Team photo

HI-TAC holds its first conference

At the first Helmholtz Institute for Translational AngioCardioScience (HI-TAC) conference, researchers from the Max Delbrück Center and Heidelberg University discussed bridging the gap between vascular and cardiac research, and translating research findings to clinical practice.

AngioCardioScience is a new research area that combines cardiac and vascular research. During a two-day conference in Mannheim at the end of April, scientists came together to present and explore projects to further the goals of this new field of research.

Last year, the Max Delbrück Center and Heidelberg University announced a new research collaboration: The Helmholtz Institute for Translational AngioCardioScience, or HI-TAC, to focus on how metabolism, the nervous system and the immune system interact with the cardiovascular system to mediate interorgan communication. The complex signals transmitted through these systems contribute to health and disease, but very little research has been devoted to decoding them.

Focus on young researchers

An integral part of HI-TAC’s scientific mission is to encourage future generations of scientists to pursue AngioCardioScience research. Thus, a large part of the conference was devoted to the presentation of research ideas from early career investigators, as part of a HI-TAC early career investigator call for proposals. Senior scientists also presented their latest AngioCardioScience research projects. Scientists from both founding institutes were encouraged to team up and explore new projects to redefine cardiovascular research by bridging pioneering scientific discovery with clinical practice.

All projects will focus on six primary topics: angio-cardiac communication, neuro-angiocardiac communication, metabo-angiocardiac communication, cardiovascular aging, risk assessment as a prerequisite for secondary prevention and drug development in early preclinical translation. The goal is to understand normal and diminished cardiovascular function as people age, and to translate insights from research into the clinic.

Overcoming major challenges together

Understanding the mechanisms of inter-organ communication during health, aging, and disease is a grand challenge of modern biomedical research. The two-day conference was the first step toward addressing this challenge: HI-TAC researchers are now working together to stabilize bridges, not only between the institutions involved, but also between vascular and cardiac research.

Text: Timo Grießmann