Acute and chronic respiratory infections

Along with infection of the gastrointestinal tract and the liver, respiratory infections count among the most frequent causes of hospital admissions. We are studying why some individuals are more susceptible to respiratory infections. Moreover, we are searching for novel therapeutic approaches for respiratory tract infections and for biomarkers for early diagnosis and prediction of disease severity. Moreover, we are studying bacterial strategies to evade therapies.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most dominant bacterial pathogen that can be recovered from the respiratory tract of cystic fibrosis patients. P. aeruginosa grows within biofilms and causes therapy-refractory chronic persistent infections, which largely determine morbidity and mortality.

Respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV)

Most infants contract and RSV infection in the first months of their lives. In some of these children these infections are severe and in rare cases life threatening. We investigate genetic markers that may allow predicting the risk for severe courses of RSV infection. In the future, this information could be used to identify infants with increased disease risk and to allocate preventive measures.


Particularly the elderly have a high risk of developing severe infections with influenza viruses (“flu”). This age group would therefore benefit expecially well from the seasonal influenzy vaccination. However, elderly individuals often mount only insufficient immune responses after receiving this vaccine. We are searching for molecular causes and biomarkers for this clinically extremely important phenomenon.


Every year, two million people worldwide die from tubercolosis, caused by the bacterial pathogen Mycobacterium tubercolosis. We explore novel strategies to increase the efficacy and to reduce the time of treatment against tubercolosis.