Learning advanced MRI data analyses during a short research visit in Berlin

Whilst visiting Berlin in late November / early December 2019, MD/PhD student Yoshikazu Chishiki from Chiba was introduced to specific analytical processes developed by the Berlin lab to quantify brain and spinal cord subvolumes, which ought to be applied on MR-images of patients from Chiba to complement the joint Japanese-German database. Mr. Chishiki works on a project extracting regional differences in classical and novel MRI-parameters of MS and NMOSD patients from Germany and Japan: an intriguing subproject of the multimodal MRI-study.

A joyful celebration at the Japanese embassy

To celebrate the 10 year collaboration between Charité and Chiba Universities, Japanese ambassador Takeshi Yagi invited members of both institutions on October 23rd to a symposium with a subsequent reception at the Japanese embassy in Berlin. The important role of CCC-Neuro for the collaboration between both institutions was highlighted in presentations by Chiba University Vice president Dr. Haruaki Nakaya, Professor Chisato Mori, the initiator of the Charité-Chiba cooperation, and Charité dean Professor Axel Radlach Pries. To our delight, CCC-Neuro member Karen Otte also had the opportunity to report on her research stay in Prof. Kuwabara’s team at Chiba University for the JSPS summer programme 2018.


CCC-Neuro Japanese-German Workshop

On behalf of CCC-Neuro, Friedemann Paul and Hanna Zimmermann organized a joint Japanese-German Workshop about “Neurological disorders: Risk factors, prevention and prognosis” in Berlin.

On the 23rd and 24th October 2019, students and lecturers from Chiba University in Japan and Charité University in Berlin joined the workshop to learn about the increasing global burden of neurological disorders and the latest diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.


Thriving exchange of expertise

Graham Cooper, a PhD Fellow from Berlin, enjoyed a productive summer working with colleagues in the CCC-Neuro laboratory. He established an automatic analysis pipeline to calculate the standardized T1w/T2w ratio using clinical MRI data. This data was then used to evaluate normal appearing white matter damage in Japanese patients with multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders and multiple system atrophy, previously unable to be investigated without advanced imaging protocols which are not typically available in the clinical routine.


Dr. Brandt was at the CCC-Neuro laboratory in November 2018 to kick off the joint NICJAGER study. In the NeuroInflammatory Conditions in JApan and GERmany registry study we are prospectively collecting clinical and imaging data as well as biosamples to study pathology an phenotypes in neuromyelitis optica, multiple sclerosis and related disorders.

Data collection will be performed using RedCap hosted by the Berlin Institute of Health. Image analysis will be performed at the CCC-Neuro laboratory using analysis pipeline from Berlin and Chiba University.

CCC-Neuro at ECTRIMS in Berlin

ECTRIMS is the world’s largest scientific and clinical conference focussing on autoimmune neuroinflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis. This year’s ECTRIMS was from October 10th to 12th in Berlin, and here we presented our ongoing research at the CCC-Neuro laboratory. After discussing ongoing peojects in the lab, the colleagues from Chiba and Berlin also experienced foreign food from a small region in southern Germany called Bavaria!

Karen Otte works on “Objective movement analysis with perceptive visual computing”

Berlin PhD student Karen Otte worked at the CCC-Neuro laboratory on “Objective movement analysis with perceptive visual computing” from June to August 2018. The project was funded by the JSPS Summer Program. Ms. Otte, who is a computer scientist with image analysis focus, compared typical neurological assessments used to investigate motor function between Japanese and German healthy subjects using software developed in Berlin and now provided by technology startup Motognosis.

Inauguration of the CCC-Neuro laboratory

From May 9th to 12th 2018 a large delegation of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin visited Chiba University for the joint signing of the collaboration agreement and the solemn inauguration of the joint “Charité Chiba Collaborative Laboratory for researching Chronic Neuroinflammation“, CCC-Neuro Laboratory, at Chiba University.

We toured the Medical Faculty of the Chiba University together with our dean Prof. Axel Radlach Pries and attended the official reception with the president of Chiba University Mr. Takeshi Tokuhisa.

Signees of the collaboration agreement were Prof. Toshinori Nakayama, dean of Chiba University, represented by Prof. Hiroshi Shirasawa, vice dean of research of Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Prof. Satoshi Kuwabara, director of the Department of Neurology at Chiba University, Prof. Axel Radlach Pries, dean of the board of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and Prof. Friedemann Paul, director of the Clinical Neuroimmunology group at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

The laboratory will research differences between Japanese and German patients with autoimmune neuroinflammatory and neurologic disorders to gain understanding of the underlying pathologies. Projects of the laboratory will span immunological messaging cascades in neuroinflammatory disorders, retinal and brain neuroimaging, and motor function.

Charité delegation visits Chiba University in Japan

From Dec 4th to 8th, 2017, a delegation of neurologists and clinical scientists from Charité visited the Neurology and Ophthalmology departments at Chiba University in Japan. We toured the research and clinical facilities and discussed ways how to best implement a joint research lab at Chiba University.

We also visited the Tokyo offices of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD), the German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo (DWIH Tokyo) and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) to get a better understanding how to connect the Japanese and German research funding concepts.

Many thanks especially to Dorothea Mahnke from DWIH for the wonderful hospitality and many suggestions!

During a visit to the German Embassy in Tokyo we had the chance to speak to Mr. Ingo Höllein, Counsellor Science and Technology at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and learn about relevant scientific initiatives.