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Despite all these excellent partnerships the research potential of “Carol Davila” University was not entirely used due to a tough local economic environment. Fortunately in the last years local economy increased and so did the public research budgets available in national competitions. That's why the leading team promoted the development of more dynamic research centres able to better adapt to the hard competition in the field.

“Carol Davila” University of Medicine & Pharmacy Research Centre on the Pathology and Treatment of Systemic Rheumatic Diseases –RCRD- is such a center which bring together researchers in the field of rheumatic diseases.

RCRD was evaluated in 2000 and received the National Certificate in 2001, being reevaluated every 5 years. Its aim is to bring together top-quality researchers in the field of autoimmune disorders (see the priority groups below) and act as a catalyst for the improvement of research competitiveness. However such an activity started long ago in the Department of Internal Medicine “Saint Mary “ Hospital Bucharest under the leadership of Professors Victor Ciobanu and Eugen Popescu.

There are three main research groups active in RCRD

Group 1 is involved in : Bone structure, collagen and elastic tissues in Rheumatic diseases (including osteoporosis, inflammatory osteoporosis, hormone replacement in osteoporosis, systemic sclerosis and related genomics).

Group 2 is involved in: Normal and pathological inflammation in Rheumatic diseases (including dendritic cells involvement, TNF and anti-TNF therapy, gene polymorphism)

Group 3 is involved in: Public health topics (research in epidemiology, health economics and social medicine with respect for Rheumatic disease).

Although very young, RCRD has taken a leading position in Romanian Rheu­matology. Severel facts support this statement:

In 2005 RCRD won the European Commission FP6 - call aimed to select and support "the best / most promising Romanian research center in life area" with ARMS project;

From the total number of Romanian titles presented during the 2006 and 2007 at the European League Against Rheumatic diseases Congress –EULAR- (posters and oral presentations) more than one third had authors from the RCRD team (6/17, 8/23).

The leading position is also supported by the whole activity of the center:

Once a month RCRD organizes scientific meetings for young researchers offering them the opportunity to present their activity and to freely interact with other members of our centre (this activity started more than 11 years ago);

Four times per year, RCRD, in cooperation with the Romanian Society of Rheumatology (Bucharest branch), organizes local meetings for senior researchers on Rheumatic diseases (this activity started more than 10 years ago).

Since 2006, two times per year, RCRD, in cooperation with ISCD (International Society for Clinical Densitometry) and the Romanian Society of Endocrinology (RSE), organizes ISCD's Clinician and a Technologist Bone Densitometry Course in Romania.
In November 2006 Professor Ionescu coordinated the “Essential in Rheumatology”, created with the efforts of RCRD team. Due to the great success of the first edition, the second edition was published at the beginning of 2007.

Several members of our centre are (or have been) deeply involved in the life of Romanian Society of Rheumatology: Prof. Popescu Eugen and Prof. Suteanu Stefan have been Presidents of our society; Prof Ruxandra Ionescu is the actual vice-president; Dr. Florian Berghea is its Bucharest branch Secretary.

Grace to the winning in 2005 of the European grant, RCRD received from the European Commission a financial support in amount of approximately 1 Mil. EURO to purchase new equip­ments, train researchers and enforce RCRD participation in European Research Area. Several top-quality equipments are now available on RCRD premises:

one VEECO Multimode Atomic Force Microscope able to perform 3D observations at the single-molecule level including nanomanipulation and low voltage mapping;

Several high volume deep-freezers (-86° and -150° C)

High-resolution fast fan-beam DXA scans.

Wi-Fi high-speed network and e-learning support (available soon).
Based on this new acquired equipment we intend to expandour activitiesand enterin nano -biology / nano - manipulation research area. Additionally we will develop the first Romanian Tissue Bank of Patients with Rheumatic diseases (including rare diseases).

In order to facilitate the access to the research environment for young scientists and to integrate the experiment based learning activity into daily teaching practice we organized several international workshops and we are in preparation for new ones:

September 2006: 1st RCRD International Workshop "New Techniques in Bone Research (concentration on Atomic Force Microscopy, nano­manipulation, new DXA Techniques) together with first ISCD's Clinician and a Technologist Bone Densitometry Course in Romania.;

January 2007 1st Workshop on "musculoskeletal ultrasound”;

March 2007 2nd RCRD International Workshop “Secondary osteoporosis” together with second ISCD educational course.

September 2007 2nd Workshop on musculoskeletal ultrasound

We are in preparation for new workshops:

December 2007 - 3rd RCRD International Workshop - “Outcomes in Rheumatology”

January 2008 3rd ISCD's Clinician and a Technologist Bone Densitometry Course in cooperation with Romanian Society of Endocrinology.
For the next future, RCRD intends to establish new research partnerships with EU units and become a reliable Romanian partner in the area. Additionally RCRD will continue to act as a catalyst for the Romanian Research Area and support EU organizations to find and establish contacts with other Romanian partners.


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