In late May, the team at the ZEISS Innovation Hub in Dresden got down to work. An official opening ceremony for the Hub will take place once it is permissible to do so. For the first Hub program – research into organoid models – Dr. Kai Wicker and his team have moved into the EKFZ for Digital Health on the campus of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital – a stone’s throw away from top experts in the field.
This proximity to academic partners such as the TU Dresden, the University Hospital and the Leibniz and Max Planck Institutes, as well as to startups and innovative companies in the region, allows ZEISS to benefit from an exceptional research and innovation ecosystem. The goal is to maximize local engagement and scientific exchange while benefitting from synergies to promote talented young researchers.
ZEISS plans to quickly grow the Innovation Hub in terms of both its focus topics and its workforce. To this end, new staff will initially be hired to work primarily on the organoid program, and on the variety of topics that go beyond the initial focus on biomedicine. Alongside the life sciences and medical technology, the Hub team sees potential for further links, with digital technologies, microelectronics and informatics, as well as with artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and materials research.
ZEISS and TU Dresden forge strong collaboration
Back in February, Prof. Dr. Ursula Staudinger, Rector of the TU Dresden, and Dr. Karl Lamprecht, President and CEO of the ZEISS Group, signed a collaboration agreement. The aim is to strengthen the longstanding links between the two institutions in the areas of research, teaching and innovation, as well as further education, globalization and recruiting.
The collaboration with the TU Dresden forms part of ZEISS’ global innovation strategy. The aim is to continue expanding the company’s presence near research clusters and intensify networks with those working in science and business.
Joint organoid research activities
The first research activities into organoid models have been planned as a joint kick-off with the TU Dresden, the Dresden University Hospital, the Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. Further collaborations will follow, including ones with other institutes and establishments. Organoids are artificially produced tissue parts that closely approximate human organs such as the liver and open up whole new and modern application options for researchers.
“Organoid models have the potential to revolutionize mechanistic biology, drug development and customized treatments. We are delighted to have this opportunity to support the stellar research being done by our Dresden-based partner with our expertise in microscopic imaging, while allowing us to gain early insights into groundbreaking innovations in pharma research and personalized medicine,” says Dr. Kai Wicker.
Professor Jochen Hampe Project manager at the TU Dresden, spokesman for the EKFZ and gastroenterologist at Dresden University Hospital, says: “The EKFZ is delighted that ZEISS has joined our multidisciplinary consortium of skilled organoid experts and we are now in an even better position to implement interdisciplinarity between medicine and technology and solve key challenges as part of a concerted effort. There has never been a better time to take the current progress in organoid technology and to deliver its spoils to the patient more quickly.”
A Strategic Investment in the Future
The ZEISS Innovation Hub in Dresden, the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the new ZEISS Innovation Center in Dublin, California (USA) and the new ZEISS High-Tech Site in Jena (which is due to be complete by late 2025), all form part of ZEISS’ global innovation strategy. ZEISS has a long tradition of high expenditure on research and development. This also represents our investment in the future. ZEISS continually invests over 10 percent of its revenue – most recently as much as 12 percent – in research and development work. As part of our innovation strategy, the ZEISS Innovation Hub gives ZEISS the chance to shape future technologies in collaboration with its partners.
ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the optics and optoelectronics industries. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling more than 6.3 billion euros in its four segments Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology, Consumer Markets and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (status: 30 September 2020).
For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, as well as medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world’s leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.
With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company’s significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS’ technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 12% of its revenue in research and development work – ZEISS has a long tradition of high expenditure in these areas. This also represents the company’s investment in the future.
With over 34,000 employees, ZEISS operates in almost 50 countries worldwide, with around 60 sales and service companies, 30 production sites and 27 development sites. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG (status: 31 March 2021). Further information at http://www.
About the Technical University of Dresden
The Technical University of Dresden is one of Germany’s and Europe’s top universities. It’s a forerunner in research, first-rate in terms of the variety and quality of study paths it offers, and boasts close links with cultural establishments, business and society. As a modern university, it offers a broad academic spectrum with its five areas in 17 faculties, which is something only very few other universities in Germany can match. It is the largest university in the German federal state of Saxony. The large TU Dresden campus has around 31,500 students and some 7,800 employees, 600 of whom are professors.
The TU Dresden has been of Germany’s 11 ‘Excellence Universities’ since 2012. The university successfully defended this title when it was re-assessed on 19 July 2019. Further information at http://www.
About the Else Kroener Fresenius Center for Digital Health
The Else Kroener Fresenius Center for Digital Health (EKFZ) is a cross-faculty initiative of the Technical University of Dresden and the Carl Gustav Carus Dresden University Hospital on the Dresden campus. The research center enables interdisciplinary projects at the interface between the digital world and patients, thus bridging the gap between the efforts made in the area of big data and traditional biomedical technology. Further information at digitalhealth.tu-dresden.de
Dr. Kai Wicker