Priority Research Area Infections

Molecular and Experimental Mycobacteriology

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Prof. Dr. Stefan Niemann
Prof. Dr. Stefan Niemann
04537 / 188-7620
04537 / 188-2091
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The fight against tuberculosis (TB) and other lung diseases based on a better understanding of the causative agents. In the main focus of the Research Group (RG) are M. tuberculosis complex strains (Mtbc) and other bacterial lung pathogens. The translational research agenda comprises the following topics: local and global transmission dynamics, determination of resistance and compensatory mechanisms, population structure and evolution of Mtbc-strains and other mycobacteria, virulence/physiology/pathobiology of mycobacteria, application of high through put technologies in research and diagnostics as well as for individualized therapy and evolutionary medicine (Fig.1).

The successful work of the research group is based on an excellent methodological expertise. Next generation sequencing (NGS) approaches are applied for high resolution characterization of pathogen genomes and transcriptomes.  More than 300 strains per weak are currently under investigation in our pathogenomic laboratory and overall, genome data of more than 15.000 Mtbc-strains and of other lung pathogens are available for downstream analyses. In line with the increasing amount of genome sequencing data, IT-infrastructure (e.g. server, storage) and bioinformatic data analysis pipeline have been set up and are constantly further developed. In the pathobiology laboratory, in vitro and in vivo models are available to analyze Mtbc-strains in clinical relevant stress conditions (dormancy, antibiotic stress, infection) with connected pipelines for the analysis of DNA, RNA and proteins. The validation of relevant target genes e.g. involved in virulence or resistance is possible by established “knock in” or “knock out” approaches.

Fig. 1. Main research topics of the FG Molecular and Experimental Mycobacteriology in relation to the FZB focus areas TBcontrol and TBcare.