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Biomarker Discovery & Validation

The Competence Unit Molecular Diagnostics at the AIT is concerned with the early diagnosis and therapy monitoring of chronic and age-related diseases. The focus is on the development of nucleic acid and autoantibody-based biomarker panels and ranges from screening and biomarker validation to the development of customized, novel diagnostic tests for clinical and industrial partners. In addition to blood-based tests, the focus of diagnostic test development is on saliva tests, especially since saliva as a non-invasive sample matrix opens up completely new applications in healthcare and therapy monitoring.

The portfolio of own R&D programs currently covers a wide range of oncological issues (intestine, lung, prostate, breast, thyroid), infections as well as chronic diseases such as COPD and fibrosis.
Research offers and services

Research offers and services

  • Biomarker Screening: Efficient detection of biomarkers using high-throughput technologies (DNA/protein microarrays, next generation sequencing) based on RNA, DNA(-methylation) or autoantibodies.
  • Validation of biomarkers and development of diagnostic assays: Design, establishment and application of multiplex assays, validation of biomarkers with special focus on the use of clinically suitable and cost-effective technologies (e.g. Luminex Bead Arrays, Protein Microarrays, Peptide Arrays).
  • Support of therapy studies in clinical phases (I-IV) using Omics technology platforms (especially DNA methylation and autoantibodies) for stratification and monitoring of patient cohorts (Companion Diagnostics)
  • Bioinformatics & Software Solutions: Application specific software solutions for automated and continuously logged high throughput data analysis
  • Nucleic acid-based analyses in microarray, sequencing or high-throughput qPCR format (DNA, SNP, DNA methylation, mRNA, miRNA) including sample preparation and extraction of analytes from biological samples (e.g. DNA, RNA from tissue, blood, saliva, exosomes etc.)
  • Analytical validation of nucleic acid-based assays according to technological guidelines (e.g. MIQE) or customer-specific requirements (e.g. ICH guidelines, GMP, GLP, isocertifications etc.)
  • Protein-based assays for clinical research and diagnostics and their transfer to customized technology platforms suitable for market entry


Reference projects

  • FP7: RESOLVE - Resolve Chronic Inflammation and Achieve Healthy Aging by Understanding Non-regenerative Repair
  • H2020: ULTRAPLACAD- ULTRAsensitive PLAsmonic devices for early CAncer Diagnosis
  • WWTF: Serum-autoantibody testing for early diagnosis of breast cancer 
  • FP7: EURHEALTHAGEING - European Research on Developmental, Birth and Genetic Determinants of Ageing
  • Early Diagnosis Consortium (EDC)
  • FFG – EpiTyp2: Epigenetik-basierte Typ-2-Diabetes Diagnostik aus Speichel und Blut


Immune-Signatures for Lung Cancer Diagnostics: Evaluation of Protein Microarray Data Normalization Strategies. Stefanie Brezina, Regina Soldo, Roman Kreuzhuber, Philipp Hofer, Andrea Gsur and Andreas Weinhaeusel. Microarrays 2015, 4, 162-187; doi:10.3390/microarrays4020162

The pre-analytical processing of blood samples for detecting biomarkers on protein microarrays. Sandra Rosskopf, István Gyurján, Johana A. Luna-Coronell, Klemens Vierlinger, Christian F. Singer, Christine Rappaport, Nina Pecha, Andreas Weinhaeusel. J. Immunol. Methods 2015, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2015.01.009

Strategies for validation and testing of DNA methylation biomarkers. Christa Noehammer, Walter Pulverer, Melanie R Hassler, Manuela Hofner, Matthias Wielscher, Klemens Vierlinger, Triantafillos Liloglou, David McCarthy, Taylor J Jensen, Anders Nygren, Henning Gohlke, Geert Trooskens, Maarten Braspenning, Wim Van Criekinge, Gerda Egger & Andreas Weinhaeusel. Epigenomics 2014, 6(6), 603–622