Regulatory networks, environmental factors and ageing are essential modules for understanding neurodegenerative diseases. Predictive models comprising the various genetic and environmental factors are urgently needed for early diagnosis and treatment. The role of individual factors involved including non-coding RNAs and epigenetics might open not only new perspectives for the molecular mechanisms involved but also enable to identify new candidates for therapeutic solutions for neurodegenerative diseases. While human neurodegenerative diseases are not accessible for experimental intervention, the translation from mammalian model systems needs the comparative analysis of both systems that will be an essential part of our work. In addition, the work will enable the analysis of pleiotropic hot spots, i.e. genes that are critically involved in common pathways of phenotypically unlinked diseases.
HelMA's systems biological approach will integrate the data generated by all other research topics into signalling networks to predict gene/protein and protein/protein interactions in order to elucidate complex regulatory networks on a qualitative as well as a quantitative level. These in silico datasets will then be validated experimentally in Mechanisms, Ageing & Environment. Furthermore, Systems Biology will be instrumental for future drug development by predicting best-suited drugable proteins.