Forschung Gottfried Schatz Forschungszentrum

Research focus: Precision medicine

PI: Helena Schmidt

Focus: Genetic epidemiology plays a central role in precision medicine. It investigates the association between genomic variants and risk for diseases and identifies „high impact targets“ for therapy and prevention. Our research focus is on human aging. In Europe 90% of the mortality is explained by aging. By slowing down the aging process itself, humans could achieve a long and healthy life. Our research aims are:

  1. Identification of genetic variants, genes & pathways involved in human aging in order to better understand core processes of aging I
  2. Exploring the interaction of genetic, lifestyle & environmental factors in order to develop strategies modulating aging at the individual as well as community level.

Our laboratory is certified according to the international standard ISO 9001: 2015.

Network: We apply an amalgam of methods such as epidemiology, statistics, bioinformatics, and genomics and act in a multidisciplinary environment. Our local partners are research teams from the MUG, UniGraz, FH Joanneum and the City of Graz. We initiated the genetic epidemiological studies in frame of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study (ASPS), ADSPS-Family and the Graz Study on Health & Aging, all cohort studies on aging in Graz. Wer are member of numerous international consortia including The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE),  International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project (IGAP), und die vom The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) finanzierte European Alzheimer Disease DNA Biobank (EADB) bzw. BRain Imaging, Cognition, Dementia und next generation Genomics (BRIDGET).


BRain Imaging, cognition, Dementia and next generation GEnomics: a Transdisciplinary approach to search for risk and protective factors of neurodegenerative disease - BRIDGET

  • Our research aims are: Identify rare (and common) genetic variants associated with structural markers of brain aging in older community person; Explore lifetime determinants of brain aging, with longitudinal profiling of genomic, epigenomic, and environmental marker; Assess the impact of genetic determinants for structural brain aging on cognitive performance and dementia and perform extensive functional exploration of these genetic variants
  • Duration: 2015-2021
  • Funded by: Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research
  • Project partners: Stéphanie Debette, Research Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Bordeaux; Mark Lathrop, McGill Genome Center, Hans J Grabe, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Greifswald; M Arfan Ikram, Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center; Ian Deary, Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh; Perminder Sachdev,  School of Psychiatry; University of New South Wales; Bernard Mazoyer, Université de Bordeaux; Céline Bellenguez, UMR Inserm Lille, France; Sudha Seshadri, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA


Division of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Helena Schmidt  
T: +43 316 385 71944