University of Tübingen: The Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research celebrates its 20th anniversary

The brain and its diseases have been researched at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH) in Tübingen for 20 years. The aim is to enable new and more effective strategies for diagnosis, therapy and prevention. The close connection between the research institute and the Neurological University Clinic under the umbrella of the Center for Neurology ensures that scientific findings can be quickly transferred into clinical practice. For example, patients at the Neurological University Clinic benefit from the ongoing discovery of genetic defects that cause disease. The knowledge helps treat them with tailored therapy. The HIH is nationwide as a pioneer in successfully living translation in neuromedicine. This year it is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

“The employees of the Hertie Institute have been doing an excellent job for 20 years. The institute has earned an excellent reputation in the field of neuroscience. The promotion of the state documents the high status that the institute itself and the commitment of the Hertie Foundation enjoy in the state, ”said Science Minister Theresia Bauer.

“The neuromedicine of the future will be based on a better understanding of the molecular and electrophysiological processes at the cellular level and in the entire brain system,” explains HIH CEO Professor Dr. Thomas Gasser. “In our aging society, the step from curative to preventive medicine is also of great importance. People are best helped when they don’t get sick in the first place. “

The HIH is therefore planning to develop strategies for early detection, prevention and rehabilitation of neurological diseases to a greater extent than before. The focus is on system-based neuromedicine and so-called personalized medicine. The first approach aims to treat the diseased brain or nervous system as a whole, for example with the help of neuroprostheses. In the second approach, on the other hand, the underlying cause of the disease – such as a genetic defect – is treated tailored to the sick person. Since advances in modern biomedicine are based on the use of ever larger amounts of data in laboratories and clinics, the institute will also strengthen the area of ​​digitization and integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence methods.

The HIH has grown rapidly since it was founded 20 years ago. What began with auxiliary laboratories and a construction site on the green field has developed into a research facility on a par with other large centers for brain research in Europe. The number of employees has tripled, third-party funding has quadrupled, and four departments have now become six. Her focus areas range from stroke, Parkinson’s, epilepsy to brain tumors and Alzheimer’s and cover the entire spectrum of neurological diseases.

The researchers at the HIH have made several groundbreaking discoveries. For example, they have succeeded in identifying a biomarker that can be used to detect Alzheimer’s disease at a very early stage using a simple blood test. They also found a number of genetic defects that lead to epilepsy, Parkinson’s or rare neurodegenerative diseases. The approach to stimulate the diseased brain synchronized with its internal state of excitement is also fundamentally new. The method has proven to be very successful in the rehabilitation of individual stroke patients with hand or arm paralysis and is currently being tested in larger studies and its application for other network diseases of the brain is being examined. In the long term, a stimulation helmet should be developed,

“The Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research is the most important initiative within our brain research department,” says Frank-Jürgen Weise, Chairman of the Board of the non-profit Hertie Foundation, which has supported the institute with more than 55 million euros since it was founded. “The research successes and international reputation confirm that the joint founding of the HIH as a public-private partnership and its departmental structure provided a strong impetus for renewing the research landscape in Germany. I am convinced of the future viability of this model and I would like to congratulate you on 20 years of top performance, also on behalf of the entire foundation, ”said Weise.

The HIH is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a digital festival week from Monday, October 25, 2021 on its website ( ). The face-to-face celebrations will be postponed to next year due to the current situation.

The Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH) was founded in 2001 by the non-profit Hertie Foundation, the State of Baden-Württemberg, the Eberhard Karls University and its medical faculty and the University Hospital Tübingen. The HIH deals with one of the most fascinating research fields of our time: the decoding of the human brain. The focus is on the question of how certain diseases affect the functioning of this organ. The HIH bridges the gap between basic research and clinical application. The aim is to enable new and more effective strategies for diagnosis, therapy and prevention. There are currently 19 professors, 28 research groups and around 430 employees at the institute. More information

The University Hospital Tübingen (UKT) , founded in 1805, is one of the leading centers of German university medicine and, as one of the 35 university hospitals in Germany, contributes to the successful combination of high-performance medicine, research and teaching. In 2001, together with the non-profit Hertie Foundation and the Eberhard Karls University, it founded the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH) with the aim of quickly transferring the results of excellent neuroscientific research into clinical practice for the treatment of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Website:

The University of Tübingen is one of the eleven German universities that have been recognized as excellent. In the life sciences, it offers cutting-edge research in the fields of neuroscience, translational immunology and cancer research, microbiology and infection research, and molecular biology. Further research focuses are machine learning, geo and environmental research, archeology and anthropology, language and cognition, as well as education and media. More than 27,600 students from all over the world are currently enrolled at the University of Tübingen. A range of around 330 courses is available to you – from Egyptology to cellular neuroscience.