Content and aims

In my research group, we try to identify the molecular causes of various genetic traits and inherited diseases in domestic animals, especially farm animals. Domesticated animals often have rare diseases that are very similar to those of humans, and their genomes contain selection signatures that explain, for example, breed-specific traits such as coat colour and horn status.

By analysing massive genome-wide SNP array data and genome sequence data, we can also identify causative gene variants without access to affected animals. This analysis requires a high level of bioinformatic expertise. Our research thus contributes to the sustainable improvement of reproductive success in livestock populations by increasing production performance through precise selection decisions and avoiding losses during pregnancy, birth, and rearing.

Scientific and social context

The molecular analysis of these traits has made it possible to utilise the previously underestimated potential of these readily available resources for biomedical research. This has led to new insights into the function of previously uncharacterised genes during development and contributed to fundamental biological discoveries.

Our research has led to the introduction of genetic testing for many monogenic Mendelian traits and diseases in domestic animals, often offered by commercial diagnostic laboratories worldwide. This enables DNA-based precise mating decisions to breed animals with the desired traits in subsequent generations while avoiding offspring with inherited diseases and thus actively contributing to the welfare of animal populations. Some of the genetic tests we have developed are also routinely used in veterinary diagnostics as part of precision medicine.

Livestock genetics

Studied veterinary medicine at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo), graduating as Dr med. vet. in 1998.
Specialist veterinarian for molecular genetics and genetic engineering since 2001.
From 2004 junior professor of molecular pathogenetics at the TiHo and habilitation in animal breeding and genetics in 2006.
Since 2005 at the Institute of Genetics at the University of Bern, from 2009 as an assistant professor, and since 2012 as an associate professor of animal genetics.

2. Jahreskurs, Funktionelle Grundlagen: Allgemeine Tierzucht

3. Jahreskurs, Parakliniktage: Schnuppertag im Forschungslabor

4. Jahreskurs, Kurs Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten II

4. Jahreskurs, Schwerpunkt Nutztiere: Klinische Genetik Rind, kleine Wiederkäuer, Schwein

Member of the Collegium Generale

Mentor at the Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences