Epidemiology conducts research on health and disease at the population level – infection epidemiology is concerned with contagious diseases. Their tools and methods are systematic queries, clinical examinations and laboratory diagnostic documentation for both healthy and afflicted individuals, as well as statistical analysis of the compiled data. Causes and risk factors for infections can thus be identified. Infectious diseases epidemiology contributes to the development of preventive measures, early detection and therapy for diseases. Moreover, it examines the efficacy of such measures. Thus epidemiology ties in with scientific findings in basic research as well as medicine, and examines these processes at the population level.



Dr Stefanie Castell

Deputy Head of Department Epidemiology and Scientist

Curriculum Vitae

After studying human medicine in Germany and Great Britain and completing her doctorate (Dr. med.), Stefanie Castell underwent an advanced professional training as a specialist in rehabilitative medicine, which she concluded in 2009. Following her clinical work, she studied epidemiology in Berlin and worked in the field of tuberculosis. Since 2012 she has been working as an epidemiologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (since 2016 as deputy head of department). She is coordinating the international PhD programme "Epidemiology" and is involved in the "German National Cohort (GNC)". Her main areas of research are "Tuberculosis", "Infections common in Germany", "Self-sampling of biosamples" and "Digital Epidemiology". Another field of interest is teaching in the field of epidemiology.



Dragano N, Reuter M, Greiser KH, Becher H, Zeeb H, Mikolajczyk R, Kluttig A, Leitzmann M, Fischer B, Jockel KH, Emmel C, Krause G, Castell S, Damms-Machado A, Obi N, Schikowski T, Kuss O, Hoffmann W, Schipf S, Pischon T, Jaeschke L, Krist L, Keil T, Lieb W, Holleczek B, Brenner H, Wirkner K, Loeffler M, Michels KB, Franzke CW, Peters A, Linseisen J, Berger K, Legath N, Ahrens W, Lampert T, Schmidt B. [Socio-demographic and employment-related factors in the German National Cohort (GNC; NAKO Gesundheitsstudie)]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03098-8.

Fischer B, Sedlmeier AM, Hartwig S, Schlett CL, Ahrens W, Bamberg F, Baurecht H, Becher H, Berger K, Binder H, Bohn B, Carr PR, Castell S, Franzke CW, Fricke J, Gastell S, Greiser KH, Gunther K, Jaeschke L, Kaaks R, Kemmling Y, Krist L, Kuss O, Legath N, Lieb W, Linseisen J, Loffler M, Michels KB, Mikolajczyk R, Niedermaier T, Norman K, Obi N, Peters A, Pischon T, Schikowski T, Schipf S, Schmidt B, Schulze MB, Stang A, Stojicic J, Tiller D, Volzke H, Waniek S, Leitzmann MF [Anthropometric measures in the German National Cohort-more than weight and height]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03096-w.

Karrasch S, Peters A, Meisinger C, Ferland M, Jaeschke L, Pischon T, Fricke J, Keil T, Gastell S, Schulze M, Brandes M, Günther K, Kuß O, Schikowski T, Emmel C, Jöckel K-H, Michels KB, Franzke C-W, Langer S, Mikolajczyk R, Jagodzinski A, Becher H, Castell S, Kemmling Y, Waniek S, Lieb W, Wirkner K, Loeffler M, Greiser KH, Kaaks R, Legath N, Berger K, Schipf S, Hoffmann W, Sedlmeier A, Leitzmann M, Brenner H, Holleczek B, Schulz H. [Lung function in the German National Cohort: methods and initial results]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03102-1.

Kluttig A, Zschocke J, Haerting J, Schmermund A, Gastell S, Steindorf K, Herbolsheimer F, Hillreiner A, Jochem C, Baumeister S, Sprengeler O, Pischon T, Jaeschke L, Michels KB, Krist L, Greiser H, Schmidt G, Lieb W, Waniek S, Becher H, Jagodzinski A, Schipf S, Volzke H, Ahrens W, Gunther K, Castell S, Kemmling Y, Legath N, Berger K, Keil T, Fricke J, Schulze MB, Loeffler M, Wirkner K, Kuss O, Schikowski T, Kalinowski S, Stang A, Kaaks R, Damms Machado A, Hoffmeister M, Weber B, Franzke CW, Thierry S, Peters A, Kartschmit N, Mikolajczyk R, Fischer B, Leitzmann M, Brandes M. [Measuring physical fitness in the German National Cohort-methods, quality assurance, and first descriptive results]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03100-3.

Leitzmann M, Gastell S, Hillreiner A, Herbolsheimer F, Baumeister SE, Bohn B, Brandes M, Greiser H, Jaeschke L, Jochem C, Kluttig A, Krist L, Michels KB, Pischon T, Schmermund A, Sprengeler O, Zschocke J, Ahrens W, Baurecht H, Becher H, Berger K, Brenner H, Castell S, Fischer B, Franzke CW, Fricke J, Hoffmann W, Holleczek B, Kaaks R, Kalinowski S, Keil T, Kemmling Y, Kuss O, Legath N, Lieb W, Linseisen J, Loffler M, Mikolajczyk R, Obi N, Peters A, Ratjen I, Schikowski T, Schulze MB, Stang A, Thierry S, Volzke H, Wirkner K, Steindorf K. [Physical activity in the German National Cohort (NAKO): use of multiple assessment tools and initial results]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03099-7.

Schipf S, Schone G, Schmidt B, Gunther K, Stubs G, Greiser KH, Bamberg F, Meinke-Franze C, Becher H, Berger K, Brenner H, Castell S, Damms-Machado A, Fischer B, Franzke CW, Fricke J, Gastell S, Gunther M, Hoffmann W, Holleczek B, Jaeschke L, Jagodzinski A, Jockel KH, Kaaks R, Kauczor HU, Kemmling Y, Kluttig A, Krist L, Kurth B, Kuss O, Legath N, Leitzmann M, Lieb W, Linseisen J, Loffler M, Michels KB, Mikolajczyk R, Pigeot I, Mueller U, Peters A, Rach S, Schikowski T, Schulze MB, Stallmann C, Stang A, Swart E, Waniek S, Wirkner K, Volzke H, Pischon T, Ahrens W.. [The baseline assessment of the German National Cohort (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): participation in the examination modules, quality assurance, and the use of secondary data]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03093-z.

Wiessner C, Keil T, Krist L, Zeeb H, Dragano N, Schmidt B, Ahrens W, Berger K, Castell S, Fricke J, Fuhrer A, Gastell S, Greiser H, Guo F, Jaeschke L, Jochem C, Jockel KH, Kaaks R, Koch-Gallenkamp L, Krause G, Kuss O, Legath N, Leitzmann M, Lieb W, Meinke-Franze C, Meisinger C, Mikolajczyk R, Obi N, Pischon T, Schipf S, Schmoor C, Schramm S, Schulze MB, Sowarka N, Waniek S, Wigmann C, Willich SN, Becher H.et al. [Persons with migration background in the German National Cohort (NAKO)-sociodemographic characteristics and comparisons with the German autochthonous population]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03097-9.

Wolf K, Kraus U, Dzolan M, Bolte G, Lakes T, Schikowski T, Greiser KH, Kuss O, Ahrens W, Bamberg F, Becher H, Berger K, Brenner H, Castell S, Damms-Machado A, Fischer B, Franzke CW, Gastell S, Gunther K, Holleczek B, Jaeschke L, Kaaks R, Keil T, Kemmling Y, Krist L, Legath N, Leitzmann M, Lieb W, Loeffler M, Meinke-Franze C, Michels KB, Mikolajczyk R, Moebus S, Mueller U, Obi N, Pischon T, Rathmann W, Schipf S, Schmidt B, Schulze M, Thiele I, Thierry S, Waniek S, Wigmann C, Wirkner K, Zschocke J, Peters A, Schneider A. [Nighttime transportation noise annoyance in Germany: personal and regional differences in the German National Cohort Study]. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2020. doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03094-y.


Caputo M, Horn J, Karch A, Akmatov MK, Becher H, Braun B, Brenner H, Castell S, et al. Herpes zoster incidence in Germany - an indirect validation study for self-reported disease data from pretest studies of the population-based German National Cohort. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2019;19(1).

Gornyk D, Bornemann R, Castell S. Aktuelle Projekte zum rationalen Antibiotikamanagement im ambulanten Bereich in Deutschland. Der Mikrobiologe - Mitteilungen des Berufsverbandes der Ärzte für Mikrobiologie, Virologie und Infektionsepidemiologie eV. 2019;Heft 2(29. Jahrgang):31-4.


Obenauer J, Rübsamen N, Castell S, Hoodgarzadeh M, Klett-Tammen CJ, Mikolajczyk RT, et al. Perceptions of Zika virus risk in Germany in 2016. Eur J Public Health. 2018;28(1):139-44.


Karo B, Krause G, Castell S, Kollan C, Hamouda O, Haas W, ClinSurv HIV Study Group. Immunological recovery in tuberculosis/HIV co-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy: implication for tuberculosis preventive therapy. BMC Infect Dis. 2017;17(1):517.

Rübsamen N, Akmatov MK, Castell S, Karch A, Mikolajczyk RT. Factors associated with attrition in a longitudinal online study: results from the HaBIDS panel. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2017;17(1):132.

Karo B, Krause G, Castell S, Kollan C, Hamouda O, Haas W, ClinSurv HIV Study Group. Immunological recovery in tuberculosis/HIV co-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy: implication for tuberculosis preventive therapy. BMC Infect Dis. 2017;17(1):517.

Rübsamen N, Akmatov MK, Castell S, Karch A, Mikolajczyk RT. Comparison of response patterns in different survey designs: a longitudinal panel with mixed-mode and online-only design. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology. 2017;14(4).


Karo B, Krause G, Hollo V, van der Werf MJ, Castell S, Hamouda O, Haas W. Impact of HIV infection on treatment outcome of tuberculosis in Europe. AIDS. 2016;30(7):1089-98.

Klett-Tammen CJ, Krause G, von Lengerke T, Castell S. Advising vaccinations for the elderly: a cross-sectional survey on differences between general practitioners and physician assistants in Germany. BMC family practice. 2016;17(1):98.

Loddenkemper R, Brönneke M, Castell S, Diel R. [Tuberculosis and Tobacco Smoking] Tuberkulose und Rauchen. Pneumologie. 2016;70(1):17-22.

Raupach-Rosin H, Klett-Tammen CJ, Schmalz O, Karch A, Castell S, Mikolajczyk R. ["I cannot kiss my wife"- An Analysis of Daily Experiences of MRSA-carriers]. Gesundheitswesen. 2016;78(12):822-7.

Raupach-Rosin H, Rubsamen N, Szkopek S, Schmalz O, Karch A, Mikolajczyk R, Castell S. Care for MRSA carriers in the outpatient sector: a survey among MRSA carriers and physicians in two regions in Germany. BMC Infect Dis. 2016;16:184.

Schönfeld N, Haas W, Richter E, Bauer T, Boes L, Castell S, Hauer B, Magdorf K, Matthiessen W, Mauch H, Reuss A, et al. Recommendations of the German Central Committee against Tuberculosis (DZK) and the German Respiratory Society (DGP) for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Non-tuberculous Mycobacterioses. Pneumologie. 2016;70(4):250-76.

Smieszek T*, Castell S*, Barrat A, Cattuto C, White PJ, Krause G. Contact diaries versus wearable proximity sensors in measuring contact patterns at a conference: method comparison and participants’ attitudes. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2016;16(1). [*contributed equally]

Zapf A, Castell S, Morawietz L, Karch A. Measuring inter-rater reliability for nominal data - which coefficients and confidence intervals are appropriate? BMC Med Res Methodol. 2016;16:93.


Karch A, Castell S, Schwab F, Geffers C, Bongartz H, Brunkhorst FM, Gastmeier P, Mikolajczyk RT. Proposing an empirically justified reference threshold for blood culture sampling rates in intensive care units. J Clin Microbiol. 2015;53(2):648-52.

Karch A, Schmitz RP, Rissner F, Castell S, Topel S, Jakob M, Brunkhorst FM, Mikolajczyk RT. Bloodstream infections, antibiotic resistance and the practice of blood culture sampling in Germany: study design of a Thuringia-wide prospective population-based study (AlertsNet). BMJ Open. 2015;5(12):e009095.

Rübsamen N, Castell S, Horn J, Karch A, Ott JJ, Raupach-Rosin H, Zoch B, Krause G, Mikolajczyk RT. Ebola risk perception in Germany, 2014. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015;21(6):1012-8.


Castell S*, Akmatov MK*, Obi N, Flesh-Janys D, Nieters A, Kemmling Y, Pessler F, Krause G. Test-retest reliability of an infectious disease questionnaire and evaluation of self-assessed vulnerability to infections : findings of Pretest 2 of the German National Cohort. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2014;57(11):1300-7. [*contributed equally]

Castell S, Krause G, Schmitt M, Pawlita M, Delere Y, Obi N, Flesch-Janys D, Kemmling Y, Kaufmann AM. Feasibility and acceptance of cervicovaginal self-sampling within the German National Cohort (Pretest 2). Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2014;57(11):1270-6.

Schultze A, Akmatov MK, Castell S, Karch A, Ahrens W, Gunther K, Schlenz H, Flesch-Janys D, Obi N, Pessler F, Krause G. Collection of vaccination data in the German National Cohort : Findings of a feasibility study in three study centers. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2014;57(11):1292-9.


Castell S. Infektionsprävention bei Tuberkulose in der Praxis. Krankenhaushygiene up2date 02/2012. 2013;7:79-93.

Schönfeld N, Haas W, Richter E, Bauer TT, Bos L, Castell S, Hauer B, Magdorf K, Matthiessen W, Mauch H, Reuss A, et al. [Recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of nontuberculous mycobacterioses of the German Central Committee against tuberculosis and the German Respiratory Society]. Pneumologie. 2013;67(11):605-33.


Castell S, Bauer T, Diel R, Hedrich A, Magdorf K, Rusch-Gerdes S, Schaberg T, Loddenkemper R, World Health O. [International Standards of Tuberculosis Care (ISTC)--comments from the German point of view]. Pneumologie. 2012;66(4):240-9.

Castell S, Diel R, Bauer T. Tuberculosis tests. Internist Prax. 2012;52(2):377-9.

Castell S, Diel R, Bauer T. Tuberculosis tests. Tagl Prax. 2012;53(2):377-9.

Diel R, Rutz S, Castell S, Schaberg T. Tuberculosis: cost of illness in Germany. Eur Respir J. 2012;40(1):143-51.

Schaberg T, Bauer T, Castell S, Dalhoff K, Detjen A, Diel R, Greinert U, Hauer B, Lange C, Magdorf K, Loddenkemper R. [Recommendations for therapy, chemoprevention and chemoprophylaxis of tuberculosis in adults and children. German Central Committee against Tuberculosis (DZK), German Respiratory Society (DGP)]. Pneumologie. 2012;66(3):133-71.

Ziegler R, Just HM, Castell S, Diel R, Gastmeier P, Haas W, Hauer B, Loytved G, Mielke M, Moser I, Nienhaus A, et al. [Tuberculosis infection control--recommendations of the DZK]. Pneumologie. 2012;66(5):269-82.

Castell S. Infektionsprävention bei Tuberkulose in der Praxis. Krankenhaushygiene up2date. 2012;07(02):79-93.


Castell S, Diel R, Loddenkemper R, Glaser-Paschke G, Stang A. [Are alcohol and drug addiction risk factors for default from tuberculosis treatment? - preliminary work for a case-control study including tuberculosis patients from Berlin and Hamburg, 2001-2009]. Gesundheitswesen. 2011;73(12):909-11.

Castell S, Hauer B, Brodhun B, Haas W. [Epidemiology of tuberculosis: The current situation in Germany and worldwide] Epidemiologie der Tuberkulose. Aktutelle Situation in Deutschland und weltweit. Pneumologe. 2011;8(1):9-16.

Castell S, Loddenkemper R. Resistente Tuberkulose - Gefahren und Lösungsansätze. Medical Special. 2011;1:19-21.

Diel R, Loytved G, Nienhaus A, Castell S, Detjen A, Geerdes-Fenge H, Haas W, Hauer B, Konigstein B, Maffei D, Magdorf K, et al. [New recommendations for contact tracing in tuberculosis]. Gesundheitswesen. 2011;73(6):369-88.

Diel R, Loytved G, Nienhaus A, Castell S, Detjen A, Geerdes-Fenge H, Haas W, Hauer B, Konigstein B, Maffei D, Magdorf K, et al. [New recommendations for contact tracing in tuberculosis. German Central Committee against Tuberculosis]. Pneumologie. 2011;65(6):359-78.

Hauer B, Castell S, Loddenkemper R. [Drug-resistant tuberculosis: Growing problems and solutions] Resistente Tuberkulose. Zunehmende Probleme und Lösungsansätze. Pneumologe. 2011;8(1):25-31.


Castell S, Hauer B, Manissero D, Ulrichs T, Zaleskis R, Loddenkemper R. [Berlin Declaration on Tuberculosis: High Level Follow-Up of High Priority Countries for TB Control in the WHO-EURO Region 'Double Trouble or Double Success? Bringing Together Diseases and Programs' - a symposium report]. Pneumologie. 2010;64(7):422-9.

Loddenkemper R, Castell S, Hauer B. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: problems and responses. World Medical Journal. 2010;56:60-7.


Trendelenburg G, Prass K, Priller J, Kapinya K, Polley A, Muselmann C, Ruscher K, Kannbley U, Schmitt AO, Castell S, Wiegand F, et al. Serial analysis of gene expression identifies metallothionein-II as major neuroprotective gene in mouse focal cerebral ischemia. J Neurosci. 2002;22(14):5879-88.

2000 and earlier

Weih M, Vetter B, Castell S, Ziemer S, Kulozik AE, Einhaupl KM. Hereditary thrombophilia in cerebral venous thrombosis. Cerebrovasc Dis. 2000;10(2):161-2.

Wiegand F, Liao W, Busch C, Castell S, Knapp F, Lindauer U, Megow D, Meisel A, Redetzky A, Ruscher K, Trendelenburg G, et al. Respiratory chain inhibition induces tolerance to focal cerebral ischemia. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1999;19(11):1229-37.


Castell S. Helicobacter pylori. In: RKI, editor. Bericht zum Krebgeschehen in Deutschland 2016. Berlin2016. p. 199f.

Loddenkemper R, Siemon G, Castell S, Pädiatrie: Magdorf K. Lungentuberkulose und andere Mykobakteriosen. In: Domschke W, Berger M, Hohenberger W, Meinertz T, Possinger K, editors. Therapie-Handbuch. 5th ed. Munich: ELSEVIER Urban & Fischer; 2013. p. 1-3.

Hauer B, Loddenkemper R, Castell S. Prävention der berufsbedingten Tuberkulose. In: Nienhaus A, Brandenburg S, Teschler H, editors. Tuberkulose als Berufskrankheit. Ein Leitfaden zur Begutachtung und Vorsorge. 3rd ed. Munich: ecomed MEDIZIN; 2012.


  • SORMAS - the future of epidemic surveillance

    Epidemiologists and IT experts from Germany and Nigeria have jointly developed an innovative app to help fight epidemics like ebola or cholera - the Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS). This video explains why a tool like SORMAS is urgently needed and introduces the unique approach that makes SORMAS so powerful.

  • Fighting epidemics in Nigeria with SORMAS-App

    German scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) in Braunschweig and Nigerian researchers are applying the new mobile information system for the first time to combat a monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria. The monkeypox epidemic has spread since September 2017 and, by now, afflicts 128 patients in 14 federal states in Nigeria. The name of the system, SORMAS, stands for "Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System".

Audio Podcast

  • Staphylococcus aureus – ein Leben in der Nase2000 zufällig ausgewählte Braunschweiger Bürger haben in diesem Juni Post vom HZI erhalten – mit der Bitte, an einer Studie über die Verbreitung von Staphylococcus aureus teilzunehmen. Varianten des Bakteriums sind unter dem Kürzel MRSA als Krankenhauskeime zu trauriger Berühmtheit gelangt. Unsere Wissenschaftler wollen nun erforschen, wie viele Gesunde – außerhalb von Krankenhäusern – mit diesem Keim Leben. Und sie suchen nach Risikofaktoren, die Staphylococcus aureus die Besiedlung des Menschen erleichtern. Begleiten Sie Frank Pessler und Jaishri Mehraj ein Stück in die Welt der Epidemiologie...
  • Proben und Fragebögen für die Infektionsforschung - Die Nationale Kohorte Diabetes mellitus, Krebs, Arterienverkalkung und diverse Infektionen sind Volkskrankheiten, über die wir viel zu wenig wissen. Mit der Nationalen Kohorte wollen Wissenschaftler diesen Krankheiten auf den Grund gehen und neue Strategien gegen sie entwickeln. Frank Pessler und Manas Akmatov nehmen die Infektionen ins Visier. Lassen Sie sich erklären, wie ihnen 225.000 Menschen dabei helfen sollen…
PrintSend per emailShare