The Heidelberg Center for Human Bioinformatics (HD-HuB) bundles bioinformatics expertise from three established research institutions in Heidelberg and Berlin: European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University and Charite/Berlin Institute of Health (BIH). Since November 2016 a new partner project on computational epigenetics (de.NBI-Epi) has been associated with HD-HuB. de.NBI-Epi is coordinated by Jörn Walter (University of Saarland) and Benedikt Brors (DKFZ). HD-HuB is one of eight service centers within the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (de.NBI). The central mission of the de.NBI network is to provide and continuously develop bioinformatics services and software solutions for basic and applied life sciences research and to establish standards for data storage, analysis, management, and exchange. HD-HuB is headed by Peer Bork (EMBL, coordinator) and Roland Eils (Charite, deputy coordinator) and managed by Christian Lawerenz (operational management) and Ulrike Trojahn (project management).
Within this network, HD-HuB focuses on four application areas:
1. HD-HuB provides resources for efficiently collecting, organizing and analyzing highly complex sequencing data for successful research in human genetics and genomics and establishes novel bioinformatics tools and pipelines for the analysis of next-generation sequencing data of various kinds, such as exome and whole-genome sequences, RNAseq, and epigenome data.
2. In the area of metagenomics, HD-HuB aims to improve existing and to develop new bioinformatics tools for a variety of applications, such as microbiome profiling, genome and metagenome annotation, associating microbiome composition with host phenotypes and microbial community profiling.
3. Within the application area systematic phenotyping of human cells, HD-HuB will provide pipelines for automated analysis and visualization of large-scale high-content phenotype screening data of human cells based on central web-based workflow units for high-content screening and image processing and a database to integrate and visualize multi-phenotype data.
4. The aims of computational epigenetics are to provide workflows for analysis of data from epigenetics profiling, in particular from measurements of DNA methylation by means of whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and from hybridization to methylation-specific oligonucleotide arrays. The de.NBI-epi project partners of Saarbrücken provide a series of high-end tools for analysing epigenomic data with a focus on DNA methylation data.
HD-HuB is actively engaged in teaching activities in the areas of software development in life sciences, next-generation-sequencing data, metagenomics and bioimage analysis.
HD-HuB has established de.NBI cloud sites for computing and storage at DKFZ, Heidelberg University (BioQuant) and BIH in 2017 and 2018.