RNomics

Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI

employees of the RNomics Unit © Fraunhofer IZI

RNomics identifies and characterizes disease associated non-protein coding RNAs for applications as diagnostic markers and therapeutic argets and develops experimental and bioinformatic methods for this task.

Field of research

Genome wide screens of ncRNA patterns allow the identification of novel markers for different diseases.

In particular for tumor biology, a number of different ncRNAs have been found allowing e.g. the discrimination of different tumour stages or a prognosis of the aetiopathology.

The identification of clinical relevant ncRNAs also opens up unexpected possibilities and excellent perspectives for the development of therapeutical tools attacking diseased cells.

Vision

Establishing a platform approach to deliver ncRNA targets and biomarkers and translating ncRNAs into clinincal applications.

Of the about 3.3 billion bases of the human genome, only about 1.5% code for proteins. Recent studies have demonstrated, however, that the overwhelming, non-protein coding part of the genome is actively transcribed into RNA as well. Such non-protein coding RNAs (ncRNAs) constitute a major part of the cellular transcriptome not translated into proteins. Regulation of ncRNAs turns out to be highly cell-specific. Remarkably, many ncRNAs are found to be associated with diseases.

In developing the required techniques and strategies, the unit follows a platform approach by paying particular attention to an applicability of such methods irrespective of the disease or system studied. To meet the requirements of this novel, dynamic, and interdisciplinary field of research, the RNomics Unit has established competencies in both bioinformatics and experimental biology. This allows us to pursue strategies that are based on close catenation of both fields and has already proven of value internationally – as demonstrated by participation in the multinational research project ENCODE.