Infectious diseases are still one of the main causes of mortality of man. A clear limitation of studying human pathogens is the lack of a relevant infection model. This is particularly true for human pathogens for which no animal reservoir is known. Since simple cell lines, cell culture systems or animals are highly artificial models for human pathogens we aim to develop and apply novel human 3D infection models based on engineered human tissues within the framework of the graduate school GRK 2157: 3DInfect.
The research focus of the research training group GRK 2243 is the elucidation of biochemical and pathogenic mechanisms underlying diseases that are linked to the ubiquitin system. The research program is aimed at generating a thorough mechanistic understanding of disease-relevant enzymes of the ubiquitin system, which will guide the subsequent molecular and cellular analysis of the pathogenic consequences of their malfunction.
Targeted intervention of sphingolipid turnover has proven to be a successful strategy in inflammation, but its potential as a target in controlling infectious diseases at the level of metabolism and immune controls requires further definition. Therefore, the GRK 2581 aims to identify and validate targets for novel anti-infective or immunotherapeutic strategies targeting infectious diseases at the level of modulation of the sphingolipid metabolism.
Under the direction of Charité in Berlin nine university medical centers and five (non-)university partners combine research forces within the collaborative project "OrganoStrat" to collect clinically relevant information related to emergence, progress and organ-specific disease involvement during Covid-19. Furthermore, the development of organ model systems is in the focus of this initiative in order to test and evolve potential antiviral drugs within the preclinical phase. In Würzburg the "Universitätsklinikum", the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (i.a. represented by the Chair of Microbiology) as well as the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) are members of this consortium.