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Staff News
20.09.2018

Star geneticist Eleftheria Zeggini leaves Cambridge to join Helmholtz Munich

Recruitment of computational genetics professor Eleftheria Zeggini as director of a new Institute for Translational Genomics is part of the new digital health strategy at Helmholtz Zentrum München. Zeggini, who was previously leading a team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge, will now integrate world-class epidemiology with big data in genomics.

Prof. Dr. Eleftheria Zeggini, Source: Wellcome Sanger Institute

The Greek born biomedical scientist Eleftheria Zeggini is an internationally renowned expert in big data analysis and well known speaker and opinion leader in the field of translational genomics. Her ability to combine new technical approaches with leadership of international consortia at unprecedented size, has put her at the forefront of human genetics today. “A more complete understanding of genomic disease etiologies will allow us to offer more personalized therapeutic solutions, and will help develop the precision prevention strategies our society really needs” Zeggini says.

An important basis for Professor Zeggini’s large-scale population studies is state-of-the-art, high-throughput sequencing (next-generation sequencing). Major discoveries resulting from the work of Zeggini and her team have uncovered specific genomic alterations in musculoskeletal and metabolic diseases such as osteoarthritis and diabetes.

“At Helmholtz Zentrum München and with a close collaboration with the School of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich we find a truly stellar environment for our research” she says. “In addition to cutting edge research infrastructure, Helmholtz and Munich offer a wealth of collaborative opportunities with numerous world leading scientists across disciplines.”

“We are very excited that Professor Zeggini decided that the ideal environment for her visionary studies is here with us in Munich,” says Professor Matthias Tschöp, CEO of Helmholtz Zentrum München. “As a young scientist, she already more than once discovered new paths toward personalized medicine and precision prevention. Our extensive epidemiology program that includes leadership of the German National Cohort (NAKO) along with our ambitious new initiatives in applied artificial intelligence and digital health will now offer Professor Zeggini synergistic opportunities to accelerate her research.”

Before moving to the Sanger Institute, Eleftheria Zeggini worked at the Universities of Manchester and Oxford, where, among other things, she made breakthrough discoveries in juvenile arthritis, rheumatic diseases and type 2 diabetes. In 2008, she moved to the Sanger Institute, where she focused on the genomic epidemiology of complex traits.

Eleftheria Zeggini has published hundreds of publications, frequently as lead author in top journals such as Nature, Nature Genetics and Science. She has won numerous honors including the Young Scientist Award at the World Economic Forum (2017), and is ranked among the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers.

Further Information

Please find more details about the research of Eleftheria Zeggini and her team on the website of the Institute of Translational Genomics.

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus, allergies and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,300 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

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