Genetic Epidemiology aims at identifying and quantifying genetic risk factors for complex diseases as well as their interaction with non-genetic factors. Genome association studies (GWAS) are one of the most successful approach to unravel the genetic regions that are associated with various diseases and disease-relevant parameters. This research requires expertise not only in statistical methodology and knowledge of the human genetic architecture, but also the means to analyse high-dimensional "-omics" data via bioinformatic approaches. The quantity and depth of the data is rapidly increasing by technological advancements. Thus, the respective methodology requires a constant update and further development. A particular challenge is the understanding of the biological pathways and specific genes, by which the genetic variants associated with the disease exert their influence on the disease occurrence or progression. This requires statistical modelling, bioinformatic methods, gene expression data analyses, and the cooperation with research partners working on functional studies. Beyond the identification of the genetic make-up of diseases, Genetic Epidemiology also addresses questions of quantifying genetic risk and disease risk stratification that are relevant for prevention, diagnosis, and therapy.
These projects and platforms are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
We foster numerous collaborations with colleagues from Epidemiology, Medical Sociology, Human Genetics, and clinical partners (e.g. Nephrology, Cardiology, Ophthalmology, Virology).