Human genetics and disease mechanisms
In the frame of Human genetics and disease research direction, BMC performs genetic, epigenetic, and microbiome research and studies the mechanisms associated with disease pathogenesis, detection of various biomarkers and development of molecular diagnostic tests. Significant progress has been made in recent years with the addition of unique clinical specimens to the National Biobank, the Genome Database of Latvian Population (VIGDB), which includes more than 38,000 participants from the Latvian population and patients from various disease cohorts. This biobank serves as a key resource for increasing the volume of molecular research at BMC, as well as a base for medical innovation and integrated, functional research. In total, five scientific groups perform research in this direction. Group led by Prof. Jānis Kloviņš, combines the investigation of microbiome, genomics, pharmacogenomics, and functional research, to explore the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and drug action in various diseases, with an emphasis on metabolic and endocrine conditions. Significant contributions have been made to explore the molecular aspects of COVID-19. Dr. Inna Ikashina’s group ensures the development of medical genetics, focusing on research into neuromuscular diseases. Significant discoveries have been made in the discovery of new mutations and the mechanisms of disease development at the molecular level. Dr. Renate Ranka’s group is investigating the molecular mechanisms of various biological functions of medically important microorganisms, with particular emphasis on pathogen-host interactions in diseases such as tuberculosis and various tick-borne infectious diseases. Dr. Dāvids Fridmanis’ group is focused on molecular and functional research of G-protein binding receptors, and developing various activities related to microbiome research. A new research direction has been developed in Latvia to monitor the enviroment using metagenome analysis and other methods based on the next-generation sequencing approach. The recently established Dr. Vita Rovīte’s research group is investigating molecular markers and mechanisms of human disease development and progression, emphasizing the study of pituitary neuroendocrine tumors to reveal potential targets for improving diagnosis and prognosis and disease management.
In general, the main strategic goal of the BMC in this area is to link high-quality basic research with clinical studies to reveal the mechanisms of disease etiology and introduce new drug targets and biomarkers into clinical practice.