The project

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) claimed 3.2 million lives in 2015, making it the third cause of death worldwide. It is predicted to increase in coming years due to aging populations and thus constitutes an enormous socio-economic burden.

Existing assessment strategies neglect the complex, multi-component, and heterogeneous pathophysiology, as well as manifold comorbidities (cardiovascular, metabolic etc.). Therefore, improved COPD diagnosis and classification constitutes an urgent medical need for improved and personalized prevention measures and treatments strategies. The main aim of our project is to develop a tool that will enable effective preventive measures and personalize treatment strategies for COPD by means of systems medicine. This transnational and interdisciplinary project combines clinical scientists, experimentalists, computational and systems biology researchers, as well as a medium sized company. We will develop a systems medicine model of COPD constructed on (i) machine learning clustering of two comprehensive patient cohorts (COSYCONET, CIRO) providing  long-term clinical observations, systematic outcome evaluation, biomaterial collections, multiple laboratory measurements, and extensive imaging data of more than 6,000 patients, complemented by (ii) an iterative systems biology framework of modeling and experimental analysis. Based on this multi-scale systems medicine model, we will generate a novel Clinical Decision Support (CDS) software that we will evaluate for patient care in the existing IT infrastructure of hospitals and private practices.


Project partners:











Prof. Bernd Schmeck





Birke Benedikter, PhD




Philipps-University, Institute for Lung Research
Hans-Meerwein-Str. 2, 35043 Marburg


Prof. Claus Vogelmeier




Michael Maxheim

Philipps-University, Department for Respiratory Medicine
Baldingerstraße, 35043 Marburg


Prof. Nadav Bar




Fabienne Rössler

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)      Dept of Chemical Engineering
Sem Saladsvei, 47491 Trondheim


Dr. Gerhard Kranner






Dr. Dieter Maier





Viscovery Software GmbH
Kupelwiesergasse 27, 1130 Vienna

Prof. Emiel Wouters

Maastricht University Medical Center, Dept. Respiratory Medicine
P. Debyelaan 25, P.O. Box 5800
6229 HX Maastricht
The Netherlands

Dr. Frits Franssen CIRO, center of expertise for chronic organ failure
Hornerheide 1, 6085NM Horn
The Netherlands


This project is funded by the national funding institutions

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Germany
Zorgonderzoek Nederland (ZON), Netherlands
The Research Council of Norway (RCN)

within the frame of ERACoSysMed -Systems Medicine to address clinical needs.