Dept. of Systems Biology and Bioinformatics is a part of the University of Rostock, Germany Universität Rostock

Dr. Sonja Strunz

Image: Dr. Sonja Strunz

Current Projects

System Biology approaches to radiation biodosimetry and the analysis of individual radiosensitivity
Radiation
Protection of humans from the adverse effects of ionizing radiation is a major goal of the Radiation Protection field. In the case of accidental exposures to radiation the development of effective counter measures requires information on the actual exposure dose as well as knowledge on the individual radiosensitivity of the exposed group of individuals. The major scientific goal of this project is to identify suitable sub-sets of genes which correspond to the expression patterns and correlate this information with radiation dose and radiation quality. In addition, it will investigate the effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms on the individual radiation susceptibility and their influence on the proposed biodosimetry system.
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Research Interest

Bioinformatic analysis in the field of radiation biodosimetry
"I am interested in analyzing radiation-induced changes in transcriptional responses and in biomarker discovery for radiation dose prediction."

Protection of humans from the adverse effects of ionizing radiation is a major goal of radiation biodosimetry. In the case of accidental exposures to radiation the development of effective counter measures requires information on the actual exposure dose. Gene expression analysis is a promising approach to predict the radiation dose in a fast and accurate manner.
The questions we focused on is: What are the transcriptional changes in consequence of ionizing radiation and is it possible to accurately predict the radiation dose of irradiated blood based on transcriptome analysis?
Ionizing radiation is known to function as a carcinogen, but also plays a major role in cancer therapeutics in the field of radiation therapy. On the transcriptional level ionizing radiation initiates a complex series of expression alterations, which are dependent upon genetic background, dose, dose-rate, and time after irradiation. A better understanding of individual radiation-induced cellular processes may help us to develop optimized therapy protocols or to stem long-term effects of ionizing radiation.
We identified genes showing a radiation-induced and dose-dependent expression status, most of them functionally linked to radiation related biological processes (i.e. apoptosis, DNA-damage or cell-cycle regulation). Furthermore, we established p-value and fold-change-driven prediction framework to extract small gene expression signatures which are particularly suitable for dose estimation.
The genes identified are potential robust biomarkers, which are particularly suitable for dose level discrimination at a window of time that would be appropriate for life-saving medical triage.

Academic Background

2007 - 2014
Doctorate Degree in Computer Science
University of Rostock, Rostock/Germany
2000 - 2007
Masters Degree in Bioinformatics (Dipl. Bioinformatiker)

University of T

Publications

Knops K, Boldt S, Wolkenhauer O, Kriehuber R (2012)
Gene expression in low and high dose-irradiated human peripheral blood lymphocytes: Possible applications for biodosimetry

Radiation Research 178:304-312
open access

Boldt S, Knops K, Kriehuber R, Wolkenhauer O (2012)
A Frequency Based Gene Selection Method to Identify Robust Biomarkers for Radiation Dose Prediction

International Journal of Radiation Biology 3:267-276

access

Schult C, Dahlhaus M, Ruck S, Sawitzky M, Amoroso F, Lange S, Etro D, Glass A, Fuellen G, Boldt S, Wolkenhauer O, Neri LM, Freund M, Junghanss C (2010)
The multikinase inhibitor Sorafenib displays significant antiproliferative effects and induces apoptosis via caspase 3, 7 and PARP in B- and T-lymphoblastic cells

BMC Cancer 10: 560
open access

Assmus HE, Boldt S, Wolkenhauer O
Reverse Engineering of Biological Networks

in: Methods in Bioengineering: Systems Analysis of Biological Networks; Jayaraman A, Hahn J (eds.); Artech House 2009. ISBN: 9781596934061

Boldt S, Knops K, Kriehuber R, Wolkenhauer O
Identification of gene-based biosignatures for radiation biodosimetry

58. Biometrisches Kolloquium, Berlin (Germany), March 2012

Unverricht-Yeboah M, Boldt S , Giesen U, Pomplun E, Wolkenhauer O, Kriehuber R
Gene expression analysis in Jurkat cells after exposure to I-123-iododeoxyuridine, Gamma-rays and Alpha-particles

14th International Congress of Radiation Research, Warschau, 2011

Knops K, Boldt S, Wolkenhauer O, Kriehuber R
Identification of radiation-specific gene expression changes in human PBL after ex vivo irradiation suitable for biodosimetric applications

14th International Congress of Radiation Research, Warschau, 2011

Knops K, Boldt S, Wolkenhauer O, Kriehuber R
Radiation responsive genes in human lymphocytes as a tool for radiation biodosimetry

GBS Tagung, Hamburg, 2010

Knops K, Boldt S, Wolkenhauer O, Kriehuber R
Gene expression pattern analysis in human PBLs as a tool for radiation biodosimetry

EPRBioDose, Mandelieu-La-Napoule, 2010

Boldt S, Knops K, Kriehuber R, Wolkenhauer O
A p-value and fold-change driven gene selection method for radiation dose prediction

EPRBioDose, Mandelieu-La-Napoule, 2010

Knops K, Boldt S, Wolkenhauer O, Kriehuber R
Gene Expression pattern analysis as a tool for radiation biodosimetry

ERRS, Prag, 2009

Boldt S, Knops K, Kriehuber R, Wolkenhauer O
A Data Analysis Workflow for the Identification of Expression Signatures Functioning as Molecular Biodosimeters

German Conference of Bioinformatics, Halle, 2009

Boldt, Glass, Schult, Junghanß, Wolkenhauer
Detecting Differential Gene Expression in ALL Cell Lines Treated with the Multikinase Inhibitor Sorafenib

Systems Biology for Medical Applications, Summer School, Costa Adeje, 2008

Contact Details

Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN)
Institute of Genetics and Biometry
Biomathematics and Bioinformatics Unit
Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2
18196 Dummerstorf
Germany

Tel: +49-38208-68908
Fax: +49-38208-68902
Email: strunz(at)fbn-dummerstorf.de

Collaborators & Partners

University of Rostock
Rostock/Germany
Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Ralf Kriehuber
GB Sicherheit und Strahlenschutz, Strahlenbiologisches Labor, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Georg Iliakis
Institute of Medical Radiation Biology, Medical School, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg-Essen/Germany
Martin Stuschke
Department for Radiotherapy, Medical School, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg-Essen/Germany
Ekkehard Dikomey
Strahlenbiologie und Experimentelle Radioonkologie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf