BIOME - Core: Infectious Diseases

Each one of us has experienced infections with acute, chronic or opportunistic pathogens causing mostly mild or self-limiting diseases. Such mostly benign infections can become life-threatening under conditions of an immature, impaired or senescent immune system. Despite the availability of potent drugs like antibiotics and antiviral substances as well as a multitude of conclusive diagnostic methods, infectious agents like bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses still contribute significantly to human morbidity and mortality. Additionally, a considerable fraction of tumours are associated with infections. Consistently, the research on infectious diseases is strongly interwoven with research on immunity, immuno-suppressing conditions and cancer. Infectiology itself represents one of the strategic key areas of our faculty and is closely connected with several other key areas. Despite this overlap, we felt the necessity to organise a BIOME Core whose members are dedicated to infectious diseases and/or infectious agents. However, we will maintain and foster our connections with other BIOME Cores like Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Tumour and Signalling, RTG 1949 Innate and Adaptive Immunity and their members.

Lectures and research topics of the 3-year curriculum: Lectures and seminars alternate on a weekly basis. At the lectures, invited experts in the field give scientific presentations. At the seminars, two PhD/MD students present their projects and discuss recent results. In the second year of their curriculum, the PhD students are asked to give lectures related to their area of research. The focus of the lectures covers relevant aspects of infectious diseases including but is not limited to: medical aspects of infectious diseases; mechanisms and mediators of pathogenicity; pathogen detection, quantification and diagnosis; host factors; drug development and testing; immune evasion and escape as wells as dynamics of cells and pathogens during infection. A special emphasis is also placed on various aspects of state-of-the-art methodology in research on infectious diseases like in vivo imaging or the genetic manipulation of hosts and pathogens. All members need to do at least one internship in another laboratory inside or outside the University of Duisburg-Essen.

We understand ourselves as a platform for knowledge and method transfer, a forum for scientific discussion, and a starting point for a network of early career researchers and alumni who are dedicated to fighting infectious diseases.


Prof. Dr. Mirko Trilling Viral Immune Evasion Mechanisms
Prof. Dr. Daniel R. Engel Immunodynamics
PD Dr. Ruth Bröring Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Dr. Kathrin Sutter Interferon-Alpha Regulation
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