Dr Sofia Forslund trained as a molecular biotechnologist in Uppsala, then in 2011 acquired a PhD in computational biology in Stockholm. After post-doctoral research at the EMBL she founded in 2018 the Host-Microbiome Systems Medicine of Cardiometabolic Disease group at the ECRC (joint MDC/Charité venture) in Berlin. Her work to date has focused in three main areas.
- Evolutionary and systems bioinformatics tool development, confounder analysis and big data integration. Analysis of gene and genome evolution, including gene function prediction, is necessary to make the most of high-throughput “-omics” datasets. Furthermore, as the work of the lab has shown, human systems biology very strongly reflects patient demographics, risk factors and treatment effects, making it essential to account for confounding factors in bioinformatics analysis. The Forslund lab develops and benchmarks such “covariate-aware” analysis tools as well as tools for data integration.
- Metagenome analyses of pathogenicity of microbiomes including antibiotic resistance. Bridging evolutionary bioinformatics to human-associated and environmental microbiome sequencing, the Forslund lab explores the evolutionary, ecosystem and clinical distributions of opportunistic pathogens, virulence capacity, and antibiotic resistance, and explores the role of external risk factors. Notable results include effects of antibiotic exposure at the population and individual levels, including reporting evidence of a role of antibiotics in food production driving resistance of bacteria in the human gut.
- Roles of microbiota in rise, treatment, diagnosis and management of systemic disease or health of the host. The Forslund lab, in various collaborations, have linked the microbiome to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and hypertension, and are assessing the role of diet or medication in affecting this system with the goal of developing personalized medicine and nutrition platforms for complex diseases of the host.