TRR259 - Aortic Disease
University of Bonn
TRR259 - Aortic Disease
University of Cologne
TRR259 - Aortic Disease
University of Düsseldorf
TRR259 - Aortic Disease
TRR259 - Aortic Disease
TRR259 - Aortic Disease

Integrated Research Training Group (iRTG)

The overall aim of the iRTG is to train highly talented doctoral researchers and medical doctoral (MD) researchers to supply the next generation of researchers and clinicians. The iRTG provides an interdisciplinary and systematic educational program to foster expertise in basic cardiovascular research as well as professional, transferable skills for future career development. Students of the iRTG are educated in basic principles of the development of aortic disease, including pathophysiological mechanisms, immunological pathways, and pharmacological and interventional therapeutic approaches. The students learn the state-of-the-art techniques required to perform their own cutting-edge research, including the fundamentals of cell culture, complex animal experiments and phenotyping, molecular biology, imaging, flow cytometry, etc. Career-relevant soft skills are also taught within established graduate programs of the Universities of Bonn, Cologne, and Düsseldorf.

Training program

The iRTG emphasizes the importance of translational research and stimulates the development of basic science that is tailored towards actual medical need. Clinical workshops expose the students to cardiovascular medicine, with all the modern diagnostic and therapeutic potentialities, but they also work to elucidate unmet needs and future challenges in patient care. To achieve these ambitious educational aims, a structured training program for doctoral researchers and MD researchers has been established, which includes specific work within the projects of the consortium that will be completed through the doctoral theses.

© #221861
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Phovoir

Professional guidance through all steps of the iRTG is assured by a defined mentorship structure, provided by the project PIs and complemented by a thesis advisory team (TAT) made-up of members from the three participating sites. Regular iRTG-specific activities consisting of local events at each site for the local doctoral and MD researchers (scientific seminars, journal clubs, specialized soft-skill courses) and general events for all iRTG researchers (starting symposium, clinical workshops, annual retreats, summer school) ensure a broad scientific education for the iRTG students. Central coordination for the iRTG can be found in Bonn, and each committee of the iRTG contains experts from Bonn, Cologne, and Düsseldorf.







Support at different levels

Within the iRTG, we plan to enroll in total approximately 20-25 doctoral researchers. In addition, a specific year-long program for medical doctor researchers is offered to give them an initial education in basic research and hopefully encourage them to continue. TRR259 also has a clinician scientist program within the framework of Project Z. The funded MD fellows are also integrated into the training program of the iRTG.


One of our specific training goals for doctoral researchers is to complete their research within a three-year time frame with a first-author publication in a high-impact journal, while receiving a top-level scientific education and appropriate career-development training. One unique aspect of this iRTG program is the basic research mechanism-focused approach, closely linked to the clinical setting, at three sites with unique experimental and clinical skills. The iRTG program provides an innovative and interdisciplinary education for our doctoral and MD researchers by integrating cutting-edge research projects with collaborative supervision, complemented by a structured training program. The iRTG is hosted within the firmly established network of researchers and clinicians of the TRR259 as well as outstanding facilities and support services at all three sites.

In order to achieve these ambitious goals and to guarantee a structured, high-level, and quality-controlled scientific education, as well as a successful completion of the doctoral research projects, we have developed a core curriculum for the iRTG with the following major aims: (1) give doctoral researchers the opportunity to find a suitable topic based on their personal interest, (2) ensure their development in a structure and schedule that helps them to achieve their scientific goals, and (3) to actively exchange results and ideas between colleagues at the three sites.

Medical Students

A unique aspect of our program is that it actively encourages highly talented MD students to apply to the iRTG, thereby supporting their research track within the Medical Faculty. The iRTG not only aims to train the next generation of cardiovascular scientists, but also to provide an optimal environment for aspiring MD researchers. Since the program is specifically designed to facilitate close collaborations between different research groups, consisting of clinician scientists and basic researchers, interdisciplinary collaborations are a central core of our approach. Scholarship for approved candidates will last for one year including full-time lab work during one semester and the semester holidays. The students are obliged to attend the majority of the scientific seminars, journal clubs, and specialized soft-skill courses.

Clinician Scientists / GEROK

In order to be able to attract and integrate additional research-enthusiastic young medical doctors to science in general, and into our program in particular, we offer a clinician scientist program. Following a rigorous evaluation of candidates, this program funds the first research year of clinician scientists. Each candidate is subsequently supported by the host university for a second year of research. 


Avatar Hörr

Prof. Dr. Verena Hörr

Principal Investigator (Bonn)

Medical Clinic and Polyclinic II

Cardiovascular Imaging Research Group

University Hospital Bonn

Venusberg-Campus 1

53127 Bonn

Avatar Quast

Dr. Christine Quast

Principal Investigator (Düsseldorf)

Division of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Vascular Medicine

University Hospital Düsseldorf

Moorenstraße 5

40225 Düsseldorf

Avatar Mons

Univ.-Prof. Dr. sc. hum. Ute Mons

Principal Investigator (Cologne)

Clinic III for Internal Medicine

Cardiovascular epidemiology of ageing

University Hospital Cologne

Kerpener Str. 62

50937 Cologne

Avatar Fischbach

Dr. Cornelia Fischbach

Coordinator iRTG

Biomedical Center I, Building 13, 3G, room 22

Department of Molecular Cardiology

University Hospital Bonn

Venusberg-Campus 1

53127 Bonn

Wird geladen