Augsburg University Medicine
The Augsburg University Medicine is a project with great appeal in the region and beyond. In December 2016, the University of Augsburg founded a Medical Faculty. Based on the existing strengths of the university, research focuses on the two main areas of Medical Information Sciences and Environmental Health Sciences, which give new impetus to classical medical research. The model course integrates pre-clinical and clinical content and places special emphasis on the students’ academic education.
In addition to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Augsburg, the Augsburg University Medicine also includes the Augsburg University Hospital, a hospital offering the highest level of care. With more than 1,700 beds, it has been funded by the Free State of Bavaria since January 1, 2019. The two institutions cooperate on the basis of a cooperation agreement.
The concept for the research programme of Augsburg University Medicine rests on two interlinked focal research areas, "Environmental Health Sciences" and "Medical Information Sciences." In its expert opinion, the Science Council sees in this combination the potential for supraregional importance and a unique distinguishing feature of the Augsburg location. Both are being set up in Augsburg for the first time in Germany as central research topics of a university medical school. Furthermore, they complement the overall profile of the other medical locations in Bavaria. The Augsburg focal areas are supplemented by classical clinical areas such as vascular medicine, tumour medicine, and translational research.
The research programme consistently relies on existing structures, institutions and co-operations, thus, from the perspective of the Science Council, creating the prerequisites for successful implementation. Both focal areas take up existing expertise at the University of Augsburg: interdisciplinary health research, environmental research and computer science.
Medical Information Sciences
The research focus "Medical Information Sciences" - based on the paradigm "from big data to smart data" - aims to develop an intelligent approach to the large and heterogeneous data sets of medical research. There is a lot of data, for example from large cohort studies, health care, biomedical databases, but also from fitness apps. The challenge that is being explored is how to gain new insights from all this information. Other topics include the development of methods and technologies, and the building of new, internet-based infrastructures for a learning healthcare system. The healthcare sector, patient care, clinical research and biotechnology can benefit from this. In addition, the more efficient use of IT systems, research on telemedicine and mobile health (apps & wearables), as well as the computer-based modelling and simulation of disease outcomes, also from the aspect of environmental influences and therapeutic interventions, are further aspects of the "Medical Information Sciences focus area ".
Environmental Health Sciences
The research field "Environmental Health Sciences" aims to identify both positive and negative environmental impacts on health - including social impacts - and develop preventive approaches. Likewise, research is being carried out on the further development of diagnosis and therapy. Topics include air pollutants, environmental microbiology or climate change as well as societal influences on the development, course and treatment of diseases. It is not only skin diseases or respiratory diseases that are the focus of interest - rather, environmental factors also promote the development of diseases of the cardiovascular system such as heart attack or heart failure.
For the Science Council, this is a field of research that has not been adequately addressed in Germany, the subject matter of which is highly topical. "In the United States, the research field of Environment and Health has long been established as an essential area of medical research, in which very substantial funds are invested annually. In Germany, we want to strengthen this focus in Augsburg," reports Prof. Dr. Sabine Doering-Manteuffel from her trip to the United States, where she visited designated "Environmental Health Sciences" research centres. In addition to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, these include the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency and the prestigious Harvard University.