People in the organoid platform
Dr Kristin Metzdorf with Dr Katarina Barley (Member of the European Parliament), Prof. Josef Penninger (Scientific Director of the HZI) and Dr Thorsten Kornblum (Mayor of Braunschweig) in the organoid platform of the HZI.

Member of the European Parliament Katarina Barley visits the HZI

Barley, accompanied by the Mayor of Braunschweig Thorsten Kornblum, informed herself about current projects in infection research

Dr Katarina Barley, Member of the European Parliament, visited the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig on Tuesday, 30 April 2024. She was accompanied by Braunschweig's Mayor Dr Thorsten Kornblum and other party colleagues. During the visit, the management of the HZI, led by Prof. Josef Penninger and Christian Scherf, presented the current research program and the future strategy of the center. They also provided insights into the management of research data and the use of artificial intelligence.

Afterwards, several stations on the Science Campus Braunschweig-Süd were visited. The HZI is currently building a modern organoid platform under the direction of Josef Penninger, which was presented by Dr Kristin Metzdorf. Organoids are miniature models of human organs that are grown in the laboratory from stem cells and mimic the three-dimensional architecture and function of real organs. They can be used, for example, to test new active substances and therapeutic approaches, thus further reducing the number of animal experiments required. Although the researchers at the HZI are able to replace more and more animal experiments with alternative methods, the complex interaction of the numerous cell types of the immune system with pathogens and the safety and efficacy of active substances cannot yet be fully reproduced using cell culture and computer models.

During the course of the visit, Katarina Barley also visited Prof. Till Strowig's “Microbial Immune Regulation” department, where scientists are investigating how microbial communities influence infectious diseases and how they can be manipulated to treat diseases. Barley was also given an insight into the HZI's biosafety level 3 laboratory.