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Dr. Jörg Hoheisel

is head of the Division of Functional Genome Analysis at DKFZ.
Dr. Andrea Bauer
is coordinating the activities in the area of pancreatic cancer.

Overall research programme:
Research at the Division of Functional Genome Analysis (www.dkfz.de/funct_genome) aims at the development and immediate application of new technologies for the production and processing of molecular information at a global cellular level. The overall objectives are an analysis, assessment and description of the realisation of cellular function from genetic information as well as the understanding of the regulation of the relevant processes. Many projects are pursued in national and international collaborations and programmes.

One emphasis area in our efforts is work on DNA-, protein- and peptide-microarrays. Many chemical and biophysical issues as well as matters of data analysis are being addressed in an attempt to understand the underlying procedural aspects, thereby eventually establishing superior analysis procedures. Based on the technical advances, the methods are immediately put to use in several, biologically or biomedically motivated studies of various kinds on different organisms. Concerning the analysis of human material, systems are being developed toward early diagnosis, prognosis and evaluation of the success of disease treatment with an accentuation on cancer.

Comparative studies are under way, for instance, on the epigenetic modulation of the genome, in combination with transcription factor binding assays, measurements of transcript levels and the actual protein expression, the last performed by means of complex antibody microarrays, toward an understanding of biological functions and their cellular consequences. To this end, also new methods and tools are required, such as for the selection of antibodies of high specificity and affinity. Another area of activity is the establishment of processes for studies on the influence of DNA-structure on enzymatic activities. This direction of research has perspectives for both analytical purposes and towards a basic scientific understanding of interactions of protein and nucleic acids. Genomic mapping and sequencing is still an area of activity, although of ever decreasing importance; such projects are only performed as preparation for subsequent functional analyses.

Another line of work aims at a combination of both the technical advances and the global biological information obtained from genomic approaches. From this knowledge base, complex experimental in vitro processes are implemented. One motivation is their utilisation in synthetic biology activities for the production of molecules and the establishment of molcular systems. Cell-free biosynthetic production will become important for many biotechnological and pharmacochemical challenges ahead. The complex experimental molecular systems are meant to complement current systems-biology. By means of such in vitro systems, biological models can be evaluated experimentally. Similar to physics, insight into cellular functioning will be gained by an iterative processing of information by experimental and theoretical systems-biology. Eventually, this may lead to the establishment of an archetypical model of a cell.

Apart from publications in scientific journals, the division filed a large number of patent applications, of which quite a few have been licensed out or are utilised in ongoing collaborations with commercial partners.

Role in the Integrated Project:
We are coordinating WP5 (Epigenetic analyses) and are involved in three other workpackages (RNA, protein, imaging).

Group members involved:
  • Dr. Michaela Schanne
  • Dr. Neeme Tonisson
  • Dr. Kurt Fellenberg
  • Anette Boerner
  • Hans-Peter Maser
  • Christoph Schröder
  • Melanie Bier

Functional Genome Analysis, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 580, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Telefon:  +49-6221-424882
Telefax:   +49-6221-424687
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.