Ecology and Emergence of Zoonoses

Zoonoses, diseases transmitted between animals and humans, substantially threaten human health, but also domestic animals and wildlife. Influenced by climate change, globalization, anthropogenic disturbance and habitat fragmentation, contacts at human-animal interfaces become more frequent, thus increasing the risk of zoonotic emergence and, ultimately, pandemics. Our research aims to understand emergence and ecology of such zoonoses, i.e., how pathogens are transmitted between populations, landscapes and ecosystems. By incorporating data on the biotic and abiotic context of these transmissions, we generate evidence that allows us to contribute to pandemic preparedness and prevention. This group is located at the Helmholtz Institute for One Health (HIOH).


Selected Publications

Patrono L. et al. (2022). Non-invasive genomics of respiratory pathogens infecting wild great apes using hybridisation capture.Influenza Other Respir Viruses.1:1-4

Kimberley J. et al. (2021). Leprosy in wild chimpanzees.Nature. 598: 652–656

Keita A.K. et al. (2021). Resurgence of Ebola virus in 2021 in Guinea suggests a new paradigm for outbreaks.Nature 597:539-543.

Patrono L. et al. (2020). Monkeypox virus emergence in wild chimpanzees reveals distinct clinical outcomes and viral diversity,Nature Microbiology. 5: 955–965

Constanze & Zimmermann (2017), Persistent anthrax as a major driver of wildlife mortality in a tropical rainforest.Nature 548: 82–86;

Further Information

A current overview of the team and further information about the research group can be found on the HIOH page.


Since mid-May 2022, several countries where monkeypox/mpox is not endemic have reported a cluster of monkeypox virus infections. HZI researchers are helping to assess the situation and educate the public. Click here for more information.

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