Multi-resistant pathogens and the associated risk of incurable infectious diseases represent one of the greatest challenges of our future. According to a study by the Charité Berlin, the worldwide number of annual deaths due to infections with multi-resistant pathogens could exceed ten million by 2050. This prognosis is not only frightening from a medical and social point of view, but also has serious consequences on an economic level. As such, the US Center of Disease Control and Prevention estimated the annual additional costs for the health system and the loss of productivity at this point to amount to 300 billion USD annually. These two examples illustrate the urgency with which we have to face these developments.
By founding the research network “New strategies against multi-resistant pathogens using digital networking” (bayresq.net) the Free State of Bavaria has taken a groundbreaking step towards overcoming this problem, which is highly relevant in terms of health policy. The right framework conditions have already been created in recent years in Bavaria with the establishment of a powerful and innovative life science research landscape. Successful research programs such as the Bavarian Genome Research Network (BayGene), the Bavarian Immunotherapy Network (BayImmuNet) and the Bavarian Research Network for Molecular Biosystems (BioSysNet) helped in interconnecting different stakeholders in life science in Bavaria. At the same time, these network programs demonstrated that interdisciplinary scientific cooperation on specific key topics enabled the area of life sciences to develop and advance in a special way. Based on these outstanding prerequisites, a new network program now follows, which will bring us a significant step forward in the struggle for new therapeutic approaches against incurable infectious diseases.
The new bayresq.net program supports research projects that develop new approaches based on interdisciplinary expertise in Bavarian science in order to gain a better understanding of infectious processes and the formation of microbial resistance. The six research projects of the new network program are each carried out jointly by a group of renowned scientists from Bavarian universities who work on various interdisciplinary research projects. Scientists from the following disciplines can be found in the new research program: biology, medicine, biochemistry, bioinformatics, mathematics and biophysics. This interdisciplinary
cooperation makes it possible to systematically examine complex research content. The research groups address numerous aspects from the development of new therapeutics to the effects of the immune system, the microbiome or the metabolome on the process of infection, both from the perspective of the host and the pathogen, with a particular focus on the properties and mechanism of action of the latter.
Full press release on the website of the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts (Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst):
Kampf gegen multiresistente Keime: Freistaat investiert für medizinischen Fortschritt über 10 Millionen Euro in Grundlagenforschung
Online press release:
Über 10 Millionen Euro für den Kampf gegen multiresistente Keime
We need interdisciplinary basic research in order to effectively counter the global threat of multi-resistant pathogens. The new research network ‘bayresq.net’ will help to close a major gap in the research and long-term control of these pathogens. Our universities in the Free State have essential expertise in this area. We are relying on their expertise to gain new insights in this field, to further promote the important interdisciplinary exchange and thus to find new ways to protect our health.
Source: Press release (Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst)
Photography of Bernd Sibler (bayerischer Wissenschaftsminister): Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst.
Another important aspect of cutting-age research is taken into account. By using state-of-the-art scientific methods and laboratory analysis, enormous amounts of data are generated, which not only have to be stored but also evaluated and put in relation to one another fast and efficiently. Without a superordinate modern data management system, research on complex issues such as infection processes would not be timely and target-oriented. Reliable predictions about reaction mechanisms and the development of infections can only be made by using high-throughput processes. The amounts of data collected in this way can only be evaluated and made usable for all scientists involved in the system using a structured, modern data management system. For the first time, an attempt is being made to make all the data collected accessible to all researchers involved in the network in the form of open data management. The experiences that are made in this context can then be used also for new future network programs. bayresq.net is an element of the strategy BAYERN DIGITAL, which is also used to finance the program.
The unrestricted exchange of data between the project groups enables all network partners to benefit from the results of other groups in parallel to their own research. Know-how can be exchanged in an impressive way and made available to all groups. For this purpose, the bayresq.net main office provides a dedicated infrastructure and conducts research on how common data standards are best created and in which for the data is of greatest benefit to the scientists. A close cooperation between the bayresq.net main office, specifically Andreas Hauser who is responsible for developing and implementing the data management and the scientists, as well as absolute trust, form the necessary basis of such an approach.
Through the projects of this research network, Bavaria will be strengthened both in the area of life sciences as well as data management. At the same time, the groundwork for the development of an improved medical care for future generations is being set. During the last few years, the Bavarian state government has been able to continuously improve the framework and conditions for the research landscape in Bavaria and thereby generated optimal conditions for innovative and novel research fields. The area of molecular biology, in particular, has managed to rapidly react to international trends as well as pick up and advance specific key topics relevant to the scientific community. Examples hereof can be seen in the “Bavarian Genome Research Network”, “Bavarian Immunotherapy Network” and “Bavarian Network for Molecular Biosystems”. The results of these funding programs have shown that a network of research projects across all universities in Bavaria always delivered a significant advantage for the development of science and the economy. The outstanding research landscape and the work on topics of special relevance are the two main pillar,s which in their internal and external impact have contributed to expanding biotechnology and molecular medicine as key technologies in Bavaria and making them visible on an international level.
The research network bayresq.net provides the opportunity to create important conditions for coping with future challenges within and beyond the borders of Bavaria by sustaining and stimulating basic research in areas such as immunology, the microbiome and infectious diseases.