Genetics and Epidemiology
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Research Focus
Genetics and Epidemiology


Our research aims to identify the genetic causes of diseases and, on this basis, to elucidate the biological processes leading to the disease. The research results provide the basis for the development of new diagnostic methods. In the longer term, it should also be possible to better assess disease prognosis and to develop effective, individually tailored drug therapies and preventive measures. In addition to rare hereditary diseases, the Institute's research groups also focus on multifactorial diseases that are common in the population.


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Prof. Dr. Markus Nöthen

Institute for Human Genetics

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At a Glance

The research focus of Genetics and Epidemiology is spanning over multiple disciplines but shares a strong methodological or conceptual basis.

It shows an extraordinarily high degree of networking both within the faculty and UKB (including the four other research foci) and with non-university institutions. Thus, is quite decisively responsible for the successful development of the faculty during its recent years.

Current Events

Seminars, events and news of the Genetics and Epidemiology research focus can be found here in the future.


Selected research associations sorted alphabetically

  • BMBF: COMMITMENT "Modeling comorbidity processes through integrative machine transfer learning for psychiatric disorders."
    Subproject: PD Dr. Franziska Degenhardt
  • BMBF: DietBB "From epidemiology to evidence-based communication."
    Subproject: Prof. Markus M. Nöthen
  • EU: PSY-PGX "A new intervention for implementation of pharmacogenetics in psychiatry"
    Subproject: Prof. Markus Nöthen, Co-PI: Prof. Alexandra Philipsen 
  • EU: Solve-RD "Solving the unsolved Rare Diseases"
    Coordinator: Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen; Bonn: Prof. Stefan Aretz

In the research area Genetics and Epidemiology as a cross-sectional subject, genetically oriented projects are an important part of a large number of collaborations (a.o. DFG Exzellenzcluster „ImmunoSensation“, BMBF Competence Cluster in Nutrition Research „Diet-Body-Brain, DietBB“, FP7 „Neuromics“, EU-IMI Projekt „Direct“).

This page is currently under construction

This page is currently under construction

  • Emmy Noether Junior Research Group (DFG):
    Dr. Kerstin U. Ludwig "Integrative craniofacial genomics - From GWAS to function"
  • NRW Focus Professorship:
    Prof. Krawitz "Genomic Statistics and Bioinformatics"
  • Highly Cited Researchers 2018
    Prof. Markus Nöthen
  • Marylou Buyse Excellence in Craniofacial Research Award 2020
    Dr. Kerstin U. Ludwig

Organization & Support of Young Talent

Organization Structure

Translational structures
In 2011, the Center for Rare Diseases Bonn (ZSEB)333was founded, the first such center at a university hospital in NRW. A large part of the research and treatment centers combined in the ZSEB is dedicated to genetically caused diseases. The ZSEB successfully bridges the gap between research and patient care with a multidisciplinary approach. In twelve special outpatient clinics - including neurology, human genetics, oncology and pediatrics - more than 2,000 patients are diagnosed and treated each year within the framework of interdisciplinary concepts.

In 2014, an interdisciplinary competence unit for patients without a diagnosis ("InterPoD") was established in a national pioneering role and funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung from 2014 to 2017. In the project  „Translate NAMSE“4, which has been funded by the Innovation Fund of the GBA since the end of 2017 and aims to improve the care of people with rare diseases, Bonn coordinates the areas of neurological diseases and patients without diagnosis.

The basic equipment of the ZSEB is provided by the UKB and the faculty. Bonn is involved in two European Reference Networks for Rare Diseases (GeneticTumourRiskSyndromes - GENTURIS, European Reference Network on Rare Neurological Diseases - ERN-RND). The focus on Familial Tumor Diseases (Prof. Stefan Aretz) is an integral part of the Center for Integrated Oncology555.

Low-threshold service offerings have been developed for the broad utilization of the technological and methodological expertise of the Core Facility. In 2016, the Core Facility „Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)“666 was established, in 2017 the Core Facility „Bioinformatics Data Analysis“777.

In the translation platform  LIFE & BRAIN GmbH8, the Genomics division provides services in the areas of nucleic acid extraction, biobanking, array-based omics analyses and third generation sequencing (PacBio Sequel technology), among others. A leading service provider in Europe in the field of genomic analyses has been established here.

Education Structure

As cross-sectional subjects, Genetics and Epidemiology are involved in all degree programs of the faculty. The extraordinary achievements of Human Genetics in teaching were recognized in 2017 with the university's teaching award. Genetics and epidemiology are core subjects of the newly created, interdisciplinary Bonn International Graduate School Clinical and Population Sciences10 (BIGS-CPS), which combines the expertise of scientists from the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Agriculture, the DZNE and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).

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