Around 160 scientists at TWINCORE are currently involved in addressing the following question: what occurs during the course of an infection and what can we do to counteract it? The unique aspect of our establishment is that medical experts, virologists, bacteriologists and immunologists join together in translational teams in addressing pressing matters regarding infection research. TWINCORE incorporates four TWINCORE groups and one research group of the Hannover Medical School:
Most viruses induce first immune responses within hours for ensuring the survival of the host. Particularly important messengers in this defense reaction of the organism are interferon alpha and beta. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Kalinke clarifies the mechanisms of the interferon reaction chain.
Around 130 million people are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus. For these patients the risk of developing liver cancer increases. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Pietschmann an his team are looking for new approaches for the treatment of hepatitis C. They study the molecular basis of virus replication in liver cells, in order to develop new points of attack against the virus.
The course of infection is especially controled by two types of cells which are antagonists in the immune system: Regulatory T cells and dendritic cells. Prof. Tim Sparwasser examines what these cells do, when the immune system reacts to an invader - with the goal of improving vaccination strategies.
In hospital, chronic infections caused by colonies of bacteria - so-called biofilms - are a growing problem. With newly developed technologies Prof. Susanne Häußler is looking for clinical assays and therapeutic options against the formation of biofilms.
The liver is our major metabolic organ. If the liver is damaged - for example by a severe infection - the only treatment option was a liver transplant so far. Prof. Michael Ott looks for alternatives through stem cell therapies and developes in mice new methods in the field of hepatitis C virus research.