The research foci at TUM School of Medicine are closely related to the four major clinical core areas: Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Brain Diseases and Allergy & Immune Diseases.



The clinical core area Cancer has a long and successful tradition at TUM School of Medicine, both in clinical work and in research. In 2014 the Comprehensive Cancer Center Munich was awarded the title of an Oncological Top Center by German Cancer Aid. More than twenty MRI units collaborate in cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapy and in parallel engage in basic and translational research. This clinical core is supported by several funding consortia (SFB 824, TRR36, FOR 2033) and essentially contributes to the BMBF-funded German Cancer Research Consortium (DKTK). The scientific goal of the Cancer core area is to make use of basic scientific knowledge for therapy of cancer, on the basis of relevant disease models. This has been successfully accomplished for gastrointestinal tumors, leukemia and lympho-proliferative diseases, pediatric sarcoma, as well as hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Central topics in cancer research at MRI and the School of Medicine are:

  • Cell biology of cancer-related genes
  • Analysis of the tumor microenvironment
  • Development of new small and large animal models
  • Molecular and multi-modal imaging for cancer diagnostics and monitoring
  • Initiation of phase I and phase II trials and co-trials

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Cardiovascular Diseases

The clinical core area Cardiovascular Diseases encompasses seven clinical institutes, among them the Department of Internal Medicine I (Cardiology) and the German Heart Centre Munich. Taken together they form one of Germany’s largest clinical programs in cardiovascular medicine. The clinical departments closely interact with a number of research institutes, including Pharmacology, Human Genetics and Medical Statistics.

A special asset is the ISAResearch Center at DHM, which provides unique phenotypic facilities for coronary heart disease patients, follows cohorts of over 100,000 cardiovascular patients and includes comprehensive clinical and treatment records as well as a biobank. Based on these resources and its combined clinical and research strengths, members of this core area serve as coordinators for a number of research consortia funded through DFG, BMBF and EU grants. Moreover, investigators from this area have initiated the Munich Heart Alliance that represents the Munich location in the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK). The key research foci of this area are:

  • Large-scale discovery program for genetic underpinnings of cardiovascular disease
  • Guideline-relevant treatment studies in coronary artery disease
  • Clinical study center for management of phase II, III, and IV clinical trials
  • Generation of patient-specific iPSCs, their genetic modification and differentiation as human disease models for genotype/phenotype analysis

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Brain Diseases

The Brain Diseases core area integrates six clinical departments. Large clinical units focusing on degenerative and inflammatory conditions and pain provide the basis for collaborative clinical research on biomarkers, genetics, electrophysiology and imaging. The Brain Diseases core is strengthened by integration of the basic neuroscience institutes at TUM (Neuroscience and Neuronal Cell Biology) and joint appointments with Helmholtz partners, especially German Center for neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and HMGU. This clinical core area coordinates a number of consortia, including a DFG Excellence Cluster on systems Neurology (EXC1010, jointly coordinated with LMU), a DFG research training group (RTG1373), the BMBF competence network MS, the German-French BMBG network on Epigenetics in Parkinson Disease and the TUM Neuroimaging Center.

At the University hospital (Universitätsklinikum rechts der Isar) cutting-edge imaging technologies are developed and used to study the physiology and pathology of the nervous system. On this basis, new diagnosis and treatment strategies can be formulated. The clinical efforts in the Brain Disease core focus mainly on dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS), movement disorders, neurovascular disorders, neuro- and psycho-oncology, as well as pain states of altered consciousness. The research foci are:

  • Discovery of new genetic risk factors and biomarkers for movement disorders, neurodegeneration and MS
  • Neuro-glia-immune interactions and local regulation of immune responses in the brain
  • In vivo monitoring and modulation of neuronal activity
  • Imaging and modeling of neurological and psychiatric disease processes in vitro and in vivo
  • Evidence-based therapies for selected neuropsychological diseases

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Allergy & Immune Diseases

Allergology and immunology are concentration points of clinical research and patient care in our School, and a number of clinical departments, institutes and chairs contribute to the clinical core area Allergy & Immune Diseases. Of special importance for this core area is the close partnership with HMGU, for example by operating a joint Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM). In this core area, several joint projects are supported by DFG, BMBF, the Christine-Kühne-Foundation and the Else-Kröner-Fresenius Foundation.
Special efforts in this clinical core area are to bundle research activities in the Munich metropolitan science area (Munich Allergy Research Alliance, Center for Infection Medicine Munich), as well as to establish a GMP facility at MRI for production of cellular immune pharmaceuticals (TUMCells).
The main research foci are:

  • Identification of environmental and genetic risk factors as well as biomarkers relevant for the development of immunological disorders
  • Establishment of novel diagnostic tests for selected immunological disorders
  • Development of novel therapeutic strategies (precision immunotherapy)
  • Initiation of phase I and II trials for prophylactic as well as therapeutic interventions

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