Welcome ⏩



Young Faculty




PhD Program
Congress (Retreat)


• Webmaster

The Doctoral Programme
“Immune Modulation in Respiratory Diseases”

Welcome / Summary

RESPImmun – Doctoral Program on Chronic Respiratory Diseases related to Inflammation. RESPImmun will be embedded in the existing graduate school Molecular Medicine (MOLMED) which was established by the Medical University of Graz in 2007 and has pioneered doctoral training in Austria in full congruence with the 10 Salzburg Basic Principles of Doctoral Education (2005 Link). MOLMED provides a framework for structured PhD training with a focus on medically relevant topics (Link). This initiative has established a solid infrastructure and an effective modus operandi for the recruitment and collaborative supervision of PhD students. MOLMED pursues an integrated concept by encompassing basic, translational and clinical research and bridging the areas of structural biology, physiology, pathobiology and pharmacology to study cellular processes and disease mechanisms. Ongoing research topics include cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic disorders as well as inflammation and immunology.

RESPImmun has evolved out of MOLMED as a thematically most stringent, top quality research program that will take PhD education to the highest level. One unique feature of this framework is its translational and interdisciplinary nature, which allows specialists from diverse fields: pulmonology, pathology, immunology, pharmacology, translational sciences, molecular biology and bioinformatics to bring their knowledge and concepts together to find the connection between chronic lung diseases, thus fostering the understanding of underlying pathologies. Special emphasis is placed on delineating molecular signaling pathways at multiple levels from single cells, to tissues, entire organs and whole organisms. Multidisciplinary approaches and access to cutting edge, advanced instrumentation, to human tissue samples / patient data, and system biology approaches offers unique opportunities to define new therapeutic targets. Thus, RESPImmun spans the entire research spectrum from molecular pathway mapping, immune biology, and extensive preclinical disease models, to in vivo molecular imaging, clinical proof-of-concept studies, registries and patient cohorts, as well as state-of-the-art biobanking. RESPImmun will shape not only the next generation of scientists dedicated to the lung diseases but will also foster chronic lung diseases (CLD) as a scientific focus at the Med Uni Graz.

Added value of RESPImmun

RESPImmun is the first PhD program in Austria and potentially in Europe that addresses inflammation in respiratory diseases in a comprehensive manner using a multidisciplinary approach. RESPImmun truly lives up to these specifications and offers students detailed insights and research experience in subjects reaching from molecular mechanisms and cell biology, to pharmacology and clinical management. A particular strength and unique feature of RESPImmun is the close association of basic science, translational research and clinical medicine, utilizing molecular biology techniques, cell assays, animal models and clinical samples from well-defined patient cohorts. The close proximity between clinical research infrastructure, clinical centers, and basic research laboratories facilitates intellectual and technological exchange between students and faculty. Close interaction with patient organizations will strengthen the current needs and context of the program.

To prosper in a competitive scientific system curiosity must be balanced with impact. To this end students will particularly benefit from developing new partnerships, fresh forms of collaboration and learning innovative methods for generating and communicating novel scientific insights in major societal issues. RESPImmun will collaborate with OIS (Link) to foster the exchange between scientists and the community. OIS will unfold its potential for scientific research activities such as generating novel research questions, designing and conducting research studies, disseminating research results and eventually translating new scientific knowledge into innovation.

In the long run, this privileged intramural position will strongly facilitate the delivery of promising research results to patients. With respect to academic fields in Europe, RESPImmun is an important initiative not only for the Med Uni Graz but also for Austria to increase its international visibility in the respiratory field. The worldwide dissemination of a considerable number of excellent students who graduated from an Austrian university will increase the interest of the international scientific community but also the pharmaceutical industry in academic research in general and in the Med Uni Graz in particular as a future collaboration partner and training institution.


Grażyna Kwapiszewska

Grażyna Kwapiszewska, PhD
Assoc. Professor of Physiology

Deputy Speaker:

Ákos Heinemann

Ákos Heinemann, MD
Professor of Pharmacology

Otto Loewi Research Center
for Vascular Biology, Immunology and Inflammation

Medical University of Graz


FWF – Austrian Science Fund

doc.funds application based on the existing PhD Program ‘Molecular Medicine’