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Research focus

Immunology of infections, molecular microbiology and immunophysics

The main research interests of the scientists working at the Microbiology Institute is focused on the reactions and mechanisms of the immune system during infection (infection immunology) as well as the characterization of pathogenic factors of infectious agents (molecular biology). For a better understanding of the pathogenesis during infection, we combine established methods of molecular and cellular biology as well as immunology with new biophysical analyses (Immunophysics). For this purpose we cooperate with the Optical Imaging Center Erlangen (OICE) of the FAU, the Preclinical Imaging Platform Erlangen (PIPE) of the Universitätsklinikum, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL) as well as the Fraunhofer Institute für Integrated Circuits (IIS).

The institute consists of an independent Division of Infection Biology under the management of Prof. Dr. Vöhringer as well as three so called W2-professorships and five more research groups. Amongst other research topics, the research groups focus on the activation and deactivation mechanisms of macrophages and natural killer cells, the signal transduction of receptors for bacterial ligands, the modulation of inflammatory cells by pathogens, the role of microorganisms in the development of autoimmune disease in colon and liver, the interaction of mast cells with bacteria as well as the pathogenesis of fungal infection. Furthermore, two staff members of our diagnostic department work on the establishment of new methods for the diagnostics of infectious diseases.

The infectious diseases investigated at our institute include mycobacteriosis, listeriosis, Coxiella burnetii infection (Q fever), Clostridium difficile colitis, leishmaniasis of the skin and inner organs, malaria, aspergillosis as well as helminth infections.

The research projects are funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the European Union (EU), Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the interdisciplinary center for clinical research (IZKF) of the medical faculty as well as various foundations.