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Helmholtz Zentrum München

The Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health (HMGU) is member of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of German National Research Centers and is managed as a limited non-profit company. Investigations are carried out in complex systems sustaining human life and health at the interface of environmental influences and genetic predisposition. The HMGU runs 25 scientific institutes. About 700 scientists, including 300 PhDs, work in close linkage to the other Helmholtz Research Centers as well as external research partners.

This past with EU and national grant experience places the HMGU in a strong position to meet all of the requirements expected of a contract coordinator in the large scale multi-national research efforts envisaged under FP7. The experienced officers of the Department Program Planning and Management are responsible for general strategy and management. They support the scientists in managing the flow of information, management consulting, cost calculation and general questions regarding the EC projects. Personnel and Finance Departments, as well as the Legal Department & Technology Transfer professionally manage all administrative issues and ensure the correct handling of the EC projects. Additionally, the EU Coordination Office of the Helmholtz Association in Brussels provides a direct local contact point to assist the HMGU in implementing new European standards, structures and guidelines (e.g. Consortial Agreements).

Two Institutes from HMGU will participate to the ECO. The institutes are well complementary one to another.

The Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (IBIS) has considerable expertise in computational quantitative and qualitative modeling, data integration, machine learning approaches, annotation, analysis and interpretation of data from large and small molecules. The Institute has over 50 scientists (postdocs and PhD students). The Chemoinformatics group of Dr. Tetko, provides expertise on machine learning computational approaches within the Institute and the center. The range of applications include prediction of physico-chemical properties, toxicological end-points, biological effects.

Research aims of the Institute of Ecological Chemistry (IEC) can be summarized under the topics: occurrence, fate and effects of chemicals in the environment, their remediation and the avoidance of hazardous effects. Five research groups work in areas of environmental organic and inorganic analysis, humic substances, ecotoxicology, decontamination, aerosols and environmental fate and impact assessment. The group of Prof. Schramm has strong expertise in environmental sciences, green and ecological chemistry as well as risk assessment of chemical hazards. The students will be supervised by both Dr. Tetko and Prof. Schramm.

The coordinator Dr. I.V. Tetko, is Chemoinformatics group leader in the IBIS. Dr Tetko has coordinated the INTAS project (8 groups across Europe, see http://www.vcclab.org, the site currently performs >100,000 predictions per year and is visited by >5,000 users per month) and was a group leader in three other projects within the FP5-FP6 frameworks. Within the CADASTER FP7 project this group will participate in the development of QSAR/QSPR models, will create a database of experimental data and models to disseminate project results. In 2006 Dr. Tetko received a prestigious national Go-Bio BMBF award (12 out of 176 applications were selected). Within this grant, his group develops new methods to predict physico-chemical (lipophilicity, aqueous solubility, pKa, melting point, etc.) and biological endpoints (toxicity, blood-brain barrier penetration, CaCo-2 permeation, etc.) as well as methodology for estimation of the accuracy of predictions.

Prof. Dr. Dr. K.-W. Schramm is head of the “Ecotoxicology and Environmental Trace Analysis” group, which uses international standard test procedures, HRGC/HRMS, cell lines etc. to characterize and assess chemicals in human and environmental samples and samples from industrial processes. The group deals with the development of new analytical techniques especially for sample preparation to early recognize environmental chemical impact at trace levels. They will provide all their expertise in the field of environmental trace analysis and biomonitoring as well as molecular ecotoxicology focusing on the development of novel biomonitoring, assessment methods and modeling fate and toxicity. This shall contribute to the training and exchange of knowledge about powerful, sustainable, and sound monitoring and modeling approaches including quality assurance and accreditation according to EN 17025. Prof. Schramm is also secretary of the International Society of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety (SECOTOX).

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