Dynamics of Respiratory Infections
Several chronic inflammatory diseases of the lung have been recently associated with alterations in the composition of the airway microbiome. Moreover, the lung microbiota can be classified according to its predominance either of proinflammatory bacteria, such as strains from the genera Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Haemophilus or of low-stimulatory bacteria from genera like Prevotella, Streptococcus, and Veillonella. Moreover, it is already known that the commensal lung microbiota can influence host immune system activation by producing numerous structural ligands and metabolites such as lipopolysaccharide, peptidoglycan, and secondary metabolites. However, the interaction between the lung microbiota and the airway epithelium, as well as their interactions with pulmonary pathogens, are not well understood.
Our research focus lies on the interactions between lung microbes and the host, and how pathogenic mechanisms may be modulated by commensal microbes in different clinical settings. This will be addressed at different levels: from complex lung-on-chip models and precise tools for specific receptor-ligand interactions, to its validation in clinical studies in different pathological settings. The identification of bacterial commensals with modulatory roles in the immune response and defense against invading pathogens will be used as keystone for the exploration of therapeutic and probiotic applications.
The group "Dynamics of Respiratory Infections" was established as hybrid group between the HZI and the Department of Respiratory Medicine and Infectious Diseases of the Hannover Medical School (MHH), to serve as bridge between clinical and basic research. In this role, our research will focus on mechanisms with a translational potential for different pulmonary infectious diseases.