Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine
The IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine was founded in 2001. Its legal form is that of a non-profit, limited liability company. Sole associate is the Gesellschaft zur Förderung umweltmedizinischer Forschung e.V. (GFUF, Society for the Promotion of Environmental Health Research) – a non profit union of seven highly respected medical societies.In January 2011, the IUF became a regular member of the Leibniz Association. The institute is in receipt of joint funding from the Federation and the Federal States of Germany.
Scientific director of the institute is Jean Krutmann, M.D., Professor of Environmental Health Research and Dermatology; commercial and legal manager is Dr. Alexander Beaucamp. The IUF has about 100 employees at the moment. Approximately half of them are being financed through external project-bound grants provided by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the European Union and other research-funding institutions.
The IUF’s major task is to carry out molecular preventive medical research in the area of environmental health. The main objective is the analysis and evaluation of risks to human health that result from environmental factors in order to improve health care and to develop more preventive and therapeutic strategies. The IUF’s research focuses on environmentally induced aging processes and disorders of the immune system, in particular allergies. In order to identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for triggering such disorders, the IUF employs cutting-edge cell-biological, immunological, toxicological, molecular biological and epidemiological methods. This interdisciplinary approach to research requires the use of one or more interface organs as an experimental model. At the IUF, studies are mainly performed on the skin and the lung, to some extent also on the brain, intestine and liver.
The IUF, although being legally independent, has a strong scientific link to the Heinrich Heine University (HHU) of Düsseldorf. The director of the institute, Professor Jean Krutmann, by holding the chair of Environmental Health Research, is a member of the HHU. Furthermore, he is a member of the board of directors of the Bio-Medical Research Center (BMFZ) of the HHU. Thus, the staff of the IUF has direct access to the research infrastructure provided by the BMFZ (e.g. Bicor technology, mass spectroscopy and chip technology). In addition to these technical aspects, numerous scientific interactions link the IUF and the HHU with each other.