E:Med Meeting 2016 on Systems Medicine in Kiel (Christian-Albrecht-University) October 04 – 06

This year, four of us (Loreto, Ilyas, Matthias and Anita) attended the e:Med meeting on Systems Medicine held at Audimax building and hosted by the CAU in the beautiful city of Kiel. International experts, senior and junior scientists came together to share their latest findings in keynote lectures, short talks, poster flash talks and poster sessions on a variety of topics about disease manifestation, heterogeneity of disease and therapy response predictions with a special focus on infectious, inflammatory and neuropsychiatric disorders.

The presentation by Fabian Theis, from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, entitled ‘DeepWAS: Directly integrating regulatory information into GWAS using deep learning identifies risk factors for major depressive disorder’ (article preprint doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/069096) was of particular interest. Theis, F introduced a software tool called DeepWAS. This tool uses a conceptually new method that fuses classical and functional GWAS by obtaining regulatory information on SNPs using deep learning and then performs functional unit-Wide Association Studies (deepWAS).

Another attention-grabbing presentation was held by Sommer et al. He spoke about new therapeutic interventions targeting alcohol addiction. They used the OMICS datasets to identify targetable pathways and to predict the risk of getting alcohol use disorders later on in life. From their study, they showed that a small amount of alcohol, i.e. less than one drink decreases the relative risk of total mortality while higher alcohol doses increase the relative risk.

Moreover, we were proud to support Anita and Matthias who presented their data in a poster session, and Matthias participated in the poster flash talks as well. Additionally, this meeting gave us the opportunity to discuss our plans and projects with other researchers (such as meeting Prof. Busch from Lübeck University). And we are happy to say we got lots of positive feedback about our work – which was really great!

We really enjoyed the interesting presentations and the good discussions which were complemented with a dinner which took place on the striking, historical Kieler Förde restaurant ship. The meal was delicious and the discussions were lively while we cruised down Kieler Förde, enjoying a scenic view of Kiel’s skyline.

What a great trip and fruitful event!