Human Genetics

The Institute for Human Genetics, headed by Prof. Dr. Bernd Wollnik, offers human genetic counseling and diagnostics of genetic diseases based on the latest scientific findings and the newest technological methods. In various work groups and in the research division “Molecular Developmental Genetics”, a wide range of cutting-edge research is performed successfully, on topics such as deciphering the molecular mechanisms behind monogenic disorders, the mechanisms and therapy strategies for tumor diseases as well as important biological processes such as genomic (in)stability and its role in age-associated diseases. With its outstanding expertise in research and diagnostics of rare diseases, the institute is also an important partner in the Center for Rare Diseases Göttingen (ZSEG).

Cardiac genetic counseling 

In cooperation with the Heart Center we offer specialized interdisciplinary cardiac genetic counseling to patients with congenital heart defects, clinically suspected genetic heart disease or familial genetic heart disease. In these counseling sessions, patients receive comprehensive information on genetics as well as molecular genetic diagnostics according to the newest scientific data. Our staff explains genetic aspects of the respective disease and clarifies important issues such as the cause and prognosis of the disease, individual risk as well as the likelihood of recurrence in future children.

The Institute for Human Genetics participates in the training of students of medicine, molecular medicine and other life sciences curricula. In addition, biological laboratory technicians receive training in the scope of the research carried out in this institute. Licensed physicians can also participate in further education to become specialists for human genetics. Biologists (B.Sc. and M.Sc.) may also participate in further education to become specialist human geneticists.

Next Generation Sequencing

The immense progress that has been made in the area of genetic test methods, summarized in the term “next generation sequencing”, has revolutionized the research and diagnostics of monogenic diseases. In so-called panel investigations performed in a single DNA sample, it is possible nowadays to search in hundreds or thousands of genes at the same time for pathogenic changes (mutations). In its broad spectrum of diagnostics, the Institute of Human Genetics offers a number of panels specially conceived for cardiac genetic problems, for example for the various forms of myocardial insufficiency or syndromes associated with heart disease. In our diverse research projects, for instance in the project of the Collaborative Research Center 1002, “Modulatory units in heart failure”, we aim to sequence new genes and investigate the molecular mechanisms of aging in the heart and in heart failure.

Prof. Dr. med. Bernd Wollnik
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