Digital medicine is considered medicine of the future. Novel methods and technologies combined with new digital data from the laboratory and the patient’s bedside will enable more precise predictions and personalized therapies. BIH aims to accelerate these revolutionary digital innovations into medical practice by establishing the new BIH Digital Health Center. With Professor Roland Eils, BIH has now won over a renowned expert for biomedical informatics, genomics and personalized medicine as head of this center. "Professor Eils will combine previously separate areas of biomedical research and clinical care so that their data can be analyzed and processed. That is why we are extremely pleased that we have been able to win him over for the BIH and this key position”, says Professor Martin Lohse, spokesman for the BIH Executive Board and Chair of the Board of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC). "The objective of my research is to understand complex disease-relevant processes using molecular and image-based data", says Roland Eils. “Combining these data with clinical data will render a more accurate picture of a disease so that patients will receive more reliable diagnoses and better fitted therapies in future." To do this, Eils uses methods of artificial intelligence, big data analytics and mathematical modeling.
An expert for networks
In recent years, Roland Eils has been a major force behind the advancement of bioinformatics and medical informatics in Germany. Today he is coordinator of the Medical Informatics Consortium HiGHmed funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The consortium brings together three internationally leading and complementary medical faculties and university hospitals: Heidelberg, Göttingen and Hannover. There are already plans to include Berlin and four other university hospitals. "Professor Eils is an expert for networks, which he builds and advances. With his expertise and his research profile, he will be able to shape the interdisciplinary cooperation in Berlin's Digital Health Community”, says Professor Axel Radlach Pries, Dean of the Charité.
Digital health “made in Berlin”
Roland Eils has ambitious plans for his research in Berlin. His intention is to expand the Berlin research area into a common data space and create a "hub" for digital health. He also entertains the goal of upscaling the digital health infrastructure, so that the huge flood of data from research and patient care can be used efficiently. Already today his laboratory processes as much data every day as Twitter does with its short messages. In his work the mathematician and molecular biologist profits from the successful establishment of numerous national and international consortia on biomedical informatics and genomics. Ten years ago, he founded the BioQuant Center in Heidelberg which has placed all the systems biology research activities of the Heidelberg region under one umbrella. Today, forty research groups are actively working there.
Start of work in April 2018
Roland Eils will move to Berlin on April 1, 2018 and assume his work at the BIH with a leading scientific position as "BIH Chair". Until present, Eils has been working at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and at the University of Heidelberg. Together with his colleagues, he has succeeded in bringing genome sequencing from basic research to patients, thereby making a significant contribution to precision cancer diagnostics and to the concept of targeted and individualized therapy for cancer patients. Professor Roland Eils has been awarded several prizes for his research, including the BioFuture Award, the Microsoft Research Award and the Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences Investigator Award. He also founded two digital health companies and is a sought-after consultant for companies and institutions in the health sector.
Future-oriented research topics and recruitment
The appointment to the Professorship for Digital Health and the "BIH Chair" is part of the "BIH Strategy 2026" which the BIH Executive Board developed in 2016. The strategy defines the main areas in which the BIH intends to develop further. In addition to digitization, other areas include patient involvement, multi-scale genomics, humanized models and cell engineering. The appointment of Roland Eils represents the first successful recruitment for these particular topics.