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Prof. Dr. Brunhilde Wirth was appointed as director of the newly established Institute of Human Genetics at the University Hospital of Cologne in June 2003. The Institute started its operations in May 2004 with 23 employees. In Dec 2004 Dr. med. Christian Kubisch has been appointed as W2-Professor for Medical Genetics and led the Clinical Genetics Section of the Institute until August 2010, when he became the director of the Institute of Human Genetics in Ulm. In August 2012, the CMMC group leader Dr. med. Bernd Wollnik succeeded Christian Kubisch and became W2-Professor for Medical Genetics at the Institute. Bernd Wollnik founded the Center for Rare Diseases at the University Hospital of Cologne. Sept 2015 Bernd Wollnik became director of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University Göttingen. Fall 2016 the Medical Faculty agreed to upgrade the W2-Professorship into a W3-Professorship for Clinical Genomics. In March, 2018 Prof. Christian Patrick Schaaf from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas has been appointed to this position and became the clinical director of the Institute.

The Institute focuses its activities on research, teaching, molecular genetic testing and genetic counselling. Six research groups are currently investigating the causes of genetic diseases using the latest molecular techniques and collaborating in national and international networks. Our main research areas are neuromuscular and neurogenetic diseases, autism and intellectual disabilities, undiagnosed syndromes, skeletal disorders, kidney disorders and lipid metabolism disorders.

The Institute bridges the gap between the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Cologne and reflects the close cooperation between them. Professor Wirth teaches and is authorized to confer doctorates at both faculties.

All members of the Institute’s scientific staff are actively and enthusiastically involved in our teaching activities to make students familiar with the broad variety of human genetics issues and to emphasize their important role in current and future health care.

Prof. Dr. med. Christian Schaaf is head of the Institute’s genetic counselling services. To ensure a full range of clinical and genetic services, we have established collaborations with the departments of pediatrics, (pediatric) nephrology, (pediatric) psychiatry, dermatology, endocrinology, cardiology, and ophthalmology to offer multidisciplinary care for patients with neuromuscular and neurogenetic diseases, autism and mental disability, unsolved syndromes, osteogenesis imperfecta, kidney disorders, lipid metabolism disorders and Marfan syndrome, under the umbrella of the Center for Rare Diseases Cologne.

Since 2009, we have been offering some of our services in collaboration with the MVZ of the University Hospital, headed by Professor Christian Netzer, who took over the leadership of the molecular genetics laboratory from Professor Wirth in late 2012. The Institute performs molecular genetic and molecular cytogenetic testing for a multitude of genetic conditions and syndromes.

Cytogenetic testing is performed in cooperation with the Cologne-based practice for genetic counselling and laboratory testing of Dr. Meschede and Dr. Schubert.

Together with Dr. Meschede and Dr. Schubert, the Institute is authorized to provide full specialized training for clinical geneticists (Facharzt für Humangenetik) and specialists in human genetics (Fachhumangenetiker).

The Institute is currently located at two sites:

Frauenklinik, Building 47, 9th floor, Kerpener Str. 34, 50931 Köln (Cologne)
Institute headquarters with genetic counselling services, molecular genetics, administrative office (receipt of samples), research group leader offices, conference room

ZMMK - Zentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Universität zu Köln, Building 66, Robert-Koch-Str. 21, 50931 Köln (Cologne) (next to Frauenklinik)
Molecular genetic testing and research laboratories