Chemical Microbiology

Biofilm CMIK

Together we are strong – a slogan many of us, but most especially bacteria, live by. As such, they form well-organized communities called biofilms on top of moist surfaces. They love doing this in our bathroom drain as much as on the surfaces of our teeth. Some of them make us sick, others lead a peaceful co-existence with us, and a few may even be beneficial. To understand these biofilms and potentially influence them, our scientists have to know which bacteria team up under what conditions. To figure this out, our researchers are essentially watching bacteria at work.

Dr Wolf-Rainer Abraham

“I am fascinated by the bacteria’s resourcefulness. Although they are not intelligent creatures, they make up for it with their sense of community.“

Wolf-Rainer Abraham studied chemistry at the TU Berlin and later earned his doctorate for his work on plant chemotaxonomy. In 1980, he transferred to HZI (which at that time was still called GBF), shifting his focus to researching the structure of biotransformation products. In 1992, he changed to Prof. Timmis’ Microbial Ecology research group where he studied the metabolic cooperativity of bacterial colonies through addition of labeled substrates. His current research focuses on biofilm communities with a special emphasis on clinical biofilms. Wolf-Rainer Abraham heads several national projects and is also a project leader in the Biomedical Technology research group at the Hannover Medical School. Since 1997, he is head of the Chemical Microbiology research group at HZI. He is also a member of the board of the HZI scientists conference.


  • Dr Wolf-Rainer Abraham

    Wolf-Rainer Abraham

    Head of the Research Group Chemical Microbiology

    +49 531 6181-4300/-4226

    +49 531 6181-4699


Audio Podcast

  • Vom Feind zum Freund - lasst sich das Gute im Biofilm fördern?
    Bakterien in Biofilmen infizieren Katheter, verstopfen Stents, ruinieren die Zähne, besiedeln Gewebe. Kurz: Sie verursachen viele Infektionen und wir kennen kein Mittel, sie dauerhaft zu zerstören. Aber müssen wir das überhaupt - wäre es nicht möglich, aus gefährlichen Biofilmen, ungefährliche zu machen? Denn in der Natur oder im Darm sind wir sogar auf sie angewiesen. Folgen Sie Wolf-Rainer Abraham in die Welt der Kleinsten und hören Sie wie er Biofilme an Zahnimplantaten manipuliert oder in Gallengangstents für uns nutzt…