Infectious diseases remain a major health issue throughout the world - despite the availability of vaccines and antimicrobial therapy. In addition to well known pathogens, problems like multi-drug resistance and spreading of highly virulent clones become more and more important and will continue to do so. Diagnostic microbiology constantly has to adapt to this situation to provide clinicians with up-to-date methodologies. Detailed knowledge about life-style, metabolism and virulence of microorganisms is necessary to face this challenge. Bacterial meningitis is a life threatening infection often occurring in infants and adolescents. Agents causing this disease, i.e. Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli K1 are a major focus of research and expertise at the IHM. At the interface between basic research and clinical microbiology, the institute hosts the National Reference Laboratory for Meningococci. The Gram-negative bacterium Vibrio cholerae is a cause of epidemic diarrhea in less developed countries, especially fearful in the context of natural catastrophes or civil war due to its rapid waterborne dissemination. Periodontal disease is investigated as a paradigm for polybacterial infections at the IHM. In addition to bacteria, eukaryotic microorganisms like parasites and fungi can cause human infection. Parasitic diseases affect large parts of the global population. Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most prevalent pathogens in clinical medicine, able to cause life-threatening and complicated infections such as abscesses, sepsis, endocarditis, or osteomyelitis. Its high versatility is increasingly coupled to antibiotic resistance (MRSA, methicillin-resistant S. aureus), limiting treatment options for patients.
In Germany, the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis is a rare but life threatening pathogen. In addition to basic research, the IHM functions as a consiliary laboratory for echinococcsis to guide clinicians and fellow microbiologists in establishing the diagnosis. Last but not least, fungi, especially Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus, are a major cause of nosocomial infections in severely immunocompromised patients - and steadily on the rise.
This website intends to inform you about the research activities of the IHM. A detailed report of the achievements during the last years can also be found in our annual reports. Finally, I also invite you to visit the websites of national and international collaboration projects like the competence network PathoGenoMik-PLUS and the European Monitoring Group on Meningococci, in which we at the IHM participate.
Enjoy your visit to our website!