Functional genomics and systems Biology (Prof. T. Dandekar)
We elucidate the function of cellular networks. A number of tools allow prediction and analysis of RNA and protein function, domain composition and structure. Next, using genome analysis and metabolic reconstruction, complete metabolic or regulatory networks are assembled and reconstructed. Further research simulates the behaviour of the modelled networks with a motivation to answer the underlying biological problems and test the predicted behaviour in experiments and collaboration with other groups, leading to exciting results in functional genomics (relying on genome-based bioinformatics) and systems biology (integrating large-scale and diverse data to predict systems behaviour on the metabolic or regulatory level).
Thus we want to better understand the adaptation of tardigrades to extreme environmental conditions. We assembled different stress pathways using large-scale EST data. We collaborate close together with experimental groups and test predictions and models, sometimes also in experiments in our own molecular biology laboratory. A major focus is metabolism in prokaryotes with the aspect to better understand infections but also commensalism and endosymbiosis and we develop for this tools for large-scale metabolic modelling, relying on metabolomics and proteomics data. Platelet signalling is a eukaryotic topic we study by network models of phosphorylation cascades exploiting large-scale phosphorylation data to better understand thrombosis and hemostasis. Various other activities study by similar combinations of theory, software development and data exploitation different pro- and eukaryotic systems (e.g. human hepatocytes, TNF-R bearing cells, ants, arabidopsis, porifera, various bacteria e.g. Listeria, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Mollicutes; vaccinia and other viridae).