© Zach Veilleux, Rockefeller University


Translation in the medical field means transferring the results from basic research into clinical application.

What is translation?

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Basic scientific and medical research are the foundation for gaining knowledge and driving progress. The scientists at the DZIF pursue the aim of strategically transferring the results from basic research into clinical application. This process is called translation (lat.: translatio). Helping patients is a top priority for researchers at the DZIF. The principle “from bench to bed” illustrates the term “translational research” in the medical field.  

Translation involves mutual feedback 

During translation, the transfer of knowledge is not a one-way street: Observations from hospitals are also incorporated in research in laboratories. It is essential for translational research for doctors and scientists to have a close working relationship, with the patients’ needs at the core.

The DZIF coordinates the translational infection research in Germany and sets its strategic direction. Particularly for infectious diseases, there is high demand for new therapeutic agents such as antibiotics, antiviral and antiparasitic agents as well as vaccines. The pharmaceutical industry no longer provides a part of product development from pre-clinical research to phase I and II clinical trials to the extent that is currently required. This is where the DZIF is intensifying its research and closing the translational gap: Multidisciplinary teams made up of doctors and basic scientists combine their expertise to develop new types of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutic substances. The second translational step involves late clinical trials and implementing new methods in routine medical care; the DZIF wants to make an impact in this area too.