Research infrastructures at a high level play an increasingly important role in the advancement of medical sciences. The multicenter, interdisciplinary, and networked concept of the DZD promotes the efficient use and a targeted, coordinated expansion of established infrastructures in the DZD partner institutes. These include clinical studies management, preclinical models, genotyping and phenotyping, biosamples and data management, epidemiological cohorts, high-throughput screening platforms and a GMP laboratory for tissues and cells for transplantation.
Preclinical Model Systems
To develop new therapeutic concepts, a deep understanding of the pathology of diabetes in humans and animal models is essential.
- German Diabetes Mouse Clinic: standardized mouse models with a research focus on metabolic disorders and diabetes
- Large animal model: pig model for the translation of research results to humans
- Human Islet Biobank: human pancreatic tissue for the investigation of novel therapeutic approaches in the area of the beta cell
In the DZD, the successful development of new therapies – the translation of research results – is supported by suitable infrastructures:
- Clinical studies: DZD Clinical Studies Platform – central studies and data management of clinical studies of the DZD
- Cohorts: large population-based studies (cohort studies) provide insights into the influence of genes, the environment and lifestyle. KORA and EPIC cohorts – epidemiological cohort studies – serve as the basis for data and samples for diabetes. The DZD Prediabetes Cohort encompasses 8,106 patients for the development of personalized prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes.
- High-throughput Screening Platform
Genotyping and Phenotyping
Modern technologies and imaging methods enable detailed mapping of the genome (total genetic information) or physiological parameters (phenotype)
- Omics technologies
- Genomics, proteomics, metabolomics
- Platform of imaging methods for the preclinical and clinical research areas
Biosamples such as blood, tissue, or urine are indispensable in biomedical diabetes research, for example to find new biomarkers for earlier and better diagnosis. In the clinical studies, the DZD collects human biomaterials for the DZD Biobank. The advantage is that these biosamples, in conjunction with the collected data of these excellently phenotyped donors, represent an extraordinary added value for future research projects.
Core Unit Computational Biology
The Core Unit Computational Biology aims to strengthen bioinformatics and data analysis in the DZD. The core unit is integrated into the Helmholtz young investigator group “Systems Medicine of Diabetes”.
The core unit provides all scientists in the DZD a central resource for expertise in bioinformatics. Collaborations are established on a project basis: The scientists turn to the core unit and discuss their scientific questions in order to jointly develop a bioinformatics analysis plan. In addition, the core unit fulfills a training function: PhDs and postdocs from all DZD partner sites can visit it to participate in discussions, laboratory meetings and seminars for a certain time.
DZD Online Tools
Identification of miRNAs as regulatory elements and responsible factors for Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL).
Collaborative Diabetes Cross
Graphical representation of Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) for obesity, diabetes related traits and plasma metabolites. Export of genes to QTL regions for further analysis.