The main focus of the research group „Genetics & Bioinformatics“ is on the identification and basic molecular characterization of genetic susceptibility loci. We employ genome-wide association studies (GWAS) as the main tool to identify genetic susceptibility loci in complex inflammatory diseases. Sample preparation, data generation and analysis all take place in-house, which implies that we are also developing protocols and management systems for these tasks.
Although genetic research remains the focus of our work, the group is also studying other molecular levels using high-throughput techniques. For example, we recently started to study the miRNome as a relevant biomarker for disease manifestation and course.
The intestinal microbiome - and especially its interaction with the human host (genome) - has also become a major research focus of the group.
It is obvious that we rely on computational approaches for most of our other studies. Therefore, we continuously invest in the developement of new software tools and the enhancement of the local data warehouse. To develop the latter further, we are also striving for a healthcare-embedded biobanking environment where patient samples are collected - within the clinics - „on the fly“ and, in addition, clinical phenotypes are extracted from already existing patient records. This system will become a valuable infrastructure for biomarkers and, in generally, disease research in the near future. Our group also makes extensive use of the available Next Generation Sequencing infrastructure, especially for genomic projects. We follow the trend that patient research centers more on the individual than on groups, because the new sequencing techniques offer an unprecedented resolution. Working in a university hospital environment, we are always concerned about implementing our tools in the clinical diagnostics routine.