Locations of the Helmholtz Centre

The Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research is located throughout Germany. In addition to the main campus in Braunschweig, there are facilities in 4 other cities: Hamburg, Hanover, Saarbrücken and Würzburg.

Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI)

The HIRI was established in May 2017 as a partnership between the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the Julius-Maximilian-University of Würzburg (JMU). HIRI is the first research institution worldwide bridging the fields of RNA biology and infectious disease.

Our Team

Research at HIRI focuses on four areas—bacterial infections, viral infections, host response, and RNA delivery—complemented by the strategic pursuit of emerging topics in RNA research. Collaboration between groups is core to our mission, and the tight interconnections between our four research areas provide a vibrant research environment for our scientists and trainees.

The first HIRI department was established in June 2017 by HIRI’s founding director, Professor Jörg Vogel. The aim of his department is to develop novel procedures to understand the RNA world of bacterial pathogens and use RNA-centric approaches to target pathogens and manipulate the microbiota.

Prof Chase Beisel
RNA Synthetic Biology

The lab of Prof Chase Beisel (formerly North Carolina State University, USA) will investigate and harness the functional diversity of CRISPR-Cas immune systems for the development of new foundational technologies. They aim to develop a new generation of CRISPR technologies that can be employed to better understand, diagnose, and combat human infections.

Dr Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba
Single-cell Analysis

The research of Dr Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba and his group is dedicated to using single- cell RNA-seq approaches to study heterogeneity in host responses to infections and its impact on disease outcome.

Jun Prof Neva Caliskan
Recoding Mechanisms in Infections

The research of Jun Prof Neva Caliskan’s group aims to identify and characterize the mechanisms and regulatory implications of translational recoding in RNA viruses and pathogenic bacteria.

The group of Dr Lars Barquist will develop systems approaches to RNA and infection, using modern visualization, data science, and machine learning technologies to integrate large-scale functional genomics data.

Jun Prof Alexander Westermann
Host-pathogen-microbiota interactions

The group of Alexander Westermann focuses on investigating molecular RNA-based mechanisms that allow infecting pathogens to outcompete the resident microbiota. Their research centers on the identification and functional characterization of noncoding RNA molecules in pathogens, microbiota members and the host, to identify those RNAs that may serve as biomarkers for diagnostics or as therapeutic targets.

The Helmholtz Junior research group of Redmond Smyth investigates how RNA viruses regulate their replication and evolution using non-coding RNA structures within their genomes.

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