Estimating the abundance of airborne pollen and fungal spores at various elevations using an aircraft: How high can they fly?

Airborne pollen and fungal spores are monitored mainly in highly populated, urban environments, for allergy prevention purposes. However, their sources can frequently be located outside cities’ fringes with more vegetation.

In order to shed light on this paradox, we investigated the diversity and abundance of airborne pollen and fungal spores for various environmental regimes. We monitored pollen and spores using an aircraft and a car, at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m above ground, in the region of Thesssaloniki, Greece. We found a total of 24 pollen types and more than 15 spore types. Pollen and spores were detected throughout the various elevations. Lower elevations exhibited higher pollen concentrations in only half of plant taxa and higher fungal spore concentrations in only Ustilago. Pinaceae and Quercus pollen were the most abundant recorded by aircraft (>54% of the total). Poaceae pollen were the most abundant via car measurements (>77% of the total). Cladosporium and Alternaria spores were the most abundant in all cases (aircraft: >69% and >17%, car: >45% and >27%, respectively). We conclude that pollen and fungal spores can be diverse and abundant even outside the main source area, evidently because of long-distance migration incidents.

Author information: Damialis A1,2,3, Kaimakamis E4, Konoglou M4, Akritidis I5, Traidl-Hoffmann C1,2, Gioulekas D6.
1 Chair and Institute of Environmental Medicine, UNIKA-T, Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany – German Research Center for Environmental Health, Augsburg, Germany.
2 CK-CARE, Christine Kühne – Center for Allergy Research and Education, Davos, Switzerland.
3 Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
4 1st Pulmonary Department, “G. Papanikolaou” General Hospital of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
5 Internal Medicine Department, “G. Gennimatas” General Hospital of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
6 Pulmonary Department, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Certification by the Swiss Biobanking Platform – VITA-Label

Building up a proper Governance through accountable mechanisms is key to foster trustworthiness and the pre-requisite for the appropriate use of biological resources. Our CK-CARE Biobank has recently been awarded by Swiss Biobanking Platform (SBP) with the VITA Label, which demonstrates compliance with the applicable legal and ethical framework. This labelling approach is part of our long-term strategy to strengthen biobanking practices and provide high-quality samples to the research community.

CK-CARE Team Meeting October 10th- 11th, 2022

This year’s CK-CARE team event in Davos focused on strengthening cross-center communication and collaboration. Our team members learned more about each other and the canton Graubünden by producing several Grison specialties «Cross-center team building» to prepare the scientific work.

Embarking on this journey made all the difference in promoting real teamwork! Despite the fact none of us really knew how to make these Grison delicacies let alone had the relevant skills, each team excelled in their own unique way. Driven by trust, respect and a genuine motivation to solve the given tasks, team members rose to the challenge of collaboration with fun and creativity. All vital ingredients to the following day research acitivities.

It has been a truly remarkable meeting – we look forward to many more.

Certification by the Swiss Biobanking Platform – OPTIMA-Label

Davos BioSciences AG achieved the official OPTIMA label of the Swiss Biobanking Platform for its biobank infrastructure as of 30.05.2022. This is another important step for Davos BioSciences AG and CK-CARE. The label attests to the full implementation of a QM system. The OPTIMA-Label confirms: “Compliance with the Good Biobanking Practices; in particular OECD Best practice guidelines for biological resource centres (2007), ISBER Best practices (2018) and IARC Common minimum technical standards (2017). It follows established standards, including the ISO 20387:2018 – general requirements for biobanking. This certification approach is part of our long-term strategy to provide high-quality samples to the research community”.

Certification by the Swiss Biobanking Platform

After some effort, Davos BioSciences AG achieved the official NORMA label of the Swiss Biobanking Platform for its biobank infrastructure as of 17.08.2021. This is an important step for Davos BioSciences AG and CK-CARE. The NORMA-Label confirms: “Compliance with professional standards is essential to perform our daily biobanking activities according to Good Biobanking Practices; in particular OECD Best practice guidelines for biological resource centres (2007), ISBER Best practices (2018) and IARC Common minimum technical standards (2017). It follows established standards, including the ISO 20387:2018 – general requirements for biobanking. This certification approach is part of our long-term strategy to provide high-quality samples to the research community”. Certificate of the Swiss Biobanking Plattform

Claudio Rhyner, PhD appointed as the new Managing Director

On 1 October 2020, Claudio Rhyner succeeded Dr. Georg Schäppi as Managing Director of CK-CARE. Georg Schäppi was appointed CEO at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich as of 1 December, 2020.

Claudio Rhyner was born and grew up in Davos. After studying chemistry and molecular biology, he graduated specialising in asthma and allergy research. He was active in fundamental scientific research, including as head of the research “Vaccine Development” group at the SIAF (Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research). In this capacity he published numerous publications and filed several patents. After holding a leading position in a SME in molecular diagnostics, he became CEO of Biosciences Davos. Biosciences Davos is a spin-off organisation of CK-CARE in the field of biobanking and is part of the Medizincampus Davos. He continues to hold this position.

In his private life, Claudio Rhyner is actively engaged in politics and culture in the Davos community. He also completed a postgraduate degree in the field of management of small and medium-sized companies at the University St. Gallen.

Atopic dermatitis: an expanding therapeutic pipeline for a complex disease

Our founder, Prof. Thomas Bieber, published an important contribution in the treatment of AD:

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease with a complex pathophysiology that underlies a wide spectrum of clinical phenotypes. AD remains challenging to treat owing to the limited response to available therapies. However, recent advances in understanding of disease mechanisms have led to the discovery of novel potential therapeutic targets and drug candidates

In addition to regulatory approval for the IL-4Ra inhibitor dupilumab, the anti-IL-13 inhibitor tralokinumab and the JAK1/2 inhibitor baricitinib in Europe, there are now more than 70 new compounds in development. This Review assesses the various strategies and novel agents currently being investigated for AD and highlights the potential for a precision medicine approach to enable prevention and more effective long-term control of this complex disease.

read more…