As a student, I was strongly attracted by computers, so it was natural for me to start my studies in computer science in my home town, Bern (Switzerland). At that time, I found artificial intelligence to be a particularly intriguing subject and wanted to continue my studies in a different language region. I worked through my Ph.D. in an AI lab in the French speaking part of Switzerland, in Lausanne by the lake of Geneva. During this work about collaboration between engineers from different fields in the building industry, I adopted the idea that collaboration is essential for most modern projects. This particularly holds for medical and biological projects, where more and more often high-throughput data is analyzed. Such projects are very often performed using a multitude of researchers from very different fields like medicine, biology, statistics, computer science and mathematics. I wanted to contribute to life-science related projects in my later career, but realized that I needed more education to be able to add my share to such projects. So I worked through a master course on bioinformatics to learn the needed language to collaborate with physicians and biologists. After this education, I decided to go abroad as a post-doc researcher. In particular Germans laugh at me, when I tell them that I decided to go to Berlin (Germany) and pretend that this was going abroad. Well, bear in mind that Switzerland is not even part of the EU and the largest city is 10 times smaller than Berlin!
Research in life-science is often related to technological inprovements. In the latest years, one of these improvements was the development of sequencing technologies for tremendous through-put at low cost. The evaluation of this technology for applications in medical and biological questions is of huge interest. Next generation sequencing may increase possibilities for personal medicine. The differentiation between false and true positives, however, is strongly challenged by sequencing errors und spurious matches.
An additional rather novel source of results in medical projects is the combination of high through-put data from patients with such data from controlled experiments under laboratory conditions. Although such results come from substantially different cellular contexts, similar behavior of certain genes can serve as a basis for new hypotheses.
The integration of new data from high through-put expression data with previously known information is also a valid source for conclusions. There is a strong danger, however, to confound truly novel results with self-fulfilling prophecy based on previous knowledge. Nevertheless, with a critical view on such results, classification and clustering guided by known data can improve results.
Personalized medicine can improve treatment for patients by choosing the adequate medication quickly. Genome-wide high-throughput measurements for each patient provide the means to determine the needed precise and fine-grained diagnoses for each patient. As principal investigator, I drive projects in my responsability toward the development of related statistical and computational methods, and evaluate such novel attempts in close collaboration with physicians and biologists.
I am involved in the Computational Science program of study offerd in the University of Regensburg. My duties here include solving of organizational issues, development of exercises and exams for general bioinformatics bachelor courses, mentoring of bachelor and master students, as well as the planning of master seminars.
Since 2007: Principal investigator at the Institute for Functional Genomics of the University of Regensburg (Germany)
2002 - 2006: Post-doc researcher at the Computational Molecular Biology Department of the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics Berlin (Germany).
2000 - 2002: Master in bioinformatics at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics while working at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research
1994 - 2000: Ph.D. in computer science at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne
1988 - 1994: Diploma studies in computer science, mathematics and microelectronics at the Institute of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics of the University of Berne and the Swiss Center of Electronics and Microtechnology of the University of Neuchatel.