Institut für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie

Molecular Epidemiology of Bacterial Infections (Claus/Lâm lab)

Laboratory Surveillance of Invasive Bacterial Infections

The group is part of the National Reference Laboratory for meningococci and H. influenzae (NRZMHi) and focuses on the molecular epidemiology of invasive bacterial infections.

Through experience in country-wide laboratory surveillance of the rare invasive bacterial pathogens Neisseria meningitidis and Haemophilus influenzae, our working group has gained expertise in assessing the epidemiology and and antibiotic resistance of these bacteria. Our research focus comprises the typing of the pathogens and monitoring their resistance. In addition, we aim to understand determinants of pathogen spread.
In the recent years research conducted in our group has focused on the following topics:

  • type-specific spatio-temporal aberrations of disease occurrence
  • development, evaluation, and refinement of typing methods including WGS
  • description and analysis of spatio-temporal spread

Students interested in either of these areas are welcome to contact us.

Funding is provided by the Robert Koch-Institute

Laboratory surveillance of nosocomial infections

Surveillance of patients with highly transmissible bacterial organisms and environmental monitoring are important tools to support hospital infection control. Furthermore, several screening programs for multidrug resistant organisms (MDRO) have been implemented at the University Hospital of Würzburg in the recent years and the occurrence of MDRO is monitored continuously. Molecular typing of nosocomial pathogens and their antibiotic resistance genes supports the detection and verification of routes of transmission. Single-locus and multi-locus sequence typing as well as whole genome sequencing for a variety of organisms is applied. Typing is applied both to strains from patients and from environmental monitoring, which is conducted by the infection control team of the hospital.

Besides laboratory surveillance, the laboratory supports research projects of other departments of the university if its specific expertise is requested for. For example, sterility testing according to the European Pharmacopoeia has been applied to a research project to define the best method of sterilization for a bioink component (Lorson et al. ACS Omega 2020). Oral bacterial counts were determined within a bicentre study to evaluate the optimal concentration of octenidine dihydrochloride for the use in antiseptic mouth rinses (Lorenz et al. Clin Oral Investig 2018).

PD Dr. rer. nat Heike Claus

Researcher / komm. Leitung NRZMHi

Tel.: +49 931 31-46936
Mail: heike.claus(at)

Eva Feichtinger

Sabrina Hebling

Technical assistant

Tel.: +49 931 31-46006
Mail: sabrina.hebling(at)

PD Dr. med. Thiên-Trí Lâm

Researcher and medical doctor

Tel.: +49 931 31-46737
Mail: thien-tri.lam(at)

Dr. rer. nat. Martina Ledermann


Tel.: +49 931-31-87877

Alexandra Prappacher

Technical assistant

Tel.: +49 931 31-46929

Vitus Silago

Exchange PhD student

Mail: vsilago.silago2(at)

Gizem Taymur

Master student


Neumann B, Bender JK, Maier BF, Wittig A, Fuchs S, Brockmann D, Semmler T, Einsele H, Kraus S, Wieler LH, Vogel U, Werner G. (2020) Comprehensive integrated NGS-based surveillance and contact-network modeling unravels transmission dynamics of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in a high-risk population within a tertiary care hospital. PLoS One. 15(6):e0235160 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235160

Lorson T, Ruopp M, Nadernezhad A, Eiber J, Vogel U, Jungst T, Lühmann T. (2020) Sterilization Methods and Their Influence on Physicochemical Properties and Bioprinting of Alginate as a Bioink Component. ACS Omega. 17;5(12):6481-6486 doi: 10.1021/acsomega.9b04096

Lorenz K, Jockel-Schneider Y, Petersen N, Stölzel P, Petzold M, Vogel U, Hoffmann T, Schlagenhauf U, Noack B. (2018) Impact of different concentrations of an octenidine dihydrochloride mouthwash on salivary bacterial counts: a randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over trial. Clin Oral Investig. 22(8):2917-2925 doi: 10.1007/s00784-018-2379-0

Silwedel C, Vogel U, Claus H, Glaser K, Speer CP, Wirbelauer J. (2016) Outbreak of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli sequence type 131 in a neonatal intensive care unit: efficient active surveillance prevented fatal outcome. J Hosp Infect. 93(2):181-6 doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2016.02.014

Schaumburg F, Idelevich EA, Peters G, Mellmann A, von Eiff C, Becker K; Study Group. (2014) Trends in antimicrobial non-susceptibility in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from Germany (2004-2011). Clin Microbiol Infect. 20(9):O554-7. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12519

Elias J, Heuschmann PU, Schmitt C, Eckhardt F, Boehm H, Maier S, Kolb-Mäurer A, Riedmiller H, Müllges W, Weisser C, Wunder C, Frosch M, Vogel U. (2013) Prevalence dependent calibration of a predictive model for nasal carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. BMC Infect Dis. 28;13:111. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-111

Moremi N, Mshana SE, Kamugisha E, Kataraihya J, Tappe D, Vogel U, Lyamuya EF, Claus H. (2012) Predominance of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus -ST88 and new ST1797 causing wound infection and abscesses. J Infect Dev Ctries. 6(8):620-5. doi: 10.3855/jidc.2093

Eibicht SJ, Vogel U. (2011) Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination of ambulance cars after short term transport of MRSA-colonised patients is restricted to the stretcher. J Hosp Infect. 78(3):221-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2011.01.015

Abele-Horn M, Vogel U, Klare I, Konstabel C, Trabold R, Kurihara R, Witte W, Kreth W, Schlegel PG, Claus H. (2006) Molecular epidemiology of hospital-acquired vancomycin-resistant enterococci. J Clin Microbiol. 44(11):4009-13. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00195-06

Harmsen D, Claus H, Witte W, Rothgänger J, Claus H, Turnwald D, Vogel U. (2003) Typing of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a university hospital setting by using novel software for spa repeat determination and database management. J Clin Microbiol. 41(12):5442-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.41.12.5442-5448.2003