Research Group "Exposomics"

KORA-MRI/Imaging

KORA-MRI is an imaging substudy of the population-based KORA-FF4 cohort, including 400 individuals without overt cardiovascular disease who underwent whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

We aim to answer the questions

  • What are risk factors of subclinical disease, as determined by MRI?
  • How can we cluster and analyze high-dimensional MRI data?
  • How are MRI measurements related to traditional CVD risk factors?
  • Do MRI measurements provide additional value in diagnosing/predicting disease states?

Longitudinal risk profile trajectories

Repeated risk profile measurements during a longitudinal time frame provide more information compared to single-point measures.

 We aim to answer the questions

  • Can we identify distinct longitudinal trajectories of individual risk factors?
  • Can we identify distinct longitudinal trajectories clusters of multiple risk factors simultaneously?
  • Is there a genetic component of risk profile trajectories?
  • Do longitudinal risk factor trajectories provide additional value in diagnosing/predicting disease states?

Multimorbidity

The term multimorbidity describes the coexistence of several disease conditions in an individual. Especially older populations are vulnerable to multimorbidity and its associated risks.

We aim to answer the questions

  • How does multimorbidity develop longitudinally in an older population?
  • How is multimorbidity associated to mortality?
  • Which are important risk factors for the development of multimorbidity?
  • Are there patterns of co-occurring disease states in multimorbid individuals?

Causal environmental effects

In observational environmental studies, randomized exposure is usually not available; thus preventing the estimation of causality. However, assessment of causal effects is important to design intervention and prevention strategies. Furthermore, the association of environmental factors and important phenotypes like the gut microbiome is so far understudied.

We aim to answer the questions 

  • How can we assess causality by appropriate statistical techniques?
  • How are environmental exposures, including air pollution and meteorological factors, associated to the gut microbiome?
  • How can observational and causal effects of environmental factors on the gut microbiome be disentangled?

Polygenic risk scores

Genetic underpinnings of disease markers and health states provide insight into disease pathways and can be used for individualized risk estimation. Our group works with polygenic risk scores of multiple phenotypes with a focus on cardiovascular disease.

We aim to answer the questions

  • How can existing resources be utilized to facilitate the generation of polygenic risk scores?
  • Can we identify single nucleotide polymorphisms that are associated to cardiovascular phenotypes, such as coronary artery calcification or coronary heart disease?
  • Do polygenic risk scores provide additional value in predicting the progression of disease markers such as coronary artery calcification?