Skip to main content

Advancing scientific performance and regional potential of Estonian biomedical research

Periodic Report Summary - ESTBIOREG (Advancing scientific performance and regional potential of Estonian biomedical research)

Growing pressure of environmental and socio-psychological factors in modern society burdens our main host defence organ systems, neural and immune system, with a number of serious consequences. Therefore the understanding of the function of these two systems as well as the mechanisms of neurological and immunological disorders is our major challenge in biomedical field. With that in mind, the Centre of Excellence for Translational Medicine (former Centre of Molecular and Clinical Medicine) of University of Tartu has set to its general mission to raise the level of Estonian medical research and to concentrate the skills and funds to selected cutting-edge areas of medical research, neuro- and immunological sciences.

Current project is aimed to provide support for these scientific activities: the overall aim of current project is to advance the RTD performance and the quality of research in neuroscience and immunology carried out by the Centre of Excellence for Translational Medicine at University of Tartu. Fulfilment of this overall aim requires several key measures that enhance the existing dynamic environment and collaborative links within the centre and with other institutions in neurological and immunological research: short term visits of our staff (WP1), recruitment of incoming researchers (WP2), improving the centre's infrastructure (WP3), transfer of knowledge via workshops and conferences (WP4) and increased public visibility within the economic and social environment of Estonia (WP5).

During first two years of project we organised altogether five short term visits (WP1) of our staff to leading European laboratories and hosted experienced European scientists in our centre. This has lead to several cooperation projects as well as to high-impact joint papers.

We have recruited altogether five foreign postdoctoral fellows (WP2). Recruited researchers have considerably improved centre's R&D capacity and capability. In addition to their direct contribution - in form of two published papers and several manuscripts have contributed also indirectly helping us to find research funding. The presence of international postdoctoral fellows was one of the important factors helping us to get the status of National Centre of Excellence for years 2008-2015. This status is now associated with increased funding for our research activities.

We procured the high resolution CCD camera-based visualisation system that could handle different gel-based applications, including example agarose and polyacrylamide gels, membranes, microplates and is in routine use now.

We have supported the training of our staff by providing more than 30 stipends covering the registration fees, travelling and accommodation related with attendance at relevant main international conferences, workshops or meetings and organised international conference 'Perspectives in neuroimmunology' (WP4). These actions have lead to new ideas, contacts and cooperation and increased international visibility of our centre.

We have also undertaken several actions to increase the visibility of our centre (publications in national newspapers/magazines, interviews featuring the research at our centre, events for gymnasium students etc. (WP5). We have organised also series of small-scale meetings to negotiate with biotechnology and IPR enterprises that have ended with cooperation and joint applications.