Institut für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie

Diagnostics Research

Beyond our routine diagnostic services, we provide expertise in diagnostic microbiology to clinical partners in collaborative research projects based on the infrastructure of the  laboratory for diagnostic microbiology. One focus of our work is the application of molecular methods in the diagnosis of bacterial and parasitic infectious agents comprising PCR-based methods (e.g. Kohlmorgen et al. 2017, Tappe et al. 2011, 2012 and 2016), diagnostic microarrays (Schwarz et al. 2010) and whole-genome sequencing of bacterial isolates (Klughammer et al. 2017). In addition, we regularly perform validation studies of newly marketed diagnostic tests based on our diagnostic infrastructure and large sample collections provided by the routine laboratory (Kohlmorgen et al. 2017). Two examples of our ongoing research activities are given below.

Molecular detection of bacterial pathogens in parapneumonic effusions and empyema in children

Parapneumonic pleural effusions/empyema (PPE/PE) are severe complications of community-acquired pneumonia. In collaboration with the Department of Pediatrics, University hospital of Würzburg and the German Pediatric Surveillance Unit (ESPED) we currently investigate the bacterial etiology and incidence of pediatric PPE/PE in Germany after the introduction of universal pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) immunization for infants (for further details see Forster et al. 2021, Goettler et al. 2020, Liese et al. 2019, Segerer et al. 2017).

Molecular detection and phylogeny of tropical parasites

In a joint project with the National Reference Centre (NRC) for Tropical Pathogens at the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine we’ve been collaborating on the molecular diagnostics and phylogeny of tropical parasites with a special focus on Armillifer. These snakeborne parasites are emerging human pathogens and comprise a unique group of crustacean-related worm-like parasites. They accidentally cause visceral pentastomiasis in humans that is often asymptomatic and an incidental finding during surgery or autopsy. However, fatal cases caused by heavy infections have been described in West and Central Africa (for details see Tappe et al. 2011 and 2016).

Forster J, Piazza G, Goettler D, Kemmling D, Schoen C, Rose M, Streng A, Liese JG. Effect of Prehospital Antibiotic Therapy on Clinical Outcome and Pathogen Detection in Children With Parapneumonic Pleural Effusion/Pleural Empyema. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2021 Jun 1;40(6):544-549. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000003036. PMID: 33395211.

Goettler D, Streng A, Kemmling D, Schoen C, von Kries R, Rose MA, van der Linden M, Liese JG. Increase in Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3 associated parapneumonic pleural effusion/empyema after the introduction of PCV13 in Germany. Vaccine. 2020 Jan 16;38(3):570-577. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.10.056. Epub 2019 Nov 14. PMID: 31735502.

Liese JG, Schoen C, van der Linden M, Lehmann L, Goettler D, Keller S, Maier A, Segerer F, Rose MA, Streng A. Changes in the incidence and bacterial aetiology of paediatric parapneumonic pleural effusions/empyema in Germany, 2010-2017: a nationwide surveillance study. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2019 Jul;25(7):857-864. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2018.10.020. Epub 2018 Nov 3. PMID: 30395932.

Kohlmorgen B, Elias J, Schoen C. Improved performance of the artus Mycobacterium tuberculosis RG PCR kit in a low incidence setting: a retrospective monocentric study. Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 26;7(1):14127. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-14367-z. PMID: 29074852; PMCID: PMC5658397.

Klughammer J, Dittrich M, Blom J, Mitesser V, Vogel U, Frosch M, Goesmann A, Müller T, Schoen C. Comparative Genome Sequencing Reveals Within-Host Genetic Changes in Neisseria meningitidis during Invasive Disease. PLoS One. 2017 Jan 12;12(1):e0169892. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169892. PMID: 28081260; PMCID: PMC5231331.

Segerer FJ, Seeger K, Maier A, Hagemann C, Schoen C, van der Linden M, Streng A, Rose MA, Liese JG. Therapy of 645 children with parapneumonic effusion and empyema-A German nationwide surveillance study. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2017 Apr;52(4):540-547. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23562. Epub 2016 Sep 20. PMID: 27648553; PMCID: PMC5396379.

Tappe D, Sulyok M, Riu T, Rózsa L, Bodó I, Schoen C, Muntau B, Babocsay G, Hardi R. Co-infections in Visceral Pentastomiasis, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Aug;22(8):1333-9. doi: 10.3201/eid2208.151895. PMID: 27434739; PMCID: PMC4982189.

Tappe D, Schulze MH, Oesterlein A, Abele-Horn M, Baron S, Durchholz D, Langen HJ, Jany B, Schoen C. Molecular detection of Campylobacter jejuni as a cause of culture-negative spondylodiscitis. J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Apr;50(4):1499-500. doi: 10.1128/JCM.06275-11. Epub 2012 Jan 18. PMID: 22259199; PMCID: PMC3318547.

Tappe D, Meyer M, Oesterlein A, Jaye A, Frosch M, Schoen C, Pantchev N. Transmission of Armillifer armillatus ova at snake farm, The Gambia, West Africa. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Feb;17(2):251-4. doi: 10.3201/eid1702.101118. PMID: 21291598; PMCID: PMC3204775.

Schwarz R, Joseph B, Gerlach G, Schramm-Glück A, Engelhard K, Frosch M, Müller T, Schoen C. Evaluation of one- and two-color gene expression arrays for microbial comparative genome hybridization analyses in routine applications. J Clin Microbiol. 2010 Sep;48(9):3105-10. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00233-10. Epub 2010 Jun 30. PMID: 20592156; PMCID: PMC2937706.

Further publications of the research group on Pubmed