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Dr. med. habil. Thomas Sander

group leader

Telephone +49 221 478 96851


Thomas Sander is senior scientist at the Cologne Center for Genomics (CCG) of the University of Cologne. Since 2006, he is leading the Epilepsy Genetics Group. He has gained profound expertise in clinical epileptology during his specialization as neurologist, as well as in neurogenetics during his research fellowships at several Genome Research Centers. His major research interest is focused on the molecular genetic dissection of genetic generalized epilepsies (GGEs). From 2008 to 2011, he has been a member of the ILAE Genetics Commission. He has coordinated a European concerted action on epilepsy genetics within the framework of the EU FP6 Integrated Project EPICURE. The collaborative genome-wide linkage, association and copy number variation (CNV) analyses for common GGE syndromes have been published in high-impact journals (see list of publications). The Epilepsy Genetics Group has a strong bioinformatic expertise in gene mapping and quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses. The CCG offers a superior infrastructure for state-of-the-art technologies in genomics, and has served as central genotyping and sequencing facility for national and European research programs on epilepsy genetics (NGFN-2 NeuroNet, NGFNplus EMINet, EU FP6 EPICURE, ESF EuroEPINOMICS CoGIE/RES/EpiGENet). The CCG biobank comprises clinical data and DNA samples of >4000 GGE patients and one of the largest European databank of genome-wide SNP genotypes, CNVs, WES sequence variants and methylation profiles of GGE patients, which provide comprehensive data resources for the ongoing research projects (DFG Research Group 2715: Epileptogenesis of Genetic Epilepsies). Our current integrative epigenomic profiling strategy aims to dissect functional regulatory single nucleotide polymorphisms (rSNPs) underlying the complex genetic basis of common GGE syndromes and to characterize leading pathways of epileptogenesis.