Main areas of research
Medical Information Sciences
The research focus “medical information sciences”, with its principle of “big data to smart data”, aims to develop intelligent use of the large quantities of heterogenous data involved in medical research. There are many types of these data: for example, data from large-scale cohort studies, from patient care, from biomedical databases, but also from fitness apps. The challenge addressed here is how to gain new insights from a combination of all these sources of information. Other topics include the development of methods and technologies and the creation of new, Internet-based infrastructures for a learning health system. The health sector, patient care, clinical research and biotechnology can benefit from this. In addition, research into “medical information sciences” also covers aspects such as how IT systems can enable more efficient use of resources, research into telemedicine and mobile health (apps & wearables) and computer-based modelling and simulation of disease progression, also from the point of view of environmental influences and therapeutic interventions.
Environmental Health Sciences
The research field "Environmental Health Sciences" aims to identify both positive and negative influences of the environment on health - including social influences - and to develop prevention approaches. Research is also being conducted into the further development of diagnosis and therapy. Topics include air pollutants, environmental microbiology or climate change as well as social influences on the development, course and treatment of diseases. The focus of interest is not only on skin diseases or diseases of the respiratory tract. Environmental factors can also be significant in the development of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks or heart failure.
In the view of the Council of Science and Humanities, this is a field of research that is not sufficiently addressed in Germany and whose topics are highly topical. "In the US, environmental health research has long been established as a major field of medical research, in which very large amounts of money are invested every year. In Germany, we want to strengthen this focus in Augsburg," said Prof. Dr. Sabine Doering-Manteuffel on her trip to the USA, during which she visited well-known environmental health research centres. These include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency and the renowned Harvard University.
The World Health Organization estimates that 23 percent of all deaths worldwide are related to environmental influences - air pollutants, unclean water, contaminated food, but also noise, chemicals, radiation, exposure to harmful substances at work or in agriculture.