Prof. Dr. Nicole Fischer

Prof Dr Nicole Fischer's research focuses on applying novel genomic methods for innovative unbiased diagnostics to support well-established molecular diagnostics, especially in terms of pandemic preparedness. Currently, she and her team are optimising and successfully applying pre-analytical methods for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based pathogen detection directly from patient material. In addition, they are focusing on samples (eg, blood, serum, CSF, sputum, nasal or bronchoalveolar lavage, urine, or stool) that may be available as part of routine diagnostics. Their goal is to standardise and streamline pathogen detection and discovery methods for specific disease conditions and diagnostic specimens to detect known and unknown pathogens in any clinical setting. For example, during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Nicole's team used their knowledge to establish SARS-CoV-2 genome surveillance for the Hamburg metropolitan region and sequenced more than 15,000 samples. They work closely with public health authorities and provide weekly reports on the development of virus variants.

Nicole's research focuses on two aspects: 1. Use high-throughput techniques (next-generation sequencing) to detect known and novel viral pathogens in acute and chronic diseases. 2. Conduct fundamental research on chronic viral infections, persistence - reactivation, and pathogenesis. She and her team apply metagenomics techniques to elucidate the early events in host gene expression and chromatin changes during chronic DNA infections. Thereby, they primarily focus on clinically relevant human polyomaviruses.

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Kenes Group, Office: Kenes M+