Microbiology and Infection Biology
Microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, viruses, and microbial eukaryotes) are the most abundant life form on Earth. Therefore, microorganisms are of crucial importance in all ecosystems and infection processes. They influence our climate as well as global nutrient cycles. Furthermore, they are highly relevant for sustainable and modern biotechnology. In the research concentration “Microbiology and Infection”, the Department of Biology pursues multiple research topics:
Bacteria and archaea play a significant role in all global nutrient cycles. Currently, we are most interested in uncovering the function of these microorganisms in nitrogen and carbon metabolism. To this aim, we identify and analyze the microbial community and the major players involved in these nutrient cycles. Our research primarily investigates the physiology, phylogenetic diversity, and biochemistry of these organisms and their role in global nutrient cycling.
Microorganisms can also be useful tools in applied science and therefore are used in biotechnology and other biological industries. We develop novel biocatalysts for the production of high-grade biomolecules like antimicrobial substances, explore the ability of bacteria to degrade plastic, and search for solutions to inhibit the formation of biofilms. Moreover, our research includes the construction of designer bacteria using synthetic biology.
In the field of infection research, we search for answers to the following questions: How do microorganisms infect their prey and what are the most important mechanisms involved in the process of infection? How does the microbiome influence the development and adaptation of higher organisms? How do (pathogenic and nonpathogenic) microorganisms communicate with each other and with their prey?
For all of these research topics, we employ a wide spectrum of methods and technologies from the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, and structural biology.
The following departments contribute to the research focus Microbiology and Infection Biology:
The following associated departments contribute to the research focus Microbiology and Infection Biology:
Cellular Parasitology, Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin (BNITM)
Arbovirology and Entomology, Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin (BNITM)
Molecular Entomology, Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin (BNITM)
Viral Transformation, Heinrich-Pette-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Experimentelle Virologie (HPI)