Micro-organisms as producers of natural compounds and pathogens

We dedicate our research to natural products from micro-organisms and the infection biology of pathogenic fungi. Microbial natural products serving as mediators in the biological communication are essential for our lives. However, they only play an ambivalent role in this process: On the one hand, they are involved in the emergence of numerous infectious diseases; on the other hand, they belong to the most important sources in medicinal products like antibiotics.

In order to examine microbial natural products and to understand infectious diseases better, we combine both areas of research. We aim at finding out in what way micro-organisms produce both pathogenic substances and pharmacologically relevant components. Beyond that, these substances of micro-organisms serve as instruments of communication among themselves. Another module of our research is the interaction of pathogenic micro-organisms with their host. We are interested in finding out about the methods and tricks that both parties make use of in this process.

Numerous individual joint projects enable us to acquire new knowledge in the field of biosynthesis and the function of natural products. We use this knowledge to develop innovative ingredients for the diagnosis and therapy of illnesses, including new anti-infectives. Implementing our research results and the models derived thereof, we contribute to the development of a systems biology of infections.

All structural units at the HKI collaborate to accomplish those goals.