Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology

Research on Pathogen Biology, Host-Pathogen Interaction and Immunity

In the Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology, we explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying pathogen survival, transmission and host-pathogen interaction. We investigate how host factors influence the response to infection and disease using various models of infection as well as clinical samples from human patients. By improving our understanding of these biological processes, we hope to contribute to the control of diseases of poverty such as malaria, tuberculosis, trypanosomiasis, dengue, Buruli ulcer and helminth infections.

Research on Pathogen Evolution and Transmission

We study how pathogens evolve to evade host immune mechanisms and develop resistance to anti-microbials, and how these phenomena influence the spread of these microbes. We apply various molecular epidemiological approaches to analyze infection and transmission dynamics, and monitor the effects of interventions such as transmission control, vaccination or drug treatment on the prevalence and population structure of these pathogens.

Development of Diagnostics, Drugs and Vaccines

We use our enhanced understanding of host-pathogen biology to develop new diagnostics, drug sensitivity assays, drugs and vaccines against these diseases. We evaluate new diagnostics, and perform both pre-clinical and clinical studies of novel treatments as well as of candidate antigens and antigen delivery systems for vaccine purposes. This work also includes the development of new animal models and controlled human infection models to assess novel interventions. These activities are carried it out in collaboration with many international institutions, including our long-term partners in endemic countries.

 

Ajayi O et al. Discovery of an orally active nitrothiophene-based antitrypanosomal agent. Eur J Med Chem. 2024;263:115954. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2023.115954

Baert L et al. Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human macrophages as an infection model for Leishmania donovani. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2024;18(1):e001155. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0011559

Gordon C.A et al. Strongyloidiasis. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2024;10:6. DOI: 10.1038/s41572-023-00490-x

Hamid A, Mäser P, Mahmoud A.B. Drug repurposing in the chemotherapy of infectious diseases. Molecules. 2024;29(3):635. DOI: 10.3390/molecules29030635

Jongo S et al. Safety and protective efficacy of PfSPZ vaccine administered to HIV negative and positive Tanzanian adults. J Clin Invest. 2024(in press). DOI: 10.1172/jci169060