Unit of Genetic Epidemiology

The research program of this research unit aims to study the influence of genetic and other factors on cancer risk as well as on prognosis after a cancer diagnosis. We aim to quantify the individual effects of the risk factors as well as their joint associations accounting for potential effect modification. The long-term goal is to develop prediction models for targeted risk-stratified early detection programs and for individually adapted therapies.

Our focus areas for the next few years are:

  • to investigate associations with modifiable and not yet established risk factors
  • to identify further cancer predisposing genes through comprehensive candidate gene analyses including gene-environment interactions and genome-wide association studies
  • to identify genetic and molecular factors that influence the success of cancer therapy and the prognosis after radiotherapy and chemotherapy
  • to develop and implement new statistical methods for the analysis of multiple genes in complex metabolic pathways taking into account gene-gene and gene-environment interactions

Our research primarily uses data from large population-based epidemiological studies that provide comprehensive information on risk factors and clinical data as well as biological samples from which further data can be derived. Examples are studies such as MARIE for breast cancer and DACHS for colorectal cancer, which were established in collaboration with clinical partners. Much of the data and samples from our studies are also incorporated into large international consortia enabling for international research activities.


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