The Next-Generation Diagnostics Unit identifies and characterizes disease-associated nucleic acids for their application as diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets, and develops experimental methods for this purpose. A special focus is placed on the establishment of suitable sequencing protocols, the performance of microarray analyses as well as the development of special enrichment processes to characterize diagnostic markers.
Another field of activity of the unit is the identification and functional characterization of non-protein coding RNAs (ncRNAs), hence that part of the transcriptome of a cell that carries no signal for translation into proteins. The ncRNAs are very specifically regulated, show high cell-type specificity and occur surprisingly often in association with diseases. The identification of clinically-relevant ncRNAs opens completely new perspectives for the development of therapeutic tools for the effective and targeted attack on sickened cells.