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Ever since the human genome was decoded in 2003, genomic technology has exploded. A person’s DNA can now be sequenced for less than €1,000, meaning their genetic material can readily be analyzed for potential disease susceptibilities or gene therapy targets. The development also presents huge research opportunities, not least using models with multiple layers of molecular biological and clinical data to understand how genes and mechanisms that control their function affect disease (multiscale genomics).
Several translational research units within BIH and its corporate bodies are active in this area, creating an ideal situation for a coordinated “Berlin approach” for multiscale genomics focused on translation. BIH’s plan is therefore to establish a Multiscale Genomics Platform anchored by a Translational Genomics Center in comple¬mentary interaction with Charité and MDC structures.
This will encompass a medical genomics unit to investigate the genetic causes of disease; a systems medicine/ multiscale genomics/bioinformatics unit to study disease causation; and a unit looking at the role of microorganisms in health and disease.
These will build on existing BIH facilities and be enhanced through the recruitment of one chair and five professorships, specializing in areas including population genetics, genetic epidemiology and systems biology. The platform aims to become an international beacon for translational genomics and personalized medicine.