Locations of the Helmholtz Centre

HIRI - Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research

Institut für Molekulare Infektionsbiologie (IMIB) der Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg © Universität Würzburg / Foto: Staatliches Bauamt Würzburg/Wolfgang Dürr Architekturfotografie

The Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research - or "HIRI" for short – is a joint research centre of the Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg (JMU) and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI). The focus of the institute is on so-called ribonucleic acids (RNAs).

The new HIRI will focus on ribonucleic acids and their role in infection processes. The research field of RNAs offers an enormous innovation potential for new diagnostics and therapies of infectious diseases. This potential is to be tapped now by new technologies.

Der designierte HIRI-Gründungsdirektor Jörg Vogel, Professor für Infektionsbiologie an der Universität Würzburg. © Christof Rieken

The significance of RNA molecules in infection processes has been underestimated until recently. We now know that RNAs interact with many molecules of the host cell and the pathogens. We aim to investigate these interactions in detail by applying the latest technologies from 2017 at the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research, and use this approach, e.g., to identify new target structures for therapies," says Prof Jörg Vogel from the University of Würzburg, who is the designated founding director of the HIRI.

Four research areas, embedded in the Helmholtz programme "Infection Research", will Initially be established at the HIRI:

  • RNA-based analysis of bacterial infections
  • RNA-based analysis of viral infections
  • RNA-based analysis of the Immune defence
  • specific application of RNA molecules

The research at the HIRI is to make a significant contribution to a better understanding of infections. The newly gathered knowledge, combined with the translational expertise of the two partners, can then be utilised for new applications in prophylaxis and therapy.

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