Division of Theoretical Bioinformatics

Prof. Dr. Roland Eils

Scheme representing the phenomenon of X chromosome hypermutation (Jäger et al., 2013 Cell). Cancer cells from female patients carry significantly more mutations (orange triangles) on the inactive X-chromosome (left) than on the active X-chromosome (right).
© dkfz.de

Using current DNA sequencing methods, it is feasible nowadays to determine the sequence of a human individual (e.g. a patient suffering from cancer) within a single day. Other complementary technologies, such as epigenome, transcriptome, proteome or metabolome analysis, deliver additional data with great potential for precise diagnostics. Given the enormous technological advances in data generation, the integration of these data in order to generate new insights into complex biological functions is still a major challenge and can only be achieved using interdisciplinary approaches. Our division is developing computer-assisted methods for interpreting complex genomic and other biological data, as well as methods for modeling and simulation of biological processes. Major activities include the development of integrated bioinformatic approaches for the interpretation and management of cancer genome and accompanying clinical data, the application of state-of-the-art technologies in automated live-cell imaging and image analysis, experimental and theoretical systems biology approaches addressing key cellular mechanisms and their aberrations in cancer cells, as well as the development of new synthetic biology tools to manipulate cellular processes. For this purpose, the division is integrating systems biology, automated image processing, state-of-the-art light microscopy, cell biology and bioinformatics.

Our overarching aim is to develop new insights linking alterations in cancer, or other diseased cells, with biological functions in order to find new potential targets for improved diagnostics and treatment. Therefore, we develop integrated platforms combining bioinformatic data analysis and mathematical modeling of complex diseases processes. In the future, these systems medicine platforms will provide computer- assisted diagnostics and decision support tools to medical doctors in patient care.

Website of the Division


Prof. Dr. Roland Eils
Theoretical Bioinformatics (B080)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 3601

Selected Publications

  • Bauer, T., et al. (2016). Environment-induced epigenetic reprogramming in genomic regulatory elements in smoking mothers and their children. Molecular Systems Biology, 12(3), 861. doi:10.15252/msb.20156520
  • Gu, L.*, Frommel, S.C.*, Oakes, C.C.*, Simon, R.*, (…) ICGC Project on Early Onset Prostate Cancer, Eils, R.@, Plass, C.@, & Santoro, R.@ (2015). BAZ2A (TIP5) is involved in epigenetic alterations in prostate cancer and its overexpression predicts disease recurrence. Nature Genetics, 47, 22-30. doi: 10.1038/ng.3165
  • Jäger, N., Schlesner, M., Jones, David T.W.,(…) and Eils, R.@ (2013). Hypermutation of the Inactive X Chromosome Is a Frequent Event in Cancer. Cell 155, 1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.09.042
  • Jones, D.T.*, Hutter, B.*, Jager, N.*, (…) Eils, R.@, Lichter, P. @, and Pfister, S.M.@ (2013). Recurrent somatic alterations of FGFR1 and NTRK2 in pilocytic astrocytoma. Nat Genet 45, 927-932. doi: 10.1038/ng.2682
to top