Biomarkers and systems biology

Since early detection of disease is still the Holy Grail in efficient treatment of disease, we work on prognostic or diagnostic biomarkers of renal disease leading to fibrosis including diabetic nephropathy, and obstructive- and developmental nephropathies at different biological levels: peptides, genes, microRNAs and metabolites.

Peptides: This includes studying the amniotic fluid peptidome and validating earlier results in multicenter studies (Decramer et al, Nat Med 2006, Klein et al, Science Transl Med 2013).


Genes: Although many genes have been identified in developmental renal diseases, analysis of single gene mutations does not predict the post-natal outcome or the progression of the disease (e.g. HNF1β mutations, Decramer et al, J Am Soc Nephrol 2007, Heidet et al, Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2010). We aim to identify new genes using next generation sequencing to improve genetic counseling of affected families and complement the urinary biomarker strategies.

MicroRNAs and metabolites: In order to improve exploration of the potential urinary biomarker content, we study the urinary miRNome (Papadopoulos et al, 2015) and metabolome.

 papadopoulos 2015

Systems biology: Integration additional biological levels will reduce the number of potential biomarker candidates, which is often too high on a single biological level, and allow assessment of disease pathways.

Part of the biomarkers and systems biology studies will be carried out in the context of four different FP7 projects: EURenOmics, Sysvasc, Biomargin and iMODE-CKD to increase patient numbers. All data will be integrated in the KUPKB (Klein et al, FASEB J 2012), further allowing to establish whether biomarkers/pathways are unique for a specific kidney disease or whether they represent common pathways of chronic kidney disease.logobetaok copy