The MDC Systems Biology Network - MSBN: Systems Biology of Cardiovascular and Neurodegenerative Disease Processes

Network Coordinator: 

  • Prof. Dr. Erich E. Wanker, MDC Berlin-Buch
  • Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Rajewsky, MDC Berlin-Buch  (Deputy Coordinator)

Project Overview:

MSBN focuses on the regulation of disease phenotypes of progressive cardiovascular and neurodegenerative illnesses. Both are characterized by long asymptomatic phases before they become manifest. The regulatory mechanisms that effect first compensation and later pathology shall be investigated and compared, employing a well designed, comprehensive systems biology strategy. Bottom-up and top-down approaches will be combined to arrive at accurate, comprehensive models of the disease pathways. 

The MSBN concentrates on cellular pathways leading to APP processing and Aβ formation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and regulatory networks controlling NF-ΚB and β-catenin transcription activity in cardiac hypertrophy (CH) and failure. Teams of experimentalists and theoreticians have been built that will work together to elucidate cellular pathways that are altered in cardiac hypertrophy and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Scientific Objectives:

The major aims of MSBN are:

  • Generation of mathematical models describing central cellular processes related to Alzheimer’s disease and cardiac hypertrophy.
  • Theory driven experimental testing of hypotheses about disease mechanisms using well defined cell-culture and animal model systems.
  • Generation of time-resolved and, where applicable, quantitative expression, microRNA, and protein interaction data for the cardiovascular and neurological disease processes using various functional genomics approaches and cell-based as well as in vivo disease model systems.
  • Integration of experimental data, database establishment and construction of probabilistic models for the prediction of the key components and signaling pathways in the disease processes using bioinformatic tools, statistical approaches and simulation.
  • Combination of theory driven approaches with data driven approaches to integrate insights about pathomechanisms with results from comprehensive large scale analysis in formal theoretical descriptions of the disease processes.