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LMU is the leading research and teaching university in Germany, ranking 1st in Germany in the latest Times Higher Education World University Ranking. With the neighboring Max-Planck, Helmholtz, and Technical University institutions, LMU represents a major hub for biomedical sciences in Europe. The Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research (ISD) was launched in 2010 as a new clinical research institute integrating basic research, patient-oriented research, and patient care. It is part of the LMU Medical Center (Klinikum der Universität München, KUM), and financed by a private foundation (annual budget ~5Mio €). The project team at ISD has ample experience in the design, coordination, analysis, and reporting of investigator-initiated clinical studies and trials (IITs) including international multicenter trials in the field of SVDs, stroke, and dementia.

The group at LMU are interested in the molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms of stroke and cerebrovascular disease. They use genetic approaches to identify novel risk genes and explore their functional role in vitro and in vivo using genome-editing, proteomics, and imaging technology. They are particularly interested in cerebral small vessel disease and large artery atherosclerotic stroke.

A major starting point of their work is patients with stroke that are examined through prospective clinical studies along with healthy individuals. They apply genetic (GWAS and sequencing) and other omics techniques to identify novel targets and pathways relevant to specific mechanistically defined stroke subtypes. They then use this information to explore relationships with informative intermediate (e.g. vascular, metabolic) and related phenotypes (e.g. coronary artery disease).

They have established genetic mouse models for cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) derived from the genetic discoveries (e.g. Notch3, HtrA1, Foxf2) and use these models to identify and characterize key molecular pathways (e.g. TGF-ß signaling) and cellular targets (e.g. brain pericytes) relevant to the pathogenesis of SVD.

Another area increasingly moving into the focus of their research is atherosclerosis. In collaboration with others, they recently identified several risk loci for large artery stroke and are currently exploring the role of relevant genes (e.g. HDAC9, TSPAN2) in atherogenesis and vascular injury.

Researchers: 
Martin Dichgans
Nathalie Beaufort
Katalin Völgyi