Translational Microbiome Data Integration

The lab of Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Professor Melanie Schirmer studies host-microbial interactions to uncover mechanisms behind microbiome-related diseases. The microbes that live in and on the human body are an integral part of our genetic landscape and essential for our well-being. Changes in these microbial communities are implicated in many inflammatory and auto-immune diseases. The underlying reasons and consequences of these microbial imbalances are largely unknown though. To identify and understand these changes, her lab analyses and integrates large-scale multi-omics data from clinical cohorts, incorporating host and microbiome information to generate hypotheses on the functionality of the microbiome in disease. By starting with samples directly collected from patients, they aim to investigate disease mechanisms relevant to human biology. They combine these computational approaches with experimental validation of the immunogenicity and inflammatory activity of the identified bacterial strains and metabolites. Her main goal is to understand (1) what role the microbiome plays in human health, (2) what the underlying mechanisms are that lead to aberrant host-microbial interactions in disease and (3) how microbiome-based diagnostic and therapeutic approaches can be used to treat these diseases.