The German Rheumatism Research Centre Berlin (DRFZ), a Leibniz-Institute, has a new liaison group in the Systems Rheumatology programme area. As of 15 December 2023, Dr. Vikram Sunkara, a group leader at the the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB), will also lead the “Explainable A.I. for Inflammation” research group at the DRFZ. This new liaison group strengthens the already very successful collaboration between the DRFZ and ZIB.

Vikram Sunkara´s scientific focus is to combine pure mathematics and mathematical biology in order to solve deep fundamental problems in computational biology. He has already been collaborating with Dr. Mir-Farzin Mashreghi from the DRFZ for more than three years, contributing his mathematical expertise and experience in the field of artificial intelligence to combine modern mathematical biology with state-of-the-art high-throughput single cell technologies. 

Dr. Sunkara explains his plans at the DRFZ, “Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool for unravelling disease pathomechanisms and is geared towards bringing a paradigm shift in precision medicine for rheumatology.” With his new liaison group, Dr. Sunkara aims to design new A.I. architectures that will give guarantees and confidence to digital diagnosis and prognosis.    

“I have a deep appreciation for the artificial intelligence algorithms Vikram Sunkara has developed at the Zuse Institute. Combining our expertise in immunology and technology with the clinical insights from the Charité liaison groups at the DRFZ, his new team can effectively implement their algorithms on high-quality data from well-characterised patients. This approach not only facilitates swift diagnosis and prognosis for patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, but also allows for systematic insights into immunological processes during pathogenesis. These insights are invaluable for guiding us in the development of personalised medicine”, emphasises Dr. Mir-Farzin Mashreghi, Deputy Scientific Director and head of the Systems Rheumatology programme area at the DRFZ. 

The Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB)

ZIB is an interdisciplinary research institute for applied mathematics and data-intensive high-performance computing. Its research focuses on modeling, simulation and optimisation with scientific cooperation partners from academia and industry. 

Dr. Vikram Sunkara at ZIB

At the ZIB, Dr. Sunkara’s research is attempting to relieve the opioid crisis using mathematics and A.I. by developing mathematical theory for A.I. driven opioid discovery, and reducing the side effects of opioid use, such as respiratory failure and addiction. 

German Rheumatism Research Centre Berlin, a Leibniz Institute

The DRFZ is an institute of the Leibniz Association. It uses basic scientific and epidemiological methods to investigate the development and consequences of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. The aim is the development of new and personalised, ideally curative therapies and their rapid translation into everyday clinical practice. The DRFZ is characterised by its close links to clinical research at the Charité, a large number of externally funded projects and numerous national and international research collaborations. Since its foundation in 1988, an international team of basic researchers from the fields of biology, biochemistry, mathematics, physics, biotechnology, chemistry, veterinary medicine, statistics, sociology and documentation, physicians and epidemiologists have been working together here.


Dr. Vikram Sunkara

Zuse Institute Berlin, FU Berlin

Explainable AI for Biology

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Telefon: +49 (0)30 841 85432 (ZIB)