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Mainz University Medical Center attracts funding of Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

The Mainz University Medical Center has been successful in attracting funding of an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship worth 5 million. The funding was awarded in response to an application to appoint Professor Dr. Wolfram Ruf, a blood coagulation researcher (hemostaseologist) currently based in the USA, to the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH) in Mainz. The success of the application was announced jointly by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorships, which are funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, are awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to outstanding international academics of all disciplines who are eligible for appointment to a professorship in Germany. The award winners are expected to perform and nurture pioneering research at German universities.

"I am delighted that the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship award has made it possible for us to appoint an internationally renowned scientist such as Professor Wolfram Ruf to a position in Mainz. His research activities will undoubtedly significantly enhance the Rhineland-Palatinate science environment and its international competitiveness," says Minister of Science Doris Ahnen. "I myself am somewhat proud of what we have achieved as this award also demonstrates that we in Rhineland-Palatinate have set the right goals of funding cardiovascular research as part of our research initiative and of providing support to the Mainz Center for Thrombosis and Hemostatsis."

"Being awarded one of the highly prestigious and endowed Alexander von Humboldt Professorships is an outstanding achievement for our university," confirms the President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Dr. Georg Krausch. "With Professor Ruf, our Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis will be gaining an excellent and internationally recognized researcher whose scientific expertise will strengthen the work of our research unit 'Vascular Prevention' and the impressive advances it has made over the past few years. Our success amidst the extremely tough competition for this international research award in Germany is also a confirmation of the attractive research environment and perspectives that we can offer this highly qualified scientist at our university."

"There is no doubt that Wolfram Ruf is currently one of the most innovative researchers in the field of normal and abnormal hemostasis. Top-class researchers such as Ruf strengthen the long-term international competitiveness of Mainz as a university location," states the Scientific Director of the Mainz University Medical Center, Professor Dr. Dr. Reinhard Urban, with conviction. "This appointment will also be accompanied by the dynamic expansion of the University Medical Center's research unit on 'Vascular Prevention,'" adds Professor Dr. Guido Adler, Medical Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mainz University Medical Center. "Moreover, there are close links with the work of the Research Center for Immunology."

In the view of the Director of the CTH, Professor Dr. Ulrich Walter, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship will greatly benefit theoretical research at the CTH, which is focused in the areas of biochemistry and cellular biology. The CTH hopes to gain important new insights into fundamental aspects common to the fields of blood coagulation (hemostasis), immunology (inflammation), and cancer research. "An interdisciplinary approach that fits perfectly with the structures and research projects of the CTH provides great potential for research and development within the zone in which these major diseases intersect," states Professor Walter.

Through his research, Professor Wolfram Ruf has obtained ground-breaking insights into the mechanisms of blood coagulation. Due to his work we now know how platelet tissue factor (factor III) and the downstream factor VII interact in the process of blood coagulation and how this knowledge can be utilized to develop a therapeutic strategy. While demonstrating that these coagulation factors and the entire hemostatic system can have additional effects on cancers and promote the growth of tumors, he also showed that the cellular processes induced by platelet tissue factor can be appropriately modified without any negative consequences for blood coagulation.

Professor Wolfram Ruf, born in 1958, currently works at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, USA. He has held a position in the Department of Immunology and Microbial Science there since 1988 and a full professorship since 2005. Ruf has until May 14, 2012 to decide whether to accept the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship and relocate to the CTH in Mainz.

Contact: Dr. Rene Dillinger-Reiter
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

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