Displaying results 1 to 6 of 6.

Research Group

Infection Biology

Microbial communities consisting of bacteria, fungi and viruses colonize all surfaces of the human body. They are referred to in their entirety as the microbiome. The composition of the microbiome varies between individuals and also within an individual in the course of life. Important influencing factors at the beginning of life are the mode of birth and diet, later the intake of antibiotics and medication as well as long-term diets, the state of health, but also sport and stress play a role. In recent years, a large number of studies have begun to investigate the extent to which the microbiome and its changes actively contribute to our health and the development of diseases. For various diseases, it has been shown in animal models and clinical studies that certain changes in the microbiome influence either the development or the course of e.g. chronic inflammatory bowel diseases or susceptibility to infections. This has led to the development of novel microbiome-based therapies that are currently being investigated in animal models and clinical studies. Prof. Strowig's department uses interdisciplinary approaches from microbiological, immunological and bioinformatic methods to gain a molecular understanding of the complex interactions between the intestinal microbiome and the host. The knowledge that can be gained from this forms an important cornerstone for the development of new individual prevention and therapy approaches. The close cooperation between the MHH and HZI at the CiiM will enable research results from basic research to be transferred more directly into practice in the future. One example is the successful establishment of a microbiome analysis platform, which is essential for researching the influence of the host's microbiome on its susceptibility to infections and has already been used for various patient cohorts (RESIST-SeniorIndividuals, LöwenKIDS). Another example is the identification of specific microbiome components that can be used in preclinical models to prevent colonization with disease-promoting bacteria.

Research Group

Clinical Bioinformatics

Personalized medicine offers a significant opportunity to enhance public health by accounting for individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle. The "Clinical Bioinformatics" research group follows this direction, aiming to unravel the intricate molecular mechanisms underlying infection and aging. Through this pursuit, we strive to develop precise, individualized treatment strategies. Our research aims to develop and apply "bioinformatics approaches" to pinpoint the genetic and epigenetic factors influencing infection-induced immune responses by integrating multi-omics data from patients and constructing computational models that predict an individual’s risk of infectious diseases. We interact with experimental collaborators and clinical experts to verify our findings and promote their translation into medical treatments or diagnostic procedures. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to the main research focus of CiiM/MHH: the tailored and improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer for individual patients or patient groups. Within this framework, the team led by Prof. Dr. Cheng-Jian Xu is primarily dedicated to the domains of diagnosis, risk assessment, early detection, and patient stratification.

Research Group

Immunology of Viral Hepatitis and Infections in Liver Cirrhosis

Hepatitis viruses A-E pose a major health challenge worldwide. Acute infections with hepatitis B (HBV), C (HCV), D (HDV) or E (HEV) can progress to chronic hepatitis and lead to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Chronic viral hepatitis affects more than 350 million people worldwide. While direct-acting antiviral drugs provide a cure for chronic hepatitis C, the long-term effects on the immune system after the infection is cured are not fully understood. While direct-acting antiviral nucleos(t)ide analogues can treat chronic hepatitis B, complete cure is rare. Innovative approaches, particularly modulation of the immune response to HBV, hold promise for a cure. Chronic hepatitis D is always a co-infection with HBV and thus concepts to cure HBV will also target HDV. In chronic hepatitis E, which is unique in immunocompromised patients such as organ transplant patients, enhancing the immune response against HEV may be a novel strategy. In people with cirrhosis of the liver, regardless of the cause, the immune system is compromised and susceptibility to infection is increased. In particular, bacterial infections of the peritoneal cavity due to ascites contribute significantly to disease progression. Our research group focuses on understanding immune responses to hepatitis viruses and developing biomarkers to better stratify patients for new therapeutic strategies to modulate the host immune system in the effort to combat chronic viral hepatitis. In addition, we are exploring the mechanisms underlying immunodeficiency in liver cirrhosis and investigating immunomodulation strategies to improve survival in these vulnerable patients.

Research Group

Computational Biology for Individualised Medicine

Infections are among the biggest threats to health and the most significant causes of death worldwide. Our aim is to reveal the host genetic risk factors and their downstream molecular pathways, which are crucial to make progress in understanding and treating infectious diseases in an individualised manner as well as to improve the identification of patients at risk. The department of the HZI is part of the developing CiiM and currently housed at the TWINCORE in Hannover. Our group currently has 6 PhD students and 5 postdocs. Students and postdocs – We are always looking for bright and enthusiastic students and postdocs (funded by e.g. the ERC starting grant). For more about our projects, please contact us by email.

Research Group

Computational Biology for Infection Research

The group studies microbial communities, including bacteria, viruses and eukaryotic community members, in the context of human health and disease. Direct metagenome, -transcriptome or -proteome sequencing of microbial community samples enables the study of microorganisms that cannot be obtained in pure culture, corresponding to most of the microbial world.

Research Group

Individualised Medicine for Viral Infections

Opportunistic infections remain a serious threat to immunocompromised individuals, such as transplant recipients. We study opportunistic herpes viruses, such as the cytomegalovirus (CMV) by developing unique technologies for real-time measurement of virus growth, allowing us rapid identification of antiviral activity of primary samples and virtually any immune cell subset. This allows us to identify at-risk populations and develop targeted antiviral therapies for treatment and prevention of opportunistic viral infections. In the course of the COVID pandemic, our expertise in virus genetics was used to clone pseudoviruses expressing variants of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein for the assessment of the neutralization capacity of sera or monoclonal antibodies, and this technology is pursued in the identification of correlates of immune protection in vaccinated or convalescent populations. We team with local and international teams of physicians and epidemiologists, providing technical support and scientific advice on complex laboratory serological diagnostics. In March 2019, Prof Dr. Dr. Luka Cicin-Sain was jointly appointed by the MHH (Hannover Medical School) and HZI (Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research) as CIIM Professor for "Individualised Medicine of Viral Infections", and as of 2021 he leads the CiiM-associated Department of “Viral Immunology” (VIRI) at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig.