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Life Sciences Report 2019 / 2020

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18 Life

18 Life Sciences Report – Diagnostics metaSysX GmbH, which are also dedicated to the metabolite analysis in the human field. Very complex, still little understood but nevertheless meaningful: the glycome Sugars not only play a major role in food intake and energy production. The modification of cells and proteins with sugar residues is essential for many biological processes in the body. A change in these sugar residues can be accompanied by the progression of various diseases. The group of Prof. Véronique Blanchard at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin was able to identify an entire glycome panel in the area of ovarian carcinoma, which gives an indication of this disease at an early stage. Prof. Seeberger’s Department of Biomolecular Systems at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces is connected worldwide and a leader in the field of glycobiology. A trend topic with scientific substance: the microbiome The human body is colonized by more microorganisms than the actually amount of cells it contains. The role of these microorganisms is only partially understood and it is becoming increasingly clear that they have an influence not only on digestion, but also on the immune system and the occurrence of various diseases. The Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin is dedicated to this topic e.g. in the Institute for Microbiology and Infection Immunology. The group of Prof. Marcus Frohme at the TH Wildau is also doing research in this area which has already led to a spinoff: Biomes NGS GmbH offers an analysis of the intestinal flora and gives recommendations on how a disturbed intestinal flora can be regenerated. MDC – Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) is also dedicated to this topic. The Sofia Forslund working group investigates host microbiome factors in heart disease. In order to get closer to the goal of a high-precision, quantitative understanding of host-microbiome interaction, data obtained using high-throughput methods from human hosts and microbiomes are analyzed. Metadata on disease development, diet and lifestyle are also taken into account. 2. Bioinformatics: collecting and analyzing all data available Large amounts of data have to be generated, but also evaluated. Bioinformatics has become an integral part of modern medicine and provides the basis for the modelling and simulation of complex systems. In the future, this will enable better and faster diagnostics, the development and application of targeted therapies and the prediction of outcomes. Bioinformatics uses “OMICS” data, which are generated at an unprecedented speed and increasingly cost-effectively using high-throughput Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods, and combines them with other data sources – for example imaging methods. Various computer tools are used to interpret gene expression patterns, identify mutations and describe the relationship between the data and therapeutic success. With its screening unit, the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) offers scientists and SMEs access to high-throughput technologies, especially in the field of cancer medicine, whereby the IP can remain with the client or project partner. The large amount of data generated has only a value for further research if it is combined with a “smart” analysis and evaluation. In the Berlin-Brandenburg region are many research institutions and companies that offer exactly this analysis. The advantage here is to combine data from different sources. In the MODAL research campus, a platform between the Zuse-Institut Berlin (ZIB), the Free University of Berlin and twelve companies, the application of various mathematical models is intended to address challenges in information-based medicine. © Pablo Castagnola / MDC “Science is just beginning to understand how our health is influenced by the microbiome – the ecosystem of bacteria in our intestinal tract. These microorganisms are involved in processes that affect the entire body. They help digest food, render pathogens harmless, produce signaling molecules, and can activate immune cells. Some appear to promote health, while others can harm it. Precisely the expertise I need for my work – connecting the microbiome to cardiovascular diseases – is here in Berlin.” Dr. Sofia Forslund Group Leader „Host-microbiome factors in cardiovascular disease“, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)

Life Sciences Report – Diagnostics 19 © Pablo Castagnola / MDC “The interdisciplinary spirit of the BIMSB is reflected in the international initiative Life- Time that is co-coordinated together with Geneviève Almouzni at the Institut Curie. With high-profile scientific, industrial and political partners and supporters all across Europe, LifeTime is a large-scale research initiative with the mission to revolutionise healthcare by tracking, understanding and targeting cells during disease. To achieve this, it is currently developing a roadmap that will lay out a strategy to integrate breakthrough technologies such as single cell omics including advanced imaging, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as well as personalised disease models such as organoids and how it can be implemented in Europe.” Prof. Nikolaus Rajewsky Scientific Director Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) A hotspot for (bio-)medical informatics is the Hasso- Plattner-Institute (HPI), Digital Health Center in Potsdam. The Digital Health Center brings together individuals from health sciences, human sciences, data sciences, digital engineering and society with a shared goal to improve health and wellbeing. The research group “Digital Health – Machine Learning”, headed by Prof. Christoph Lippert, works on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms and novel applications in medicine. They develop models to detect disease patterns in images and molecular data and statistical models for the quantitative analysis of large cohorts. Technical advances in imaging and DNA sequencing enable diagnosis of disease earlier and more accurate than ever. Innovative use of data promises to revolutionize clinical practice and to turn medicine into a data science. To view the individual OMICS areas not isolated from each other, but to understand them in their entirety, is the goal of future research and will give new impulses for innovative developments. At BIMSB – The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology – high-throughput technologies, mathematics, bioinformatics, molecular biology and engineering sciences can be combined to describe entire systems and develop new, personalized therapies for various diseases. This involves understanding the processes in a single cell and their effects on entire organs, organ systems, organisms and, ultimately, entire species. In order to address this topic comprehensively and also to think beyond the region, national and international expertise will be bundled in the so called LifeTime consortium. But the research at BIMSB is not exclusively to this consortium. Prof. Ohlers group for example is working in basic research with computer-based approaches to understand the biology of gene regulation in eukaryotic organisms. The longterm goal of the group is to investigate regulatory networks that allow cells to perform different functions despite having the same genome. 3. Simulation: replacing the human organism The human organism and the complexity of diseases can only be understood if both are thought of in terms of networks for which prevention, diagnostics and therapy are interlinked like cogwheels. To achieve this, new technologies are constantly being applied to develop medical models based on human examples. A major player in this field © Philipp Arnold “With our new research building ‘Simulated Human,’ – the expertise of the Charité and the TU Berlin is combined and focuses the simulated human being as an experimental model. For example, we can cultivate individual cancer cells from a biopsy on the organ-on-a-chip technology and test the effects and efficiency of various new therapies. The special feature of our centre will also be the public presentation on the lower two floors.” Prof. Andreas Thiel Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Prof. Roland Lauster Technische Universität Berlin

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