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uni'wissen 01-2016_ENG

Further Reading Wagner, J. M. / Jung, M. (2011): Lesezeichen. Über das Lesen von Genen im Buch des Lebens. In: q&more 2011/1, pp. 6–11. lesezeichen.html Riddihough, G. / Zah, L. M. (2010): What is epigenetics? In: Science 330/6004, p. 611. doi: 10.1126/science.330.6004.611 most common tropical parasitic disease after malaria, yet only a single drug has been devel- oped to combat it so far. A-PARADDISE is now raising new hopes. In the course of several opti- mization cycles, Jung and his team have devel- oped highly potent inhibitors of the bilharzia pathogen that deactivate its epigenetically effec- tive enzymes but do not damage important human enzymes. They now plan to test these new inhibi- tors in mouse infection models. Not a Lucrative Market There is a large market for drugs against tropical diseases, but it is by no means a lucrative market. In other words, it is not worth it for pharmaceutical companies to make large research investments. This makes it all the more important for public institutions to fund the fundamental research, stresses Jung. A-PARADDISE, launched in 2014 and set to run until 2017, is already the second EU-funded project in this area the scientist has participated in. “Both projects included first-rate research institutes from around the globe.” Jung’s team is one of two German partners in A-PARADDISE. Another area his group is focus- ing on is epigenetic inhibitors in tumors. This re- search is also being conducted within the context of large-scale joint projects, such as the Medical Epigenetics collaborative research center at the University of Freiburg. Together with the Univer- sity Medical Center and the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, this center forms an internationally visible cluster for research on epigenetic regulation in Freiburg, says Jung: “I’m at the best place in Germany for this type of research.” Prof. Dr. Manfred Jung studied pharmacy at the University of Marburg. He earned his pharmacist’s license in 1990 and his PhD in 1993 in Marburg. After a year conducting postdoctoral research in Ottawa, Canada, he switched to the University of Münster, where he began concentrating on epige- netics and completed his habilitation thesis in 2000. Since 2003 he has served as professor of pharma- ceutical chemistry at the University of Freiburg. In 2004 he received the Eugen Graetz Prize, which the University of Freiburg awards to researchers engaged in fundamental and developmental research in chemistry, pharmacy, and medicine. Jung’s research centers on chemical epigenetics, a field the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) is promoting with a research focus in 2016/17. The Freiburg researchers are testing selected enzymes that could potentially serve as agents against parasites. Photos: Sigrid Gombert “You might compare the search for inhibitors to the process of trying out hundreds or thousands of keys.” 35