Speakers at ICG-13

Speakers at ICG-13




























Prof. Dr. Andreas Keller is spokesperson of the Center for Bioinformatics and heads the Chair for Clinical Bioinformatics. He is member of the Medical Faculty of Saarland University and the Saarland Informatics Campus since 2013. Keller studied computational biology at his alma mater. Likewise at Saarland University, Keller did his Ph.D in Computational Biology and qualified as a professor in Human Genetics. Before joining the university, Keller was VP for Biomarker Discovery at the Heidelberg-based company febit GmbH, where he operated one of the first German High-Throughput Sequencing Labs. From 2011 on, he was director for diagnostic innovation at the Siemens Healthineers Headquarter in Erlangen, Germany, where he was responsible for disruptive developments in molecular diagnosis and healthcare IT systems. In 2016, he co-founded the molecular diagnostic company Hummingbird Diagnostics in Heidelberg and Boston, a company with focus on blood-borne non-coding RNA biomarkers for early stage lung cancer, neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease) as well as heart failure. Currently, he is also the lead scientist at Hummingbird Diagnostics and consultant for different other bio- and med-tech companies.


Keller’s Research focus is the development of novel multi-parametric diagnostic tests using machine learning and deep learning techniques. In particular, he aims at making complex test results understandable and explainable for clinicians and patients and to integrate genomic, transcriptomic, phenomic and radiomic data. In addition to the non-coding RNA research, Keller works on models to predict resistance against antibiotics in infectious diseases from next-generation sequencing data. For this project - that is currently commercialized with Ares Genetics in Vienna - Keller was honored by the "Germany - Land of Ideas" award in 2017.


Keller is co-author of 200 peer-reviewed research manuscripts that get cited 1,000 times per year. He is also innovator on 78 patent filings and granted patents in the area of biomarkers and computational approaches for diagnosing diseases and predicting the therapy response.


Trole of small non-coding RNAs in fitness, neurodegeneration and healthy aging

Andreas Keller1, Christina Backes1, Tobias Fehlmann1, Fabian Kern1
Nicole Ludwig2, Martin Hart2, Eckart Meese2

 1 Center for Bioinformatics, Saarland University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany

2 Human Genetics, Saarland University, 66421 Homburg, Germany

Small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) are major regulators in physiological and pathophysiological processes. High-throughput sequencing offers its self as most promising tool to gain deep insights into the world of these tiny molecules. Starting from 26,355 human sncRNAs sequencing data sets and 465 Billion sequencing reads we obtained broad insights into the distribution of miRNAs in different tissues, cell types and a multitude of pathologies. These data are stored in the miRCarta database.


We focus on sncRNAs in neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease   with specific emphasis on patterns of sncRNAs, which are derived from the patients’ blood cells. We also shed light on the effect of physical exercises and personalized training on circulating sncRNAs with the idea to uncover their role in preventing diseases. In this context, we present new data on sequencing of low amounts of RNA – down to only 50pg – collected by home-sampling devices. Towards functional considerations we present insights on how sncRNAs, especially microRNAs, jointly regulate gene activity in general, and in particular the gene activity in central cellular signaling cascades as the NF-κB pathway and calcium signaling.  To this end we employ semi-automated reporter assays. To further understand the molecular mechanisms of the micoRNA functionality, we analyze the non-canonical miRNA targeting and provide evidence for a gene targeting that is mediated by 5-mer fragments. 


In sum, small non-coding RNAs are important regulators during the entire human lifespan, from the fertilization over development, to aging processes including neurodegeneration. A better understanding of sncRNAs, and in consequence new options for a directed modulation of sncRNA functions bears the promise to contribute to an overall better health and specifically to a heathier aging. 

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