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In longitudinal cohort and patient studies, we combine genome-wide epigenetic analyses with system medicine approaches to identify predictive markers for disease. Research in this field is driven by two major aims: the early identification of high-risk patients and the characterization of sensitive time windows and subpopulations as basis for individualized prevention strategies.

There is strong evidence that many diseases developed during adulthood might have an origin in the childhood period. We are therefore are particularly interested in epigenetic programming during early life with a focus on lung diseases and early childhood asthma.

Research focus

  • Epigenetics of childhood asthma
  • Early childhood imprinting of asthma/allergies, overweight and behavioral disorders
  • Epigenetic alterations by particulate air pollution


Epigenetic changes with increased fine dust pollution

There is strong evidence for particulate matter caused adverse health effects including cardiovascular diseases, lung inflammation and metabolic disorders. Some recent studies report epigenetic modifications such as alterations of DNA methylation in association with particle exposure. However, available data in this field are sparse and inconsistent. To close this gap of knowledge, this project will provide comprehensive, genome-wide data on DNA-methylation and microRNA-expression pattern based on sequencing approaches from individuals exposed to particulate matter. The final aim is to identify epigenetic marker signatures predictive for later disease development.

Funded by the Umweltbundesamt (FKZ 3717 62b204 0)
Funding duration: November 2018 – April 2021
Volume: 1, 36 Mio €

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Irina Lehmann / Dr. Saskia Trump (Molekular Epidemiology Unit, BIH and Charité)

Co-operation partner:

Prof. Dr. Roland Eils and Dr. Naveed Ishaque (BIH and Charité Centre for Digital Health)
Dr. Tomasz Zimojtel (Core Unit Genomics at BIH)
Dr. Dominik Lermen and Dr. Martina Bartel-Steinbach (Fraunhofer-Institute for Biomedical Engeneering IBMT)


Head: Univ. Prof. Dr. Irina Lehmann (irina.lehmann@charite.de)
Deputy Head: Dr. Saskia Trump (saskia.trump@charite.de)
Scientist: Dr. Loreen Thürmann (loreen.thuermann@charite.de)
PhD student: Matthias Klös (matthias.kloes@charite.de)
PhD student: Jennifer Loske (jennifer.loske@charite.de)
PhD student: Marey Messingschlager (marey.messingschlager@charite.de)
Technical Assistant: Anke Seegebarth (anke.seegebarth@charite.de)
Team Assistant / Project Coordination: Monique Salzmann (monique.salzmann@charite.de)

Selected publications

Junge KM, Leppert B, Jahreis S, Wissenbach DK, Feltens R, Grützmann K, Thürmann L, Bauer T, Ishaque N, Schick M, Bewerunge-Hudler M, Röder S, Bauer M, Schulz A, Borte M, Landgraf K, Körner A, Kiess W, von Bergen M, Stangl GI, Trump S, Eils R, Polte T, Lehmann I. MEST mediates the impact of prenatal bisphenol A exposure on long-term body weight development.Clin Epigenetics. 2018 Apr 20;10:58. doi: 10.1186/s13148-018-0478-z. 

Thürmann L, Grützmann K, Klös M, Bieg M, Winter M, Polte T, Bauer T, Schick M, Bewerunge-Hudler M, Röder S, Bauer M, Wissenbach DK, Sack U, Weichenhan D, Mücke O, Plass C, Borte M, von Bergen M, Lehmann I, Eils R, Trump S. Early-onset childhood atopic dermatitis is related to NLRP2 repression.J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Apr;141(4):1482-1485.e16. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.11.018. Epub 2017 Dec 9. 

Jahreis S, Trump S, Bauer M, Bauer T, Thürmann L, Feltens R, Wang Q, Gu L, Grützmann K, Röder S, Averbeck M, Weichenhahn D, Plass C, Sack U, Borte M, G. Schüürmann, Simon JC, von Bergen, Hackermüller J, Eils R#, Lehmann I#, Polte T#. Maternal phthalate exposure promotes allergic airway inflammation over two generations via epigenetic modifications. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2017, Apr 6. pii: S0091-6749(17)30570-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.03.017.  

Trump S, Bieg M, Gu Z, Thürmann L, Bauer T, Bauer M, Ishaque N, Röder S, Gu L, Herberth G, Lawerenz C, Borte M, Schlesner M, Plass C, Diessl N, Eszlinger M, Mücke O, Elvers HD, Wissenbach DK, von Bergen M, Herrmann C, Weichenhan D, Wright RJ, Lehmann I, Eils R. Prenatal maternal stress and wheeze in children: novel insights into epigenetic regulation.Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 28;6:28616. doi: 10.1038/srep28616.   

Bauer T, Trump S, Ishaque N, Thürmann L, Gu L, Bauer M, Bieg M, Gu Z, Weichenhan D, Mallm JP, Röder S, Herberth G, Takada E, Mücke O, Winter M, Junge KM, Grützmann K, Rolle-Kampczyk U, Wang Q, Lawerenz C, Borte M, Polte T, Schlesner M, Schanne M, Wiemann S, Geörg C, Stunnenberg HG, Plass C, Rippe K, Mizuguchi J, Herrmann C, Eils R & Lehmann I. Environment-induced epigenetic reprogramming in genomic regulatory elements in smoking mothers and their children. Mol Syst Biol. 201612:861. DOI10.15252/msb.20156520

Contact for inquirie

Monique Salzmann
Team Assistant / Project Coordination
Kappelle-Ufer 2
10117 Berlin
+49 30 450 543 094

Irina Lehmann

Prof. Dr Irina Lehmann

BIH Professor for Environmental Epigenetics and Lung Research

Staff members

  • Irina Lehmann

    Prof. Dr Irina Lehmann


  • Dr. Saskia Trump

    Deputy Head

  • Dr. Loreen Thürmann


  • Matthias Klös

    Phd Student

  • Anke Seegebarth

    Technical Assistant

  • Monique Salzmann

    Team Assistant / Project Coordination

  • Marey Messingschlager

    PhD Student

  • Jennifer Loske

    PhD Student