Current research projects at the IHCE

Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability among young adults. The impairment of the often very young patients in daily life is a heavy burden for the affected person and leads to high healthcare costs. In recent years, electrostimulation of neurons has been suggested a promising approach to induce functional recovery of injured neuronal connections. However, standard electrode stimulation techniques require invasive methods and wiring of the patient. Purpose: We aim to combat TBI-induced disabilities by re-establishing neuronal connectivity. We will use light-sensitive semiconductors (photocaps) made from industrial colorants. They are easily available, stable, and non-toxic. Photocaps enable electrical stimulation of neurons with safe light intensities without the need for external wiring. Hypothesis: We suppose that the stimulation of neuronal cells via light-activated photocaps fosters functional recovery after TBI. Approach: In a multidisciplinary research approach we investigate the photocaps’ performance and effects on living systems. Cultured cells are an invaluable tool to develop optimal stimulation parameters before progressing to healthy and injured brain tissue. We will investigate the optimal time window after TBI in which stimulation yields the most extensive regenerative results. Our interdisciplinary research program brings together young independent researchers with backgrounds from neuroscience (Dr. Muammer Ücal), structural biology (Dr. Karin Kornmüller), electrophysiology (Dr. Susanne Scherübel) and electrical engineering (Dr. Theresa Rienmüller). Experiments will be conducted at the Medical University of Graz and Graz University of Technology.
Start: 30.04.2019
End: 29.04.2023
"Acute dearrangements in the cardio-reno-metabolic axis encompass complex and potentially acutly life-thretening conditions in a large group of patients in the intensive care unit setting. This project focuses on identifying, validating and translating biomarkers for the monitoring of a patients’ clinical course, specifically targeting treatment response as well as metabolites explaining mechanisms of action of used drugs. Comprehensively, in-silico modelling using computational methods is combined with conventional molecular biomarkers. CBmed project 3.3 proved the feasibility of in-silico modelling in acute kidney injury in critically ill patients by targeting patients’ fluid balance. Additionally, the Medical University of Graz under the leadership of Prof. Von Lewniski and Prof. Sourij designed and set up a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial investigating the impact of Empaglifozin on cardiac function and biomarkers for heart failure in patients with acute myocardial infarction (EMMY trial). The closely linked fields of cardio and renal biomarkers shall provide the opportunity to combine efforts in clinical decision support regarding improvements in monitoring the clinical course, as well as guiding related treatments. This will strengthen understanding of the cardio-renal axis and provide new opportunities to foster treatment efficacy for affected patients. The integration of in-silico modelling and conventional biomarkers into a digital platform for clinical decision support, takes into account CBmed’s strategy to enable cutting-edge technologies for patient care and adds up to digitalization initiatives targeting intensive care medicine with focus on the cardio-reno-metabolic axis."
Start: 31.12.2018
End: 30.12.2022
Institute of Health Care Engineering with European Testing Center of Medical Devices
Stremayrgasse 16/II
8010 Graz Tel.: +43 (0) 316 / 873 - 7378
Fax: +43 (0) 316 / 873 - 107378 Head
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Baumgartner