Locations of the Helmholtz Centre

Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI)

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 (HIRI) was established in May 2017 as a joint venture between the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg (JMU). Located on the Würzburg medical campus, it will be the first research institution worldwide bridging the areas of RNA research and infectious diseases. 

Research at HIRI

Despite elevated hygiene standards and improved prevention and treatment options, bacterial pathogens remain a major cause of life-threatening acute and chronic diseases in humans worldwide. The prevalence of multidrug resistant bacteria in hospitals now threatens to nullify the considerable advances of modern medicine in the treatment of other diseases.

Moreover, infections and the associated immune response can cause dramatic changes in the microbiota, with ramifications for the development and manifestation of seemingly unrelated diseases. However, in the face of ever-increasing antibiotic resistance, the management of bacterial infections by available drugs can no longer be taken for granted. Therefore, the current antibiotic crisis urgently demands both new tools for rapid diagnostics and novel target structures for treatment of bacterial pathogens.

These issues provide the exact starting point of Prof Jörg Vogel’s department “RNA biology of bacterial infections” (RABI) and the research group “Single cell analysis”, headed by Dr Antoine‐Emmanuel Saliba. 

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