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Jennifer Kirwan:
"Metabolomics: Towards Precision Medicine"

Metabolomics combines the effects of the genomic potential of an individual with their environmental experiences and microbiome interactions and reveals how these different factors interact to produce the observed phenotype. It can therefore act as an objective measure of an individual’s phenotype and, as such, it is an essential research tool in the quest for precision medicine. This talk will introduce the BIH Metabolomics Platform, discuss some of its newest tools, and showcase some of the preclinical and clinical research it is engaging in which are contributing towards our quest to precision medicine.

Johannes Benjamin Holle:
"Microbiota-Host Interaction in Children With Chronic Kidney Disease"

Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) suffer from a high morbidity and mortality, which is mainly attributed to cardiovascular disease. As a consequence of impaired kidney function, metabolites from gut microbial fermentation (uremic toxins) accumulate in the circulation of CKD patients and exhibit broad pro-inflammatory and pro-atherogenic effects. As a consequence, even children with CKD develop early cardiovascular damage, even in the absence of traditional comorbidities commonly seen in adult CKD patients. Therefore, the analysis of pediatric CKD cohorts with multi-omics approaches enables us to elucidate mechanism of microbiota-immune interaction which specifically related to CKD. We aim to gain a better understanding of the development of CKD-driven comorbidities and to identify new treatment targets to prevent renal function loss and the development of cardiovascular disease.

Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Kirwan (Head of the Metabolomics Platform, Berlin Institute of Health at Charité)

Dr. Kirwan started her career as a clinical veterinarian where she became increasingly interested in how research translated into changes in clinical practice and evidence based medicine. After completing her PhD at the University of Liverpool, she moved to the University of Birmingham, UK and from there to the Max Delbrück Center of Molecular Medicine, Germany. She is part of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) Initiative to improve translational research and now heads the BIH Metabolomics Platform in Berlin, the third pillar of the internationally renowned Charité hospital. This has enabled her to focus on health related metabolomics and mass spectrometry research and she is particularly interested in the gut-brain-heart health triad and how the microbiome influences health. She is a founding member of the German Metabolomics Society, a board member of the international Metabolomics quality assurance and quality control consortium (MQACC) and is an active member of the Precision Medicine and Pharmacogenomics working group of the International Metabolomics Society.

Speaker: Dr. Johannes Benjamin Holle (Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Nephrology and Metabolic Diseases, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin)

Johannes Holle finished Medical School in 2011 at the Ulm University Medical Center, where he subsequently started his residency at the Department of Pediatrics. He carried out his MD thesis about the characterization of mesenchymal stem cells, isolated from acinus cells of the salivary gland (Prof. Dr. Nicole Rotter). In 2015, he moved to Berlin to track his specialization in pediatric nephrology at the Charité University Hospital, accompanied by a clinical fellowshop in pediatric intensive care medicine from 2017 – 2019. As a physician scientist he joined the newly created group of Nicola Wilck at the ECRC (https://www.mdc-berlin.de/de/wilck, MDC Berlin), which provides an inspiring and interdisciplinary environment with an extensive knowledge about microbiota-immune crosstalk for young researchers. Within his post-doctoral fellowship he focuses on the development of new microbiota-centered treatments to improve the cardiovascular outcome of children and adults with chronic kidney disease.

Lecture Chair: Dr. Sofia Forslund (Group Leader Host-Microbiome Factors in Cardiovascular Disease, MDC Berlin-Buch, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine)

Dr. Sofia Kirke Forslund trained as a molecular biotechnologist in Uppsala, then in 2011 aquired a PhD in computational biology in Stockholm. After post-doctoral research at the EMBL she founded in 2018 the Host-Microbiome Systems Medicine of Cardiometabolic Disease group at the ECRC (joint MDC/Charité venture) in Berlin. Her work to date has focused in three main areas.

1) Evolutionary and systems bioinformatics tool development, confounder analysis and big data integration. Analysis of gene and genome evolution, including gene function prediction, is necessary to make the most of high-throughput “-omics” datasets. Furthermore, as the work of the lab has shown, human systems biology very strongly reflects patient demographics, risk factors and treatment effects, making it essential to account for confounding factors in bioinformatics analysis. The Forslund lab develops and benchmarks such “covariate-aware” analysis tools as well as tools for data integration.

2) Metagenome analyses of pathogenicity of microbiomes including antibiotic resistance. Bridging evolutionary bioinformatics to human-associated and environmental microbiome sequencing, the Forslund lab explores the evolutionary, ecosystem and clinical distributions of opportunistic pathogens, virulence capacity, and antibiotic resistance, and explores the role of external risk factors. Notable results include effects of antibiotic exposure at the population and individual levels, including reporting evidence of a role of antibiotics in food production driving resistance of bacteria in the human gut.

3) Roles of microbiota in rise, treatment, diagnosis and management of systemic disease or health of the host. The Forslund lab, in various collaborations, have linked the microbiome to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and hypertension, and are assessing the role of diet or medication in affecting this system with the goal of developing personalized medicine and nutrition platforms for complex diseases of the host.


The Lecture will be held online via GoToMeeting. To participate in the Lecture, please register hereThe registration will be open until maximal participant capacity is reached.

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Thursday, 27 January 2022
3:00 – 4:30 pm (Berlin, CET)


via GoToMeeting
A login-link or dial-in number for the phone as well as an access code for the Lecture will be provided the evening before the event.


Please register here.
The registration will be open until maximal participant capacity is reached.

PD Dr. Mareen Matz

Projektmanagerin Nationale Strategie für gen- und zellbasierte Therapien, Forschungskoordinatorin