this field. In summary, the Leibniz Research Network will combine competences, further develop the field, promote translation and make the field of stem cell research visible to the outside world within the Leibniz Association.
Cluster 'enable – healthy food choices in all stages of life'
The Leibniz-LSB@TUM is a partner in the 'enable Cluster' funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). Eleven leading research institutes with scientists working in various disciplines collaborate in this cluster. In the joint project, scientists pursue the objective of providing healthy and tasty food to people in all phases of their lives. They particularly plan to develop healthier convenience food products. Other significant aspects of the Cluster project deal with the questions how nutrition influences the health of people and how nutrition can help to prevent disease.