CCRC graduate program – description

    Arterial vascular disease has long been considered as a state of adverse structural remodeling within arteries upon accumulation of circulating and vessel wall-derived cells, matrix, and cholesterol – histological hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, more subtle alterations of vascular homogeneity and in particular vascular stressors have emerged as critical pre-requisites and drivers for a large spectrum of diseases. The major aim of our collaborative research training group (RTG) is to identify common vascular stressors and overlapping or redundant cellular signaling responses across a broad range of vascular disease entities. Our RTG welcomes highly motivated PhD and MD students to actively pursue cutting-edge research on individual, yet coordinated research projects, that are directly related to answering pertaining key questions for specific diseases in this research field. This RTG, embedded into the Cologne Cardiovascular Research Center (CCRC) aims to educate the next generation of cardiovascular researchers and to foster better understanding of the translational needs in this important medical area. 


    CCRC core research idea and main research focus

    Figure 1 Aberrant cellular signaling and stress activators / responses in VASCULAR DYSFUNCTION, and their role in distinct clinical phenotypes. Illustration of the main focus of research projects on mechanistic insights (projects D, H, I) and/or disease-oriented models (projects A, B, C, E, F, G), creating multiple opportunities for collaborations within the CCRC-RTG, and enabling the identification of redundant mechanisms as well as multi-facetted basic research training for PhD/MD students.

    The overarching aim of this interdisciplinary and collaborative research initiative is to unravel common underlying mechanisms linking inflammatory stressors and cell signaling responses in arterial vascular disease. The identification of critical and redundant stressors as well as pertaining cellular signaling pathways that propagate dysintegrity of the arterial bed should be a prelude to revealing potential therapeutic targets for a wide range of different vascular diseases (figure 1).

    In this context, we will also consider mechanisms of inflammatory resolution. Since vascular dysfunction leads to a broad range of diseases and conditions, the expected gain of newly found knowledge and increased understanding should ultimately translate into the development of novel interventions, such as preventive paradigms, as well as new therapeutic options to treat vascular dysfunction in various organ systems and heart, lung and kidney in particular. 

    Principle Investigators:

    Partners and core facilities:





    CCRC Coordinator Office:

    Dr. Monika Schlosser
    CCRC Graduate Program
    Department III of Internal Medicine, Cologne University Heart Center
    Kerpener Str. 62
    D-50937 Cologne, Germany

    E-Mail: monika.schlosser[at]


    Scientific coordinator:

    Prof. Stephan Rosenkranz
    Department III of Internal Medicine,
    Cologne University Heart Center
    Kerpener Str. 62
    D-50937 Köln, Germany