Zeller Group, Saez-Rodriguez Group, Schlesner Group, Bork Group, and Korbel Group, Service center: Heidelberg Center for Human Bioinformatics – HD-HuB

The need for proper integration of molecular omics data from human individuals is arguably one of the biggest challenges in current biomedical research, as these data cover different functional aspects that facilitate basic research, but also reveal differences between human physiological states with medical relevance (e.g. disease versus healthy, different disease subtypes etc.). To tackle this challenge, we formed a team of researchers with complementary areas of expertise from different Heidelberg institutions, all associated with the de.NBI node HD-HuB, which delivers services on human genomics and human microbiomics. Both these fields rely on similar kinds of data, which are increasingly coming from longitudinal studies assessing multiple omics approaches. Thus, they face similar technical and methodological challenges - and closer communication, as well as integrative approaches bridging both fields hold great promise for improved diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches, as is already becoming apparent for type-2-diabetes onset.

The LAMarCK consortium on the one hand aims to devise generic approaches to integrate heterogeneous longitudinal multi-omics data across microbiome and host, on the other hand it will also develop frameworks that make use of domain-specific prior knowledge on the underlying biological mechanisms for improved interpretability of the results. Funded by the BMBF (grant no. 031L0181A), the consortium is applying and benchmarking state-of-the-art machine learning approaches for longitudinal multi-omics data from microbial and host cells and augmenting these by integration with biomolecular knowledge bases. These new approaches will help dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying human diseases, such as colorectal cancer.

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