Institute chronicles


After more than three and a half decades of Fraunhofer ITEM, we can look back on quite a few milestones:


May 27, 1981

The Fraunhofer Institute in Hannover starts its operations – after only two years of planning and construction. A large research project on behalf of an automobile manufacturer in Wolfsburg, Germany, was already on its way: they wanted exhaust emissions to be studied. In early summer 1981, more than 40 employees were at work in the new laboratories and offices. “Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Aerosol Research ITA” was the institute’s initial name, indicating already its focuses. The aim was to elucidate correlations between the presence of airborne pollutants and their toxic effects in man. The scientists therefore focused their research in the fields of inhalation toxicology, environmental hygiene, cell biology, testing of chemicals, aerosol research, and analytical chemistry.



The second part of the building is completed. By 2010, another nine building extensions will be made. The institute’s utilizable floor space will then sum up to more than 19,000 square meters.



Prof. Dr. Dr. Uwe Heinrich takes over as director of the institute. The departments of Molecular Toxicology/Molecular Medicine and Clinical Research are being set up.



The research area “Pharmaco- and Toxicogenomics” is being set up, including research on molecular diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. From 2000 on, this is funded by the Land Lower Saxony.



The Department of Clinical Airway Research starts its operations.



The pollen exposure chamber proves successful – it will later be named “Fraunhofer Allergen Challenge Chamber” (ACC). The first clinical trial is successfully completed. The international workshop “Animal Models of Asthma” is held for the first time. During this event, scientists discuss new pharmaceutical developments and methods used in preclinical asthma research.



ITA becomes ITEM: By the turn of the millennium, the Fraunhofer Institute in Hannover has considerably expanded its scope of services. The departments of Clinical Airway Research and of Molecular Medicine with research in genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics are increasingly at the focus. The past competencies though continue to be important, aerosol technology in particular, as this know-how is also required in the clinical unit with its allergen challenge chambers. In order that the expansion of competencies be clearly perceived also in the public, the institute changes its name. “Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Aerosol Research ITA” becomes “Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM”.



The Braunschweig-based, new “Division of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology” complements the competencies of Fraunhofer ITEM. With the GMP facilities for aseptic fill and finish of clinical investigational products in Hannover and for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, the institute is able to meet all quality standards of studies required for drug registration: GLP, GMP, and GCP.



Fraunhofer ITEM becomes a member of the German Center for Lung Research – one of six national centers for health research initiated by the German government in 2010 and funded under its new health research program.



Opening of the "Clinical Research Center Hannover" (CRC Hannover), an investigative site for early-phase clinical trials that is the only one of its kind in Germany, operated by Fraunhofer ITEM in cooperation with the Hannover Medical School and the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research. On 6000 square meters floor space, the CRC Hannover hosts clinical studies, patient-oriented research, epidemiological studies, and the central biobank of the Hannover Medical School.



Based on the former Department of Medical Inhalation Technology, the new Division of Translational Biomedical Engineering and corresponding business unit are established.



After 21 years of successful leadership, Professor Uwe Heinrich cedes his position as Fraunhofer ITEM Executive Director to Professor Norbert Krug on January 1, 2017.

In spring 2017, the High-Performance Center Translational Biomedical Engineering is inaugurated.

After its successful evaluation, the Regensburg-based Project Group for Personalized Tumor Therapy  becomes a division of Fraunhofer ITEM.



The Project Group for Bioinformatics is set up under the “Fraunhofer Attract” research grant.