SYSCID behind the scenes - Visiting USAAR

In SYSCID the Saarland University (USAAR) is mainly responsible for the generation and analysis of epigenomic data. To this end, the team from Jörn Walter screens DNA methylation for several large clinical cohorts of chronic inflammatory disease (CID) and contributes to a multi-OMICs based analysis of CID from whole blood biopsy samples. Lately sorted blood samples for EPIC methylation array have arrived from Cambridge and are now being analyzed.

In addition, the aim of the researchers at USAAR is to produce reference epigenome maps for several blood cell subpopulations to enable and improve bioinformatic deconvolution of complex data sets. By deconvolution of bulk data sets (e.g. from whole blood or tissue samples) we not only gain deeper insight into epigenomes (and also transcriptomes) but also achieve a much higher sensitivity for the detection of disease-related signals.

Another aspect of the work features development and improvement of single-cell screens as a diagnostic tool and their transfer from research to the clinic.

Lastly, the USAAR takes part in the data management efforts and in the generation of integrated disease maps which will allow a full exploitation of the data generated within SYSCID.