Sites of the Helmholtz Centre
The Sites of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research are distributed all over Germany. In addition to the main campus in Braunschweig, there are facilities in five other cities: Hamburg, Hanover, Saarbrücken, Würzburg and Greifswald.
The Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) is the first institution worldwide to combine ribonucleic acid (RNA) research with infection biology. Based on novel findings from its strong basic research program, the institute’s long-term goal is to develop innovative therapeutic approaches to better diagnose and treat human infections.
HIRI is a joint venture of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) and the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg (JMU) and is located on the Würzburg Medical Campus.
Due to its unique expertise, HIRI is in high demand for international research collaborations. Its research areas include single cell sequencing, RNA-based antibiotics and virus-host interactions, e.g. in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Increasing antibiotic resistance, chronic infections and emerging pathogens pose major challenges for the public health system.
While the central importance of RNA in regulatory and sensory cell processes has become increasingly evident in recent years, its role in infection processes remains largely unknown.
Against this background, HIRI was founded in May 2017 as a partnership between the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg (JMU).
HIRI's goal is to harness the extraordinary potential of ribonucleic acids (RNA) for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases by means of interdisciplinary expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Extraordinary things are expected not only from the research object RNA, but also from the new HIRI building. Flexible office space, temporary workplaces, niches for thinking aloud and quietly as well as for discussions are intended to support dynamic working, help with thinking and enable communication. The ground-breaking ceremony for the new HIRI is planned for 2021.
"Until recently, the significance of RNA molecules in infection processes has been greatly underestimated. Today, we know that RNAs interact with a diverse array of molecules of the host cell and the pathogen. To exploit these opportunities, HIRI will pioneer an integrated concept using cutting-edge technologies."