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Institute of Genetic Epidemiology

Welcome to the Institute of Genetic Epidemiology!

We are using data from epidemiological and clinical studies to gain insights into human physiology and the pathophysiology of complex traits and diseases, with a special focus on kidney and metabolic diseases. For this purpose, we combine genetic and epigenetic data with clinical information and biomarkers such as metabolites by applying and developing methods.

We often work in collaborative international research settings and seek for partners who use complementary methods to study similar diseases. Conversely, we are happy to support our research and clinical partners with our experience. In this way, we ultimately hope that our research will help to recognize, prevent and treat complex diseases.

The Institute of Genetic Epidemiology is part of the Department of Data-driven Medicine.


  • July 2021: Pascal Schlosser receives DFG-funded Walter Benjamin Fellowship "Proteome-wide Association Studies of Metabolites and Kidney Function” (SCHL 2292/1-1)The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund a project at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health led by Pascal Schlosser for the next two years. He will join the team of Prof. Dr. Morgan Grams and Prof. Dr. Josef Coresh for this Walter Benjamin Fellowship to assess the associations across the proteome and the metabolome on one hand and the proteome and kidney function on the other.
  • July 2021: Participation in new Collaborative Research Centre "OncoEscape"The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1479 "OncoEscape - Oncogene driven immune escape" will be funded for four years starting at July 1st 2021 with approximately 11 million Euros by the German Research Council. The Institute of Genetic Epidemiology will contribute as part of a service project and help to identify and characterize specific markers for immune cells.
  • June 2021: Anna Köttgen becomes member of the German National Academy of Sciences - LeopoldinaBeing elected a member of the Leopoldina is one of Germany's highest academic honors.
  • May 2021: Dr. Pascal Schlosser received MEDEP Fellow AwardPascal Schlosser receives MEDEP Fellow Award of the CRC 992 Medical Epigenetics. The award is endowed with 30000€ in funding, which will be used in his project on epigenome-based proteome-wide association studies of renal function in granulomatosis with polyangiitis. https://www.sfb992.uni-freiburg.de/news/2021-medep-fellow-award/
  • May 2021: New DFG-funded Research Grant “Discovery and Characterization of Risk Factors for Chronic Kidney Disease Progression, Cardiovascular Diseases and Death” (SE 2407/3-1)The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund a project led by Peggy Sekula for the next two years. The aim of this project is to assess the associations and predictive ability of metabolite measurements (plasma and urine) of patients with chronic kidney disease with respect to prospective endpoints incl. mortality, renal failure and cardiovascular events. Data and measurements of participants enrolled into the GCKD study will be used for this purpose.
  • April 2021: New Member of the American Society for Clinical InvestigationAnna Köttgen was elected as a new Member of the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation https://www.the-asci.org/membership/new/2021
  • April 2021: Inaugural Lecture of PD Dr. Peggy SekulaAt 23rd of April, 2021 (4 pm), PD Dr. Peggy Sekula will provide her Inaugural Lecture with the title “Genetische Epidemiologie: Ein Einblick in die Methoden” [‘Genetic Epidemiology: Insights into the Methods’]. The presentation will be in German. Zoom: Meeting-ID 648 6276 2479, Kenncode NUBStWz2v
  • March 2021: New Publication "pgainsim: an R-package to assess the mode of inheritance for quantitative trait loci in GWAS" in Bioinformatics (first/last authorships)We developed an R-Package to assess the underlying mode of inheritance of genetic associations. https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btab150
  • March 2021: New Publication "Rare genetic variants affecting urine metabolite levels link population variation to inborn errors of metabolism" in Nature Communications (first/last authorships)By investigating the genetic contribution of exonic variants on urine metabolite levels in GCKD study participants, we have detected 128 significant associations involving 30 unique genes, 16 of which are known to underlie inborn errors of metabolism. In silico modeling of gene knockouts in a virtual metabolic human correctly predicts the observed direction of metabolite changes. Our study implicates candidate variants and genes for inborn errors of metabolism. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20877-8
  • March 2021: Dr. Pascal Schlosser received the Gustav-Adolf-Lienert Award 2021Pascal Schlosser received the Gustav-Adolf-Lienert Award 2021. The prize is awarded by the International Biometric Society, German Region to decorate outstanding publications in biometry. It is given in recognition of our publication about Netboost, a network analysis approach for local dimensionality reduction, in IEEE Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9084262
  • January 2021: PD Dr. Peggy Sekula was selected as guest editor at MetabolitesPD Dr. Peggy Sekula was selected as guest editor at Metabolites for the special issue ‘Metabolomics Approaches for the Understanding, Diagnosis and Monitoring of Chronic Kidney Diseases’. The Deadline for contributions is June 21st, 2021. Further information can be found here: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/metabolites/special_issues/Metabolo_Kidney
  • January 2021: Collaborative Research Center 1453 "Nephrogenetics" awardedGreat news: The University of Freiburg has been awarded the Collaborative Research Center 1453 "Nephrogenetics" by the German Research Foundation (Speaker: A. Köttgen; three funded projects in the Institute of Genetic Epidemiology). From 2021-2024, 15 research projects will use complementary approaches to turn genetic evidence from monogenic and complex kidney diseases into new insights about potentially modifiable molecules and pathways. A dedicated website is under construction.
  • December 2020: Anna Köttgen receives the State of Baden Württemberg’s "Landesforschungspreis"Anna Köttgen receives the State of Baden Württemberg’s "Landesforschungspreis" for basic science for 2020. The prestigious prize is awarded for outstanding scientific contributions. The awarded sum of 100,000 Euro gives the recipient the opportunity to realize a scientific project of their choice. https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm-en/online-magazine/research-and-discover/landesforschungspreis-for-anna-kottgen
  • November 2020: Dr. Fruzsina Kotsis completes specialty trainingCongratulations to Fruzsina Kotsis, who successfully completed her nephrology speciality training!
  • November 2020: Dr. Pascal Schlosser received the Eugen-Graetz Award 2020Pascal Schlosser received the Eugen-Graetz Award 2020. The prize is awarded by the University Freiburg to decorate outstanding publications in medicine, chemistry and pharmaceutics. It is given in recognition of our publication about the genetics of the metabolism in Nature Genetics. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-019-0567-8 https://uni-freiburg.de/universitaet/universitaet-im-ueberblick/herausragende-leistungen/freiburger-nachwuchsfoerderpreise/
  • June 2020: Our kidney cell type manuscript has been accepted by The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (first/last authorships)Our manuscript "Integration of GWAS summary statistics and gene expression reveals target cell types underlying kidney function traits" has been accepted by The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Anna Köttgen
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

E-mail: anna.koettgen@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Phone: ++49 (0)761 270-78050

M.A. Julia Meyer-Taffoureau
Administration, Assistance

E-mail: julia.meyer-taffoureau@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Phone: ++49 (0)761 270-78051
Fax: ++49 (0)761 270-78040

Andrea Schmölders

Dipl. Vw. Andrea Schmölders

E-mail: andrea.schmoelders@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Phone: ++49 (0)761 270-78250
Fax: ++49 (0)761 270-78040

Postal Address


Institute of Genetic Epidemiology
Hugstetter Straße 49
D 79106 Freiburg

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