Functional Genetics

Our mission is to contribute to a global and better understanding of interactions between biological mechanisms as basis for the development of prophylaxis, diagnosis and therapy of human metabolic diseases.

ENU-derived mouse models for metabolic diseases

Our group has a long-standing expertise in phenotype-driven large-scale generation of mouse models by chemical mutagenesis using N-ethyl-N-nitrosurea (ENU). We have built up a large archive of 16,800 DNA samples paralleled by frozen sperm from individual F1-ENU mutagenized mice that can be analyzed for point mutations in genes of interest.

Developmental genes in the adult pancreas

Many genes that play a role in human diseases are developmental control genes. Utilizing ENU-derived mouse models with single-point mutations and by time- and tissue-dependent gene targeting we study the contribution of developmental control genes to metabolic processes and the maintenance of the adult pancreas. In this context, we are also interested in structural interactions of Notch ligands and related small molecules to PDZ domains of the MAGUK protein family.

Therapeutic approaches for metabolic diseases

We recently started to develop gene-therapy approaches for monogenic metabolic diseases. We produce and perform in-depth phenotyping of relevant mouse models. Newly generated therapeutic constructs will be transferred to target organs, followed by the evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy by in-depth phenotyping. Research is completed by food-intervention studies in diabetes mouse models.