Molecular Epidemiology (Waldenberger)

Department / Institute
Institute of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health and Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry, and Epidemiology (IBE), LMU Munich
Subject area
Molecular Epidemiology
Project title
DNA methylation in diabetic nephropathy
Name of supervisor
Melanie Waldenberger, PhD, MPH
Number of open positions
Language requirements
Proficiency in English
Academic requirements
Master's Degree
Project time plan
Full Doctoral Study-Model: 48 months

Project description

Diabetes mellitus is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. According to the 10th edition of the international diabetes federation, it is confirmed that 537 million are affected with diabetes and the figures will rise up to 783 million by 2045. It is a complex multifactorial disease causing widespread microvascular and macrovascular complications. Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of these major complications and is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. It is estimated that about 40% of patients with diabetes will develop DN. It is diagnosed by serum creatinine levels, albuminuria, and altered glomerular filtration rate. The exact pathophysiological mechanisms underlying DN are unknown but some of the contributing factors include high blood glucose levels, hypertension, high blood lipids, and proteinuria.

DNA methylation is a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule. It has been implicated in a variety of diseases including type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. The aim of the PhD project is 1) to elucidate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between DN and associated traits and genome-wide DNA methylation in adults 2) to assess the potential of DNA methylation data for the prediction of DN and 3) to assess causality by conducting Mendelian randomization analysis, a technique that uses genetic variants as instrumental variables. The PhD student will conduct statistical analyses of existing molecular data from the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA:

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