Nano Infection Biology

Viruses are nanoscale entities. Despite their size and low complexity, they efficiently enter host cells leading to infection and reprogramming of cellular functions. The critical processes involve only a handful of viral and cellular proteins. Yet this contact is critical for the outcome of infection and the cellular immune response. We look at these processes to understand which cellular processes are stimulated by viruses and how the host cell interprets an infecting virus at the molecular level. At the scale of single viruses, these processes, their dynamics and structural conditions remain mostly unclear. We thus use advanced microscopy techniques, which allow us to visualize viral and cellular nanostructures during the infection process.


Dr Christian Sieben

Viruses are nanoscale entities. Over the past decade, we have the reached the technological competence to visualize infection processes on the very scale – an exciting and often surprising view on virus biology.

Christian Sieben

Christian Sieben studied Biology at the TU Darmstadt with majors in physiology and cell biology. After graduating in plant cell biology, he moved to the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin to start a PhD in single-cell virology. During this time, he developed microscopy approaches to decipher respiratory virus infection at the level of individual cells. He then moved to EPFL in Switzerland to study super-resolution microscopy techniques, which now allow him to study virus infection at the single protein level. In 2020, Christian started his group Nanoscale Infection Biology (NIVI) at HZI in Braunschweig.


  • 1 cure for ALL viruses? 6 new research teams in the challenge by the Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovations [Video in German]

    Six research teams have entered the second phase of the SPRIND Challenge "A Quantum Leap for New Antiviral Agents" with their approach to developing new antiviral agents. Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research are involved in three of the funded projects. YouTuber Jacob Beautemps introduces the teams.

PrintSend per emailShare