Professor Peter Nürnberg / Professor Bernd Wollnik: Functional Genomics (Cologne Center for Genomics [CCG], Institute for Human Genetics)

Molecular-based approaches usually fall far short of interpreting complex phenomena in living systems and therefore are being replaced by network-based approaches. To fully understand how inflammatory pathways govern vascular remodelling in cardiovascular disease (CVD), comprehensive analyses of gene regulation will be important. The CCG will provide state-of-the-art technology and proven expertise in functional genomics. It operates key array platforms, such as those from Affymetrix and Illumina, qPCR systems from ABI and Roche, several next generation sequencing platforms (Roche/454 FLX, Ion Torrent PGM, Illumina HiSeq, MiSeq and GAIIx) as well as conventional Sanger and Pyrosequencing devices. Expression profiling using arrays and RNA-Seq are being performed for coding and non-coding RNAs (in particular miRNAs). Other applications include Chip-Seq, CLIP-Seq and HITS-CLIP for the analysis of protein-DNA and protein-RNA interactions as well as the investigation of DNA methylation. Together with the Institute for Human Genetics we have developed pipelines for the analysis and functional interpretation of all kinds of DNA variants which we systematically identify by targeted re-sequencing of genomics regions or gene panels, whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing. During the first funding period we aim to recruit larger patient cohorts with cardiovascular disorders (e.g. dyslipidemia-related vascular diseases) for future genetic analysis of these common disorders. By analysing large patient cohorts we will assist in the future the members of the CCRC in determining genetic and epigenetic CVD risk factors.