Disease Systems Biology

Infection Biology

Our group aims to overcome the challenges that currently limit the development and exploitation of novel personalized combinatorial therapies for sepsis by improving the understanding of infections and sepsis pathophysiology, developing novel approaches for the early diagnosis and optimal treatment of sepsis and sepsis-related organ failure. The specific objectives of our group are: to identify host biomarker signatures through multi-omics high-throughput analysis that would enable early diagnosis of infection and sepsis, and that can trigger early pre-symptomatic treatment; to recognize appropriate subsets of sepsis patients through integration of biological and clinical data to target with novel therapies; and to design combinatorial therapies based on in-silico pathway drug networks and validate them in preclinical and clinical studies.

Personalized diet

It is well known that nutrition is the cornerstone of an individual’s environment, as such understanding how diet influences metabolic regulation and how dietary interventions can improve health is a key scientific goal. Furthermore, diet has a major influence on the overall quality of life beyond the prevention of diseases and its role is fundamental for individual performance and enjoyment. Even though the personalized approach to diet is the logical next step – much like the transition from pharmacology to personalized medicine – this task is extraordinarily complicated. Most foods are composed of hundreds of bioactive compounds, often interacting with each other. Furthermore, the targets are of varied concentrations and different targets have different affinities and specificities. Unfortunately, nutritional trials are not designed for mechanism-based preclinical studies, and little is known about their molecular targets. Our group integrates chemoinformatics, in-silico metabolic modelling, microbiome and network biology for performing global analyses of diet that elucidates the synergistic interactions of small molecules that yield specific phenotypes and hopefully contribute towards personalized nutrition.


Albert García López
Mohammadhassan Mirhakkak Esfahani
Tongta Sae-Ong
Sascha Schäuble
Bastian Seelbinder
Lin Lin Xu


Popadić D, Heßelbach K, Richter-Brockmann S, Kim GJ, Flemming S, Schmidt-Heck W, Häupl T, Bonin M, Dornhof R, Achten C, Günther S, Humar M, Merfort I (2018) Gene expression profiling of human bronchial epithelial cells exposed to fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)) from biomass combustion. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 347, 10-22.
Ravichandran M, Priebe S, Grigolon G, Rozarov L, Groth M, Laube B, Guthke R, Platzer M, Zarse K, Ristow M (2018) Impairing L-threonine catabolism promotes helthspan through proteotoxic methylglyoxal. Cell Metabolism 27(4), 914-925.e5..
Rennert C, Vlaic S, Marbach-Breitrück E, Thiel C, Sales S, Shevchenko A, Gebhardt R, Matz-Soja M (2018) The diurnal timing of starvation differently impacts murine hepatic gene expression and lipid metabolism – A systems biology analysis using self-organizing maps. Front Physiol 9, 1180.
Schaarschmidt B, Vlaic S, Medyukhina A, Neugebauer S, Nietzsche S, Gonnert FA, Rödel J, Singer M, Kiehntopf M, Figge MT, Jacobsen ID, Bauer M, Press AT (2018) Molecular signatures of liver dysfunction are distinct in fungal and bacterial infections in mice. Theranostics 8(14), 3766-3780.
Schmidt H, Vlaic S, Krüger T, Schmidt F, Balkenhohl J, Dandekar T, Guthke R, Kniemeyer O, Heinekamp T, Brakhage AA (2018) Proteomics of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia-containing phagolysosomes identifies processes governing immune evasion. Mol Cell Proteomics 17(6), 1084-1096.
Scholz SS, Schmidt-Heck W, Guthke R, Furch ACU, Reichelt M, Gershenzon J, Oelmüller R (2018) Verticillium dahliae-Arabidopsis interaction causes changes in gene expression profiles and jasmonate levels on different time scales. Front Microbiol 9, 217.
Sieber P, Platzer M, Schuster S (2018) The definition of open reading frame revisited. Trends Genet 34(3), 167-170.
Sieber P, Voigt K, Kämmer P, Brunke S, Schuster S, Linde J (2018) Comparative study on alternative splicing in human fungal pathogens suggests its involvement during host invasion. Front Microbiol 9, 2313.
Tauber JP, Gallegos-Monterrosa R, Kovacs AT, Shelest E, Hoffmeister D (2018) Dissimilar pigment regulation in Serpula lacrymans and Paxillus involutus during interkingdom interactions. Microbiology 164(1), 65-77.
Weber M, Schaer J, Walther G, Kaerger K, Steinmann J, Rath PM, Spiess B, Buchheidt D, Hamprecht A, Kurzai O (2018) FunResDB-A web resource for genotypic susceptibility testing of Aspergillus fumigatus. Med Mycol 56(1), 117-120.