Die Arbeitsgruppen der DGP-Mitglieder stellen sich vor
Apicomplexan parasites invade the host cell actively in a process that requires the parasites ability to move by gliding motility and a complex regulation of unique secretory organelles. We developed powerful reverse genetic tools that, in combination with cutting edge imaging approaches allow the functional dissection of core components of this complex machinery, such as parasite actin.
Protozoan parasites represent fascinating organisms with their own evolutionary history, giving rise to unique adaptation and novel biological pathways that can be very distinct to other eukaryotes. Importantly, some cells have become ingenious but dangerous parasites and we hope to identify unique mechanisms for future intervention strategies.
Fakultät für Tiermedizin
+49 (0)89 2180-3622
We work on parasitic filarial nematodes, which can cause the debilitating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). In our experimental studies we use the rodent filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis to identify and test novel drug candidates to facilitate the elimination of human filarial diseases. Furthermore, we are interested in protective immune responses, especially by eosinophils, and the immunomodulation by filariae. The latter has an impact on bystander immune responses, altering the response to co-infections and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.
Parasitic filarial nematodes are fascinating as they modulate the host immune system to enable their long-term survival. Successful immunomodulation prevents filarial pathology and can have a beneficial impact on autoimmune and metabolic diseases. In contrast, patients that develop strong immune responses against the filariae can develop severe pathologies (blindness and dermatitis for onchocerciasis, lymphedema for lymphatic filariasis). Thus, research on filariae allows the identification of novel treatment strategies and helminth-derived products that could be used for the treatment of metabolic or autoimmune diseases. Simultaneously, there is a lack of drugs that target adult filariae. Therefore, preclinical and clinical studies are required to identify macrofilaricidal drugs to eliminate human filarial infections and associated pathologies.
Our vision is to address both aspects of filarial research to implement novel therapeutic options for NTDs and exploit the immunomodulatory potential of filariae.
You have one wish: I would wish that there are fewer bureaucratic hurdles so that you can focus on science.
Marc Hübner, DZIF Professor für Translationale Mikrobiologie, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, Venusberg-Campus 1, 53172 Bonn, Huebner(at)uni-bonn.de
We work on African trypanosomes and Leishmania, parasites that cause neglected tropical diseases of poverty (NTDs). We investigate the motion and navigation of parasites in their natural environments inside the mammalian host and the disease transmitting tsetse fly. This swimming influences the mobility of proteins on membranes, the division of organelles and the developmental cycle of the parasites.
Parasites have evolved in the most intimate proximity with their hosts. This means they have developed strategies to continuously evade our highly advanced defense strategies. By learning from the tricks of parasite we might learn a lot about us
Being fascinated by parasites and their biological and biochemical peculiarities we have mostly done basic science. In the past years, however, we have been more and more engaged in the direct fight against NTDs. The recent foundation of the DZVT is one big step forward.
Honestly, I would wish that the German society would be more interested in science and research (and of course I would love never ending funding)
Markus Engstler, Lehrstuhl für Zell- und Entwicklungsbiologie, Biozentrum der Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97974 Würzburg, markus.engstler(at)uni-wuerzburg.de