Microbial Pathogenicity Mechanisms
Human pathogenic fungi frequently cause infections of skin and mucosae, however they are also capable of causing life threatening mycoses.
The Department of Microbial Pathogenicity Mechanisms (MPM) at the Leibniz Institute of Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, Hans Knöll Institute (HKI), is concerned with the investigation of infections caused by human pathogenic fungi. Research is focused on the pathogenesis of mycoses due to yeasts such as Candida albicans or C. glabrata.
In contrast to most other human pathogenic fungi, Candida species are part of the normal human microbial flora. However, if the natural barrier of the host is breached, or if the immune system is weakened, Candida is able to cause infections. In these cases, the fungus can overgrow the microbial flora and may enter deeper tissue layers or even organs.
We aim to find the factors involved in the ability of fungi to cause diseases. To this end, we apply methods of cellular and molecular biology, microbiology and biochemistry with C. albicans and C. glabrata as a model organism. By this means, we want to learn more about the pathogenicity factors of this fungus and possibly find novel targets for future antifungal drugs.
The MPM department closely cooperates with the research group Microbial Immunology which uses infection models to understand pathogenesis of human pathogenic fungi.