Photonics is a strongly growing sector of the economy and a major research area in Europe. In Thuringia and in particular in Jena, the scientific and industrial location is shaped by universities, research institutes and companies in the field of optics and photonics. While the number of young, well-trained female graduates is high, women who hold a leading position in academia and high-tech industry are still underrepresented.
Leibniz-IPHT is a strong research partner: Cooperations on the national and international level play a major role in Leibniz-IPHT's research. In the region, Leibniz-IPHT collaborates closely with the University of Jena and the University of Applied Sciences Jena. Within the non-academic institutions in Jena, Leibniz-IPHT takes on a joint role between photonics and the life sciences. In regional networks such as "optonet" and "medways" Leibniz-IPHT is a sought-after partner for industry.
Leibniz-IPHT currently participates as a research partner in more than 120 national joint research projects. In the biophotonics research focus supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Leibniz-IPHT coordinates a program for the development of optical solutions to biological and medical problems.
Leibniz-IPHT has taken on a coordinator role in several projects, including the Leibniz research alliance for healthcare technologies and the "Infectognostics Research Campus Jena" as well as the European Network of Excellence "Photonics4Life".
Leibniz-IPHT currently maintains collaborative efforts with partner from 45 countries, The institute is a founding member of the international network "Biophotonics4Life" and is active in distinguished scientific organizations.
INFECTOGNOSTICS RESEARCH CAMPUS JENA: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP FOR INNOVATIONS
The InfectoGnostics research campus is a public-private partnership developing new methods in infection diagnostics. In a triad of technology, application and production, more than 30 partners from science, medicine and industry are developing marketable solutions for rapid and cost-effective point-of-care testing of infections in human medicine, testing systems for animal diseases and for pathogen detection in food. Within the joint project "Pneumonia in Immunosuppression" seven public and private partners aim at developing a reliable, rapid and non-invasive diagnostic tool for pneumonia pathogens and their resistances. The InfectoGnostics research campus is one of nine funded initiatives "Research campus – Public-private Partnership for Innovation" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
LEIBNIZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES: PRECISE TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS FOR URGING MEDICAL QUESTIONS
The Leibniz Research Alliance unites competences from different scientific areas: starting from photonics and medicine to microelectronics and material research, to economic research and applied mathematics. Alliance carefully develops innovative procedures that aid early disease detection, better control the effects of therapy and can easily be adapted to individual patients. These procedures improve treatment methods while minimizing their negative impact on patients. Telemedical and improved imaging examination methods, as well as the development of rapid testing designed for mobile use, also play an important role. Medical professionals, scientists and engineers work together intensively to ensure that the technical solutions adequately address the medical problems. Social scientists investigate questions of marketability and how society will respond to newly developed products.
www.leibniz-healthtech.de (content only available in German)
The Leibniz ScienceCampus InfectoOptics in Jena is a collaborative research project of the Leibniz Institutes HKI and IPHT with the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and other extra university research institutions. Researchers from the life sciences and optics/photonics closely work together with the aim of investigating and combating infectious diseases by means of novel optical technologies.
The LSC InfectoOptics is funded by the Leibniz Association and links infection biology with optical physics – two very strong scientific fields with a longstanding tradition in Jena. At the participating institutions, junior scientists will carry out joint interdisciplinary research projects.
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN THE FIELD OF OPTICS AND PHOTONICS
The Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) is the academic center of scientific activities in the fields of optics and photonics at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität (FSU) Jena. Research on fundamental and applied topics is conducted in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute Jena, the Helmholtz Institute Jena and the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology. Its main mission is to promote interdisciplinary research and education, jointly performed by scientists from different subject areas, spanning physics, material sciences, chemistry, biology and medicine.
ACP follows the vision to be one of the leading European centers for research and education in optics and photonics as well as in the development and transfer of optical technologies until 2020. To this end, the ACP fosters and sustains strong links with local industry partners as well as with the international scientific community.
The “Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC)” at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena is not only an Excellence Graduate School, but also a lively network of scientists from a broad variety of natural & life sciences institutes and an umbrella organization for three Research Training Groups in Jena. The JSMC was first awarded funding within the German Excellence Initiative in 2007. In June 2012 the Excellence Status of the JSMC was confirmed and funding for an additional five years was granted to the Graduate School.
Today, JSMC hosts a total of about 150 doctoral researchers. Their research projects are situated at the numerous institutes that make up the JSMC network, including institutes and clinics at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena as well as non-university research institutions.
JENA BIOPHOTONICS AND IMAGING LABORATORY
The DFG-funded Core Facility Jena Biophotonic and Imaging Laboratory (JBIL) combines spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques and devices present at different facilities in Jena. It is a user-open platform gives researchers in life science and medical applications unique access to method-comprehensive, multi-modal imaging techniques. The JBIL aims at enhancing the collaboration and communication between scientists using spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques and improving the utilisation of the available resources in Jena.
The JBIL is a joint initiative of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), the Jena University Hospital (JUH), in particular the Center for Sepsis Control and Care (CSCC), and the Friedrich Schiller University (FSU) Jena. The JUH is contributing to the JBIL e.g. with the Core Unit Biophotonics of the CSCC.
PHOTONICS IN THE LIFE SCIENCES - LIGHT FOR HEALTH
Using state-of-the-art optical methods, biophotonic research traces the processes of life in order to understand wide-spread disease in their origins, recognize disease symptoms in an early stage and to develop highly-efficient methods for therapy of diseases. On the long run it is hoped, that first warning signs of the human body can be detected in such an early stage, that the outbreak of a disease could be prevented at all. Since 2002, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) supports the scientific field that is highly-relevant to society and economy with a research initiative.
HEMOSPEC – EUROPEAN PARTNERS JOINING FORCES FOR HEALTH
Within the EU-supported research project HemoSpec, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, clinicians and engineers from six European countries has joined forces to develop an innovative device for early, fast and reliable medical diagnosis of infectious diseases and sepsis using only minimal amounts of patient's blood.
Driven by the demands of clinical partners, HemoSpec partners combine three key enabling technologies for precise blood examination. One common user interface, common data storage and analysis software will make the dense information from HemoSpec available to the clinical enduser in a single working step.
Raman4Clinics is an EU-funded networking project in the frame of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology Action (COST-Action). It pools European expertise to step forward in the field of novel, label-free and rapid technologies based on a wide variety of Raman spectroscopies for the clinical diagnostics of body fluids, bacteria, cells and tissues. The Action creates a platform for scientific communication, exchange, collaboration and for new research activities, combining the partners’ expertise in technology, component, system and methodology development and medical application. As a result, novel technology portfolios for clinical diagnostics will emerge to the benefit of patients as well as to the economy.
The Center for Sepsis Control & Care (CSCC) is one of eight Integrated Research and Treatment Centers funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF). The CSCC is an institution at the Jena University Hospital (JUH) and addresses sepsis research covering all aspects of the disease and its sequelae. Topics include risk assessment, prevention, and acute care as well as long-term sequelae and rehabilitation.
The CSCC strives to reduce the burden of sepsis by improving diagnostics and treatment, develop attractive career prospects in clinical research, and establish an optimal environment for excellent clinical research.
The CRC 1076 AquaDiva, which is funded by the German Research Foundation, started in 2013 and focusses on the role of water and biodiversity for shaping the structure, properties, and functions of the subsurface. Using karstic limestone aquifers in the Hainich region in Thuringia as a model system, a team of researchers from the fields of biology, geology, chemistry, and hydrology apply analytical approaches ranging from „omics“ to isotopes and biomarkers, using a combination of complementary field, laboratory and modeling investigations to span the relevant spatial scales.
The principle aim of the CRC AquaDiva is to increase our understanding of the links between surface and subsurface, especially how organisms inhabiting the subsurface CZ reflect and influence their physical, ecological, and geochemical environment, and affect water and matter transiting the CZ. To achieve this, we have constructed a novel infrastructure platform, the Hainich Critical Zone Exploratory (CZE), to study how water and gas fluxes link surface vegetation and soils under different land management to aquifer complexes.
In the CRC/TR ReceptorLight high-end light microscopy techniques with highest spatial and time resolution are applied and further developed to gain deeper insight into the function of membrane receptors. Following the binding of so-called ligands, membrane receptors generate signals that control the cells of an organism in a multifaceted manner. In the past years new light microscopy methods have provided essentially new insights into the function of membrane receptors, for example into the rates of ligand binding to and the conformational changes within the membrane receptors.
The working groups in Jena and Würzburg contributing to ReceptorLight bundle their methodological expertise in the field of high-end microscopy with that in the fields of physiology and biophysics of membrane receptors. This collaboration aims to generate new insight into the function and distribution of diverse membrane receptors, and in parallel, to induce the development of new high-end light-microscopy methods. The 21 projects will use e.g. super-resolution microscopy, 3-dimensional two photon calcium imaging, single-molecule strategies, tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, confocal patch-clamp fluorometry, Förster resonance energy transfer analyses and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy as well as combinations thereof. These methods and complex mathematical algorithms for the analysis of the data will be used by the participants of ReceptorLight in close collaboration.
InfectControl 2020 is a consortium of representatives from enterprises and academia that jointly aims at developing solutions regarding these problems on a national and global level. Proposals for solutions are being developed within the scope of the funding programme „Zwanzig20 – Partnerschaft für Innovation“ headed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). With InfectControl 2020, a highly innovative research alliance has been established that aims at developing and commercially implementing basically new strategies for the early recognition, the control and successful approaches to fight infectious diseases.
18 Companies and three research institutions have teamed up in the Innovative Regional Growth Core ›Tailored Optical Fibers‹ [TOF] to develop and market tailored optical fibers for future applications.
SMEs and larger companies will cooperate with research institutions in order to develop a joint technology platform for tailored fibers in new photonic applications. The involved enterprises intend to market the new fibers worldwide subsequent to the project. Potential fields of application are: sophisticated fiber optic metrology in industry and medicine, novel light sources for laser and material processing, or light emitting textiles.
Besides innovative high-tech products, such as high temperature fibers for resource exploration, fiber sensors for keyhole surgery, or smart surfaces for vehicle interiors, the cooperation will develop an efficient network, which will prospectively deliver tailored solutions for individual customer requirements in other market segments. In the long run, this approach will help to increase the companies’ turnover and create new jobs in the region.