Recent reports published by the World Health Organization (WHO) entitled "The Global Burden of Disease" (GBD) highlights the importance of research on host-pathogen interactions. Evolution is an ongoing process driving the development of highly virulent and multi-resistant bacteria strains or so called “emerging pathogens“. A deeper understanding of the complex interaction between pathogenic bacteria and their host is inevitable to face these problems in the future.
As Cell biologists, we address host-pathogen interaction on the level of single cells, embodying the smallest living unit on both sides. Upon contact, pathogens need to manipulate the normal behavior of host cells in order to establish a niche for survival and to evade the hosts defense mechanisms. We study these induced changes on the cellular and molecular level, in order to exactly understand which host process is targeted by a given virulence mechanism an why.
Prof Dr Theresia Stradal
"The interplay between pathogenic bacteria and cells of the host is tremendously complex and not well understood. A better understanding of this interface between molecules from both worlds, bacteria and host cells, bears the potential to find new ways to interrupt this often fatal interaction and might pave the way to novel anti-infective strategies."
Theresia Stradal studied Biology at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg in Austria, where she also received her PhD from the Institute for Molecular Biology in 2000. She subsequently worked in the Cell Biology department at the Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung in Braunschweig (today’s Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, HZI) as a postdoc for four years. In 2005 she took over the group leader position until she was offered a W2 professorship by the Institute for Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Münster in 2009. In 2014, she returned to Braunschweig to accept a W3 professorship at the Institute for Zoology of the Technische Universität Braunschweig. At the same time, Theresia Stradal became head of the department Cell Biology at the HZI. Her focus here is on host-pathogen-interactions as well as the defense mechanisms of the host and virulence mechanisms of the pathogens.