COST Action BM0901 - European systems genetics network for the study of complex genetic human diseases using mouse genetic reference populations

sysgenet maus

Next Meeting

8th SYSGENET MC and WG Meeting / Workshop about future activities, Prague

Date: June 17-18, 2013


SYSGENET: a meeting report from a new European network for systems genetics.


SYSGENET, a network of scientists, will contribute to the discovery of gene networks that are involved in the development of complex genetic diseases in human. Mouse genetic reference populations (GRPs) are being used as model systems to investigate the biological mechanisms and gene regulatory networks involved in infectious diseases, behavioural abnormalities, metabolic diseases, regeneration, and others.

The network will establish an infrastructure to provide the EU research community with access to existing and future GRP resources. In this way, SYSGENET will create a basis for the European research community to make major scientific contributions in the field of complex genetics, systems biology and development of sophisticated experimental model systems for the better understanding and treatment of human diseases. SYSGENET will also reach out to similar activities in the United States and Australia. 


SYSGENET represents a network of scientists in Europe who use mouse genetic reference populations (GRP) to identify complex genetic factors influencing phenotypic traits. Studies with GRPs are expected to contribute to the discovery of principal biological processes and gene networks that are involved in disease phenotypes. The findings will be translated to human diseases and represent the basis for understanding disease etiology and developing new treatment strategies. These gene networks can be extended to other species, as well.

The researchers in SYSGENET are using various GRPs as model systems to investigate the biological mechanisms and gene regulatory networks involved in disease phenotypes. The SYSGENET network partners are studying phenotypes relevant to infectious diseases, inflammatory disorders, metabolic diseases, cancer, neurological and psychiatric disorders, and infertility. The GRPs presently exploited by the network laboratories include inbred strains, consomic strains, recombinant inbred strains, congenic strains, interspecific recombinant congenic strains, outbred populations, and the upcoming large recombinant inbred strain collection known as the collaborative cross.

SYSGENET integrates the different national, European, and world-wide research programs in the field of complex genetics, systems biology, and the development of sophisticated experimental model systems. SYSGENET also reaches out to systems genetics programs in the United States and Australia.

Objectives and instruments

The specific objectives of SYSGENET are:

  • to create a European network on systems genetics for complex genetic trait studies in mouse models by combining expertise, methods, exchanging results and connecting the different ongoing national programs
  • to link to research groups studying human complex genetic diseases
  • to prepare concepts for a EU mouse resource infrastructure for GRPs
  • to interact with world-wide systems genetics programs
  • to prepare calls for research programs in the field of systems genetics in Europe

The instruments used in SYSGENET are:

  • Network meetings, scientific meetings and work shops
  • Working Groups
  • Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)
  • Training courses
  • Publications on GRPs and phenotype analyses

The principle scientific approach of the SYSGENET research projects will be to phenotype mice from different GRPs, to collate the data in a central database and to analyze them for quantitative trait loci and draw conclusion about associations between different diseases. The most innovative aspect of this approach is to commonly exploit the currently available and future GRP resources across many laboratories.

In SYSGENET, the participating laboratories will provide their expertise and contribute through their national funding programs to promote research in the area of systems genetics. Training Schools will be established for young researchers (PhD student level and early postdoctoral level). An exchange program will be developed as Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) to allow young researchers to visit other groups from the participating laboratories and to learn a specific method or get acquainted with another research area which is relevant for their studies.


The SYSGENET network consists of 46 partners in 19 countries.

It is coordinated by Klaus Schughart (Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany). 

Partners of SYSGENET network

An up-to-date list of all the participating SYSGENET MC and MC substitute members can be obtained here.

Organization in different working groups

Different working groups have been established which will address the various scientific and strategic themes of SYSGENET:

WG1 "GRP Resources", Chair: August B Smit

This WG will collect information about existing GRPs in Europe and identify concepts and business models to maintain and distribute them in Europe. Furthermore, the WG will specify standards for quality control of the resources. A special focus will be the establishment of a common European resource for the collaborative cross strains.

WG2 "Phenotyping & Genotyping", Chair: Paul Denny

This WG will review the scientific progress of SYSGENET. In addition, the WG will collect information on ongoing phenotyping studies in the network and organize scientific workshops on specific disease models. Furthermore, interactions with existing EU programs will be established and discussions initiated for future funding of large scale phenotyping projects.

WG3 "Bioinformatics", Chair: Ritsert Jansen

This WG will identify and develop tools for the analysis of complex traits, suggest concepts for data integration as well as for large scale data storage and handling. Training courses will be held to train bench scientists in the proper choice and use of systems genetics bioinformatic tools.

WG4 "International Outreach", Chair: Fuad Iraqi

This WG will build connections to other international systems genetics programs, especially with the Collaborative Cross initiatives in the United States and Australia and the international mouse phenotyping consortium. Furthermore, it will foster interactions with ongoing systems genetics studies in other species, especially in humans.

WG5 "Training & Mobility", Chair: Gudrun Brockmann

This WG will identify the needs for training of researchers in the field of systems genetics and develop concepts for training courses. In addition, the WG will oversee the use of STSMs: review of applications, selection of candidates and activities, and their follow-up.


Here, you will find a summary of the SYSGENET project and the working group objectives in poster format.

Past meetings/actions


Scientific Meeting / 7th MC Meeting, Bilbao, Spain. 10th-12th December 2012.

Joint Workshop BM0901 /BM0907: Immunophenotyping in humans, Frankfurt /Main, Germany. 9th November 2012.

6th SYSGENET MC meeting, Paris, France. 11th June 2012.


5th SYSGENET MC meeting, London, United Kingdom. 9th December 2011.

SYSGENET Workshop: Host susceptibility to infection diseases, Tel-Aviv, Israel. 23rd-24th October 2011.

SYSGENET CC EU distribution and phenotyping strategy meeting, Frankfurt, Germany. 21st September 2011.

2nd Working group 2 meeting: Bioinformatics, Groningen, Netherlands. 6th-7th July 2011.

4th SYSGENET MC meeting, Helsinki, Finland. 10thJune 2011.

SYSGENET Workshop: Human and mouse cross-species research on schizophrenia, Helsinki, Finland. 9th June 2011.

SYSGENET WG4 Meeting: Strategic meeting to discuss CC distribution in EU and US; Frankfurt, Germany. 24th January 2011.

Download agenda of the meeting.


SYSGENET WG4 Meeting, "Establishing CC colonies in Europe". , Brussels, Belgium. 7th December 2010. 

Download agenda of the meeting.

Combined SYSGENET Working Group 1 and 2 Meeting, 6thDecember 2010, Brussels, Belgium

WG1 meeting: GRP Resources

Download combined agenda here.

WG2 meeting: "Presentation SYSGENET to EC representative"

3rd MC and WG Meeting, Frankfurt, Germany. 19th November 2010.

Download final agenda of the meeting.

1st SYSGENET WG3 Meeting: Bioinformatic aspects of systems genetics, Groningen, Netherlands. 7th-8th September 2010.

Download agenda of the meeting.

2nd SYSGENET MC Meeting and 1st scientific and working group meeting, Braunschweig, Germany. 7th - 9th April, 2010.

Download agenda of the meeting.


Kick-off SYSGENET Meeting, Brussels, Belgium. 13th November 2009.

1st MC meeting: Chairs & co-chairs of the different working groups have been nominated and participation of MC members has been defined.


SYSGENET is funded through the COST framework ( COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, which promotes and coordinates nationally-funded research in Europe, through funding of research networks. One of the key scientific areas covered is Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences (BMBS).

External links

COST description of the SYSGENET project

Overview of participating countries

MC and MC substitute member list


Dr. Heike Kollmus

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Dept. of Infection Genetics

Inhoffenstraße 7

38124 Braunschweig


Dr. Heike Kollmus

Prof. Dr. Klaus Schughart


Beteiligte Gruppen


Prof. Dr. Klaus Schughart


Geldgeber / Förderer

EU - Europäische Union