Group leader

Bild: Heddergott

Melanie Schirmer is an Emmy Noether Group leader at the ZIEL – Institute for Food and Health. The research of her lab focuses on computational microbiome research to investigate mechanisms of host-microbial interactions in human diseases. After studying mathematics at the University of Bonn (Germany), she obtained her PhD from the University of Glasgow (Scotland) looking at fine-scale variation in next-generation sequencing data to distinguish natural variation (i.e. single-nucleotide polymorphisms) from errors and biases in the sequencing data. In 2016 she started as a postdoctoral research associate in the Xavier and Huttenhower Groups at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard & Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (USA). Her research focused on the human microbiome and the identification of microbial factors involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease and immune responses in healthy individuals. She continued her work at the Broad Institute as a Computational Scientist until she returned to Germany at the start of 2020 to establish her own independent research group.

PhD Students

Bild: Yonghe Graphic copy shop

Shen Jin is a PhD student in the Schirmer Lab. His research project focuses on understanding the influence of oral microbes on intestinal diseases. Shen obtained his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at Beihang University, in China. Afterwards, he went to Carnegie Mellon University for his Master's in Computational Biology. Shen is interested in applying computational methods to address biological questions. He has been involved in several research projects, such as developing a deep learning model to identify sequential motifs in DNA and RNA sequences and applying statistical models to understand the sub-cellular organisation of mitochondria. For further information, please contact him via shen.jin(at)