Genetic factors are involved to some degree in the development of most diseases. Human genetics has an important role in research into the causes of disease, and acts as a bridging speciality between the clinical disciplines and various specialities in medicine and the natural sciences.
A range of scientific human genetics research groups are active at the Institute. The main areas of research are neuropsychiatric diseases, bowel cancer ,congenital malformations, hair loss (alopecia), mental retardation and molecular cytogenetics. The Institute’s staff rank among the leading researchers in their respective fields both nationally and internationally. All project leaders at the Institute are supported by external research sponsors. The Institute has a particular interest in the history of genetics and eugenics.
Besides their research activities, many of the scientific staff from the Institute perform functions within the health care services. The research projects partly overlap with tasks in health care, and this intentional overlap offers great advantages for both research and the health care services.
The Institute offers the following services within the context of health care: genetic counselling, cytogenetic diagnostics, and molecular genetic diagnostics for a range of monogenic inherited diseases
Teaching and further training is another important function of the Institute. Our scientific staff are engaged in the teaching of medical students, the bachelor degree course for Molecular Biomedicine and the Masters degree course for the Neurosciences
The Institute was founded on the 24th December 1964 with the appointment of Professor Heinz Weicker to the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University. Professor Peter Propping held the Chair of Human Genetics from 1984 to February 2008, and under his leadership, the Institute developed into a modern Institute of great national and international repute. Professor Markus Nöthen took over as Chair and Head of the Institute on 1st March 2008. Since then, the Department of Genomics from the Research Centre Life & Brain has become a part of the Institute of Human Genetics. Since its foundation, the Institute has been housed in the inner city area of Bonn, in a building originally built in 1903 as the University Eye clinic. The Institute will move to the Venusberg on completion of the new Biomedicine centre, and in its new location, the Institute will benefit from its proximity to clinics and other medical research facilities.