Pharmacology and Toxicology are closely related interdisciplinary fields, whose boundaries are not clearly defined. Understanding how xenobiotics influence living organisms and how their effects can be translated to therapeutic principles, or to prevention of toxicological outcomes, requires expertise from these as well as many other specialties.
At LMU Munich, the Walther Straub Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology is focused on doing state-of-the-art basic research at the intersection of these two disciplines. Education is also central to their work, with training opportunities for students in medicine, dental medicine, as well as the life sciences – building well-trained and interdisciplinary-minded professionals to solve the pharmacology and toxicology problems of tomorrow.
Reflecting this, the institute has been a German government-funded Collaborative Research Center for over 12 years. Researchers at the institute are focusing on ion channels to identify therapeutic targets. The specific proteins located within Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels control an exceptionally broad spectrum of homeostatic physiological functions with more than 20 hereditary human diseases caused by mutations in TRP genes.
Research includes: identifying Kinase-coupled TRP channels through which Calcium and Magnesium are transported; looking at the role Ion Channels play in Immunity, especially in gut lymphochytes; understanding the role of P2X receptors in pain and inflammatory processes; and looking at the role Endolysosomal Ion Channels play in neurodegenerative disease. This research and more will enable a much broader understanding of ion channels, and allow for a functional re-definition of the TRP channel family.
Producing research of the highest quality requires in depth-training. One way the institute does this is through a Research Training Group focused on Lung Toxicology. With Toxic Inhalation Hazards a major concern – from the workplace to terrorist incidents – this group allows doctoral students to gain a better understanding of lung injury through the combination of theoretical knowledge, methodological expertise, and research management.
The institute also offers an Elite Masters Program. Supported by the Elite Network of Bavaria, the Faculties of Biology and Medicine at LMU , the program provides a deep understanding of how health and disease work, leading to a Master of Science in “Human Biology”.
With research projects aimed at providing important new therapeutic targets in a number of areas, and training opportunities for advanced scientists, postdoctoral fellows, PhD candidates and Master students - the Walther Straub Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at LMU Munich is providing the knowledge and the expertise needed for the future of these two very interdisciplinary fields.