Priority Research Area Chronic Lung Diseases
University Liaison Group Epigenetics of Chronic Lung Diseases
Mission Projects Funding Techniques Publications Staff
All-age asthma (ALLIANCE) cohort (CARE & CONTROL)
Our laboratory in Lübeckis significantly involved in patient recruitment, sample processing, measurement and phenotyping of the ALLIANCE cohort (ALLIANCE (All Age Asthma Cohort) - German Center for Lung Research (dzl.de)). As part of the BMBF-funded German Center for Lung Research (DZL), the Department of Pediatric Pneumology & Allergology of UKSH Lübeck (Sektionswebseite- Lübeck (uksh.de)) recruits children and adolescents with asthma and healthy controls. The aim is to develop precision medicine for this heterogeneous disease using high-resolution, clinical and molecular patient characterization.
Epigenetic Landscape in Chronic Lung Diseases (CONTROL)
Epigenetics is characterized by a high level of adaptive processes. This way, epigenetic mechanisms (e.g. micro-RNA or DNA methylation) can react to endogenous and exogenous signals and ensure an optimal response from the organism. In particular, DNA methylation has a high level of plasticity and acts as a cell memory of previous exposures. These exposures are collectively referred to as an exposome and include not only respiratory pathogens (e.g. viruses) but also allergens or (e)cigarette smoke. Also, growth factors, endogenous messenger substances (e.g. cytokines) and hormonesinfluence this cell memory. In an ideal scenario, the cell optimizes the stimulus-specific response. However, there are indications, especially in people with chronic lung disease, that a deleterious memory exists, which promotes the progression of the disease.
We therefore investigate the plasticity and persistence of epigenetic traits in cells from patients with chronic lung diseases. At the same time, we study fundamental mechanisms of how these characteristics form, how they are involved in organ development / organ function and can be passed on or changed in order to develop innovative, therapeutic interventions.
Lung remodeling processes in asthma (and other chronic lung diseases) (CARE)
Serological neo-epitope markers of extracellular matrix (ECM) components of the lung represent a minimally invasive way of measuring lung remodelling processes and thus form a specific signature of disease activity. Among others, we examine collagens and elastin as well as their pro-forms and proteolytic fragments in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF). In addition, we compare them between the chronic lung diseases and against the background of lung development and loss of lung function. We also investigate the epigenetic regulation of ECM proteins after viral infections.