Group Leaders

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Dr. Lars Bertram
Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Phone:+49 30 8413 1876Fax:+49 30 8413 1139
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Dr. Albert J. Poustka
Evolution & Development
Phone:+49 30 8413-1235Fax:+49 30 8413-1380
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Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat Michal-Ruth Schweiger
Cancer Biology
Phone:+49 30 8413-1354Fax:+49 30 8413-1380
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Christoph Wierling
Systems Biology
Phone:+49 30 8413-1272Fax:+49 30 8413-1380

Vertebrate Genomics Research Groups


The scientific expertise of the Neuropsychiatric Genetics Group lies in the mapping and characterization of complex disease genes, predominantly in the field of neuropsychiatric diseases. This is achieved by combining genome-wide genotyping and sequencing approaches with bioinformatics and in vitro assays. One of the first papers published since the inception of the Neuropsychiatric Genetics Group was the first ever family-based genome-wide association study (GWAS) in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. This study – which was selected as one of the “Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs in 2008” by Time Magazine – resulted in the identification of CD33 (siglec-3) as a novel genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

Neuropsychiatric Genetics

The scientific expertise of the Neuropsychiatric Genetics Group lies in the mapping and characterization of complex disease genes, predominantly in the field of neuropsychiatric diseases. This is achieved by combining genome-wide genotyping and sequencing approaches with bioinformatics and in vitro assays. One of the first papers published since the inception of the Neuropsychiatric Genetics Group was the first ever family-based genome-wide association study (GWAS) in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. This study – which was selected as one of the “Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs in 2008” by Time Magazine – resulted in the identification of CD33 (siglec-3) as a novel genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

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Human individuals are diploid by nature. Therefore, the independent determination of both haplotype sequences of an individual genome is essential to link genetic variation to gene and genome function, phenotype and disease. To address the importance of phase, we have established approaches, resources and methods to generate multiple haplotype-resolved genomes (~2.5 Terabytes of data) and obtain first key results characterizing the diploid landscape. Thus, our work includes the following aspects: (i) Development of novel molecular genetics and bioinformatics approaches and methods to haplotype-resolve whole genomes, and their application to data production; (ii) analysis and annotation of haplotype-resolved human genomes at the individual and population level, and (iii) establishment of public resources to enable integration of phase information at the gene and genome level. In summary, this work will advance our understanding of the inherently diploid biology of genes and genomes, of genotype-phenotype relationships, and prepare the ground for ‘phase-sensitive’ personal genomics and individualized medicine.

Diploid Genomics

Human individuals are diploid by nature. Therefore, the independent determination of both haplotype sequences of an individual genome is essential to link genetic variation to gene and genome function, phenotype and disease. To address the importance of phase, we have established approaches, resources and methods to generate multiple haplotype-resolved genomes (~2.5 Terabytes of data) and obtain first key results characterizing the diploid landscape. Thus, our work includes the following aspects: (i) Development of novel molecular genetics and bioinformatics approaches and methods to haplotype-resolve whole genomes, and their application to data production; (ii) analysis and annotation of haplotype-resolved human genomes at the individual and population level, and (iii) establishment of public resources to enable integration of phase information at the gene and genome level. In summary, this work will advance our understanding of the inherently diploid biology of genes and genomes, of genotype-phenotype relationships, and prepare the ground for ‘phase-sensitive’ personal genomics and individualized medicine.

[more]
Knowledge of evolutionary principles is essential for the understanding of both, the function of an organism and its relationship with its environment. In this respect, it is fundamental for the comprehension of human biology and disease. Evolutionary questions such as how species are formed and how environmental influences lead to the development of a range of phenotypes from a single genotype are very relevant for understanding the origin of phenotypic variation between individuals and how individuals might respond to environmental challenge.

Evolution & Development Group

Knowledge of evolutionary principles is essential for the understanding of both, the function of an organism and its relationship with its environment. In this respect, it is fundamental for the comprehension of human biology and disease. Evolutionary questions such as how species are formed and how environmental influences lead to the development of a range of phenotypes from a single genotype are very relevant for understanding the origin of phenotypic variation between individuals and how individuals might respond to environmental challenge. [more]
According to the world health organization (WHO), malignant neoplasms are the most common cause of death worldwide. Despite intensive research on carcinogenesis this frightening scenario will persist mainly due to the overall increase of lifetime expectancy. Furthermore, most cancers are only diagnosed in an advanced stage, which prohibits curative treatment and a large proportion of patients do not respond to their chemotherapy.

Cancer Biology

According to the world health organization (WHO), malignant neoplasms are the most common cause of death worldwide. Despite intensive research on carcinogenesis this frightening scenario will persist mainly due to the overall increase of lifetime expectancy. Furthermore, most cancers are only diagnosed in an advanced stage, which prohibits curative treatment and a large proportion of patients do not respond to their chemotherapy. [more]
Mathematical modeling and simulation techniques have turned out to be valuable tools for the understanding of complex systems in different areas of research and engineering. In recent years, this approach has come to application frequently also in biology, resulting in the establishment of the research area systems biology. Systems biology tries to understand the behaviour of complex biological systems by means of mathematical approaches.

Systems Biology Group

Mathematical modeling and simulation techniques have turned out to be valuable tools for the understanding of complex systems in different areas of research and engineering. In recent years, this approach has come to application frequently also in biology, resulting in the establishment of the research area systems biology. Systems biology tries to understand the behaviour of complex biological systems by means of mathematical approaches. [more]
 
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