Research

Towards solving the puzzle of aging
Aging is still an enigma, which has challenged scientists and philosophers for centuries. For example, individuals within one species or population show a divers range of life spans (most humans die around 80 years of age, whereas some reach the age of 100 or even more). Which genes are responsible for this variance in lifespan and how exactly is aging caused? We try to help answer these questions by the means of transcriptomic data analysis, including the identification of genes and biological processes that are differentially regulated through time, in different species and tissues.
RegenerAging — Analyzing the regulation of aging
one doctoral student
2015–2018

Statistical modeling of genomic and transcriptomic data
In the last two decades in the biotechnological area, one revolutionary advancement was chased by another, leading the life sciences into the big data era. However, besides the availability of vast amounts of different biological data, we still lack sufficient statistical models and methods to accurately process and evaluate these data. We aim to develop specialised statistical tools in the context of genomics (e.g., fuzzy k-meres) and transcriptomics (e.g., accurate modeling of read count distributions). We work on different aspects of statistical analysis, starting from the theoretical problem formulation, to the implementation of statistical models and the appropriated visualisation of results.

Molecular serology for rapid determination of vaccination titers
The Permanent Vaccination Commission (STIKO) annually publishes a list of recommended vaccinations. A high vaccination rate in a population is the best requirement to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. However, the present system is being challenged by massive migration of people from crisis areas. Therefore, we want to develop a novel diagnostic tool to determine, in a single test run, the antibody status against all vaccinations recommended by the STIKO. For this purpose, new bioinformatic tools for in silico identification of diagnostically relevant epitopes will be developed. This will render the diagnosis faster, less expensive and less time consuming and, at the same time, considerably more informative.
Zwanzig20 – InfectControl 2020
Molekulare Serologie zur schnellen Bestimmung der Impftiter gegen impf-präventable
Infektionskrankheiten (STIKO-Liste) bei Migranten und anderen Patientengruppen

Subproject: STIKO-Serologie
One PostDocs and one doctoral student
2016–2019

List of current grants:
  • CRC 1076 — AquaDiva
    A6: Viral Diversity, Viral de novo Assembly, and Viral Decay in Groundwater, Speaker: Kirsten Küsel
    one doctoral student (48 months E13/75%)
    2017–2019
  • DFG SFB/TR124
    Pathogenic fungi and their human host; B5: The role of human microbiota for the development of fungal infectious diseases – Candida albicans as a case study, Speaker: Axel Brakhage
    one doctoral student (48 months E13/65%)
    2017–2019
  • DFG iDiv
    All-in-one Multiplex-Sequencing
    two PostDocs (2×24 months)
    2017–2019
  • Zwanzig20 – InfectControl 2020
    Molekulare Serologie zur schnellen Bestimmung der Impftiter gegen impf-präventable Infektionskrankheiten (STIKO-Liste) bei Migranten und anderen Patientengruppen
    Subproject: STIKO-Serologie
    2016–2019
  • DFG Sachmittelantrag MA 5082/9-1
    Embryonale nicht-kodierende RNAs in der menschlichen Plazenta und dem mütterlichen Blutkreislauf
    one doctoral student (36 months E13/100%)
    2016–2019
  • DFG SPP 1596
    Ecology and Species Barriers in Emerging Viral Diseases
    one doctoral student (36 months E13/75%)
    one PostDoc (36 months E13/50%)
    associated member
    2016–2019
  • MGH — XDP
    Exploration of Non-coding RNAs Involved in X-linked Dystonia-Parkinsonism through High-Throughput Sequencing (RNA-Seq)
    one doctoral student (24 months E13/75%)
    co-PI with Christine Klein and Aloysius Domingo
    2016–2018
  • ZAJ — RegenerAging
    RegenerAging — Analyzing the regulation of aging
    one doctoral student (36 months E13/50%)
    2015–2018
  • DFG Forschungszentrum 118 — iDiv
    iDiv — German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research
    associated member
    since 2015

List of expired grants:
  • DFG SFB/Transregio 124 — FungiNet
    Pathogenic fungi and their human host: Networks of interaction
    one doctoral student (36 months E13/65%)
    2013–2017
  • CRC 1076 — AquaDiva
    BIODIV4 – Elucidation of microbial nutrient cycling using key functional genes and proteins
    one shared doctoral student (36 months E13/50%)
    associated member
    2013–2017
  • Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung
    Lücken im Kraftwerk der Zukunft – Kombinierte Metabolom- und Transkriptomanalyse des Hell/Dunkel-Zyklus bei Cyanobakterien
    one doctoral student (24 months E13/50%)
    one PostDoc (24 months E13/100%)
    2014–2016
  • DFG – SPP 1596
    2013–2016
    Ecology and Species Barriers in Emerging Viral Diseases
    one doctoral student (24 months E13/50%)
    associated member
    2013–2016
  • DFG – Sachmittelantrag MA-5082/1
    Automated Genomewide Annotation of Non-coding RNAs
    two doctoral students (36 months E13/50%)
    2011–2016
  • DFG – Graduiertenkolleg GRK-1384
    International Research Training Group – Enzymes and multienzme complexes acting on nucleic acids
    one doctoral student (54 months E13/50%)
    2011–2015
  • DFG – SPP 1258
    Sensory and regulatory RNAs in Prokaryotes
    associated member of SPP 1258
    2010–2013