Work Package 4: The general population of Bavaria

Personalized prevention is essential to effectively prevent the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes in the population. Approaches of digital medicine together with high-throughput processes allow new approaches in this field. In particular, it is necessary to use the findings of genetic research in the field of heart attack and stroke jointly with other biomedical high-throughput methods in order to enable an improved risk prediction for the population, and to develop prevention approaches on an individual basis. Here, data from population-based studies in Bavaria with long-term observations for the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes are necessary to enable the development of algorithms. Between 1985 and 2000, the KORA study examined more than 18,000 men and women between the ages of 25 and 74 in the Augsburg region concerning their risk factors. Particularly the extensive information on risk factors, treatments, genotypes and characterization of the metabolites and protein biomarkers form an ideal starting point for implementing new digital approaches.

The HMGU conducts the KORA cohort study with the aim of understanding and preventing chronic diseases. New biomarkers for heart attacks, such as the C-reactive protein, have been established in cooperation with partners from the consortium. The study data were used as control together with clinical data from genome-wide association studies. This contributed significantly to the discovery of many gene locis for heart attacks and strokes. As part of the KORA study, the association between genomics and metabolomics was also investigated extensively for the first time. It has been shown that the metabolite profile can provide additional important information for predicting myocardial infarction.


  • innovative approaches to genomic, metabolic and proteomic characterization of the KORA study population; development of an integrated omics database, which allows integrated analysis of all phenotypic, molecular and genotypic data;
  • development of a digital infrastructure that allows the development and testing of innovative prediction algorithms based on individual KORA data for DigiMed Bayern in compliance with data protection regulations;
  • discovery of new heart attack and stroke cases as part of an update of the morbidity and mortality follow-up using future DIFUTURE infrastructure;
  • derivation of innovative prediction algorithms and their testing;
  • simulation of individualized prevention approaches based on the prediction algorithms;
  • presentation of KORA data and results in the context of interactive digital applications.

The extensive phenotyping of the large number of epidemiological samples as part of the KORA study, and the planned collection of additional samples from heart attacks and strokes allow two essential analyses: First, patterns and signatures for the entire spectrum of cardiovascular risk factors can be identified on the basis of the different molecular levels. Second, the predictive power of patterns and signatures for the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes in previously healthy people can be tested. This enables the identification of entirely new development patterns of common cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack. The omics characterization within DigiMed Bayern integrates new know-how of the partners from WP5.

The following results can be expected from the project:

  • development of a research database that is unique in Germany, with a new digital concept for network research, based on secure and data protection-compliant data storage and integrated data analysis;
  • new innovative prediction algorithms that incorporate biomarkers based on genomic, metabolomic and protein-based approaches;
  • development of simulation-based prevention approaches that can be tested in population-based observational studies and in clinical studies;
  • development of a user-friendly interface for the presentation of results and data from the KORA study.

The work package will cooperate closely with the clinically oriented WPs 1 and 2. A direct comparison is made possible by using the same omics technologies provided by WP5.1 and 5.2. WP4 provides statistical expertise to the other work packages, especially for joint evaluations. The development of the new IT infrastructures and expertise will benefit WP4 directly, and will be applied to the KORA data. In addition, the many years of experience of the KORA study in practical implementation of ethics and in data protection in population and patient studies are brought in.

(updated: Dec. 2019)

More information about the KORA study:

Prof. Dr. med. Heribert Schunkert
Prof. Dr. med. Heribert Schunkert

Wissenschaftlicher Leiter DigiMed Bayern, Direktor der Klinik für Herz- und Kreislauferkrankungen am Deutschen Herzzentrum München

+49 (0) 89 / 1218-4073

Prof. Dr. Annette Peters
Prof. Dr. Annette Peters

Director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany

+49 (0) 89 / 3187-4566

Prof. Dr. Thomas Meitinger
Prof. Dr. Thomas Meitinger

Leitung Institut für Humangenetik, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München

+49 (0) 89 / 4140-6381

Prof. Dr. Matthias Mann
Prof. Dr. Matthias Mann

Director Department of Proteomics and Signal Transduction, Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry

+49 (0) 89 / 8578-2557

Prof. Dr. Dieter Kranzlmüller
Prof. Dr. Dieter Kranzlmüller

Vorsitzender des Direktoriums des LRZ

+49 (0) 89 / 35831-8700