The Leibniz Institute was founded in 1992.
11 years later it was accepted into the Leibniz Association.
This Leibniz Institute is also called: Hans Knöll Institute.
The abbreviation is: Leibniz-HKI.

The Leibniz-HKI is a very important center for the research of new natural products.
Natural product is a term from biology and refers to a specific compound.
These compounds are formed by individual living organisms.
These tiny living beings are, for example, fungi or bacteria.
Or also certain amoebae.

Ein Krankheits-Erreger

Examples of natural products are, for example, sugar or proteins.
A modern word for natural product is: bio-molecule.

However, the Leibniz-HKI not only studies new natural products, but also does research on certain fungi.
Fungi can be the cause of certain diseases.
These diseases are also called infectious diseases.


The Leibniz-HKI researchers have a very modern laboratory.
There is a lot of very good equipment in there.
With this equipment, they can easily find out what functions certain natural products have.
The most important thing for the researchers is to find new active substances to fight infectious diseases.

Ein kranker Mensch

Infectious diseases are for example:

  • Severe diarrhea.
  • Cholera.
  • Hepatitis C.
Menschen forschen

However, it is also important to the researchers to explore how resistance can be overcome in a human.

That is:
If a person takes a certain drug for a very long time, the drug may no longer work at all. In this case, the pathogen is said to be resistant to the drug.

To develop new and improved strategies, scientists have to keep learning and researching.
For example, about how diseases happen and how they continue to develop.
Or how the human immune system works.

At the center of this are special fungi. These fungi have these properties:

  • They cause diseases.
  • There are very few drugs for these diseases.
  • It is very difficult to detect these fungi.
Einige Forscher

Many different scientists are working together to study these fungi.
In doing so, they want to develop a systems biology of the infection through special studies of data.

That is:
All levels of an infection are being looked at.
These are on the one hand the level of the natural product, but on the other hand also the diverse level of the whole body.

By looking at all levels of an infection, it can be better studied.
And possibilities can be shown how humans influence the infection.

The Leibniz-HKI is an important idea generator for the research facilities in Jena.
Therefore, it is only natural that the Leibniz-HKI also belongs to the Beutenberg Campus Jena.
The Beutenberg Campus Jena is the most important research center in Thuringia.

Ein Mensch hat eine Idee

But the Leibniz-HKI does not only cooperate with neighboring institutions in Jena.
A special cooperation exists with the following institutions in Jena:

  1. The Friedrich Schiller University.
  2. The University Hospital.
  3. The Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences.
Eine Schule

This can be seen in many different research projects.
And in a strong participation of our employees as teachers at the university.
We also want to train good new scientists.

Eine Forschungs-Gruppe

At the Leibniz-HKI there are 440 people working at the moment.
In total there are 7 scientific departments.
These departments are further subdivided.
There are junior research groups and other groups that are important for the whole Leibniz-HKI.

Several research groups from the Friedrich Schiller University cooperate with the Leibniz-HKI.
They form an important link for joint research projects.


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