Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi and protozoa. This discipline includes fundamental research on the biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, ecology, evolution and clinical aspects of microorganisms, including the host response to these agents.

  • A new study shows how dangerous germs travel as stowaways from one continent to another

    Using a special culture, germs from smears can be recognized and identified. Photo: WWU/H. Dornhege

    As scientists from Münster University, in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, have now demonstrated, toilets at airports are also a “transfer point” for germs. These include germs against which traditional antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections are not, or only partially, effective.
    Münster (mfm/sm) – Everyday life at an airport: there’s still time before the jet taking passengers to faraway countries takes off – time enough for a quick visit to the toilet. What awaits passengers there is not always a pleasant sight. However, what they don’t see can be much worse. As scientists from Münster University, in collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, have now demonstrated, toilets at airports are also a “transfer point” for germs.

  • A Pair of RNA Scissors with Many Functions

    Photo: Dominik Kopp

    Arming CRISPR/Cas systems with an enzyme that also controls the translation of genetic information into protein. CRISPR/Cas systems are known as promising “gene scissors” in the genome editing of plants, animals, and microorganisms by targeting specific regions in their DNA – and perhaps they can even be used to correct genetic defects.

  • Added bacterial film makes new mortar resistant to water uptake

    Added bacterial film makes new mortar resistant to water uptake | The surface of the hybrid mortar (left) is covered with tiny crystalline spikes. This results in the so-called lotus effect which does not occur on the untreated mortar (right) Illustration: Stefan Grumbein / TUM

    Moisture can destroy mortar over time – for example when cracks form as a result of frost. A team of scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has found an unusual way to protect mortar from moisture: When the material is being mixed, they add a biofilm – a soft, moist substance produced by bacteria.

    Oliver Lieleg usually has little to do with bricks, mortar and concrete. As a professor of biomechanics at the Institute of Medical Engineering (IMETUM) and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, he mainly deals with biopolymer-based hydrogels or, to put it bluntly, slime formed by living organisms.These include bacterial biofilms, such as dental plaque and the slimy black coating that forms in sewage pipes. “Biofilms are generally considered undesirable and harmful. They are something you want to get rid of,” says Oliver Lieleg. “I was therefore excited to find a beneficial use for them.”

  • Aerobic processes compete for nitrogen in oxygen minimum zones

    Methodically, this was pioneering work: Without highly-sensitive oxygen sensorsit would not have been possible. The developers of the so-called STOX sensors supported Bristow in this study. Laura Tiano

    At the margins of oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) at ultralow oxygen concentrations, aerobic ammonium and nitrite oxidizers compete for nitrogen with anaerobic microorganisms. Thus they play an important but so far overlooked role in controlling nitrogen loss in OMZs.

  • Antibiotic Resistance – Quick and Reliable Detection

    DZIF scientists (from left to right): Alexander Klimka, Sonja Mertins, Paul Higgins. Uniklinik Köln/Klimka

    Early detection of antibiotic resistant pathogens can be life-saving. DZIF-scientists at the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, University of Cologne, have developed an antibody-based diagnostic test, which can identify carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria in only 10 minutes – in a process similar to a pregnancy test.

  • Antibiotika-resistentes mcr-1-Gen erstmals bei Patientenprobe aus 2012 nachgewiesen

    Die Mikrobiologen Dr. Jörg Wüllenweber und Dr. Franziska Schuler konnten in aufbewahrten Isolaten nun erstmals das Colistin-resistente mcr-1-Gen bei einer Patientenprobe aus dem Jahr 2012 nachweisen.   UKM

    Keim ist gegen das Reserve- und Notfall-Antibiotikum Colistin resistent / Mikrobiologen des UKM gelingt einer der ersten Nachweise beim Menschen in Deutschland

  • Big data processing enables worldwide bacterial analysis

    S. Aureus colonies © Nanobay

    Sequencing data from biological samples such as the skin, intestinal tissues, or soil and water are usually archived in public databases. This allows researchers from all over the globe to access them. However, this has led to the creation of extremely large quantities of data. To be able to explore all these data, new evaluation methods are necessary. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a bioinformatics tool which allows to search all bacterial sequences in databases in just a few mouse clicks and find similarities or check whether a particular sequence exists.

  • Biofilms as Construction Workers

    Red algae move towards the light and excrete chains of sugar molecules. By means of time-variable light patterns, the researchers obtain customized templates from these long, fine polymer threads, which they use for functional ceramics. (Photo: v. Opdenbosch/TUM)

    Biofilms are generally seen as a problem to be eradicated due to the hazards they pose for humans and materials. However, these communities of algae, fungi, or bacteria possess interesting properties both from a scientific and a technical standpoint. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes processes from the field of biology that utilize biofilms as ‘construction workers’ to create structural templates for new materials that possess the properties of natural materials. In the past, this was only possible to a limited extent.

  • Biophysik - Den Ring schließen

    Wie Bakterien sich teilen, ist bisher nicht vollständig klar. LMU-Physiker zeigen jetzt, dass sich Proteine bei hoher Dichte von selbst zu Ringen zusammenschließen können. Sie schnüren die Mutterzelle ein und teilen sie so in Tochterzellen.

  • Biosensor measures signaling molecules within cilia

    Scientists of the Research Center caesar in Bonn, an Institute of the Max Planck Society, developed a new biosensor, which allows to measure nanomolar levels of the second messenger cAMP. The sensor makes it possible to study cAMP signaling with high precision, even in subcellular compartments. Using this new biosensor, the scientists of the Minerva Max Planck Research Group “Molecular Physiology“ headed by Dagmar Wachten and of the Department “Molecular Sensory Systems” headed by Benjamin Kaupp revealed how the production of cAMP is regulated in the flagella of sperm cells from mice.

  • Chemikalien wirtschaftlich aus Holzabfällen gewinnen

    Vitamine, Medikamente, Lösungsmittel, Pflanzenschutzmittel und Polymere – viele davon liessen sich über den Zwischenschritt der Bernsteinsäure mittels Bakterien in Zukunft auch aus Holzabfällen herstellen. Und zwar mindestens so wirtschaftlich, umweltschonend und sicher wie derzeit aus Erdöl. Dies zeigte ein internationales Forscherteam unter der Leitung von ETH-Wissenschaftlern auf.

  • Data Security in Medical Studies: IT Researchers Break Anonymity of Gene Databases

    DNA string.

    DNA profiles can reveal a number of details about individuals. There are laws in place that regulate the trade of gene data. However, these laws do not apply to an equally relevant type of genetic data, so-called microRNAs. This means that anonymity needs to be strictly maintained in microRNA studies as well. Researchers from the Research Center for IT Security, CISPA, have now been able to show that a few microRNA molecules are sufficient to draw conclusions about study participants. The computer scientists will be presenting their means of attack, and appropriate countermeasures, at the Cebit computer fair in Hannover (Hall 6, Stand C47).

  • Diabetesforschung: Neuer Mechanismus zur Regulation des Insulin-Stoffwechsels gefunden

    Die Abbildung zeigt das isolierte Nervensystem einer Drosophila Larve. Farblich markiert sind die Kerne jener Zellen, die das untersuchte Enzym produzieren. Foto: Universität Osnabrück

    OSNABRÜCK/KOPENHAGEN.- Insulin stellt ein für alle Wirbeltiere lebensnotwendiges Hormon dar, da es unter anderem die Körperzellen anregt, Glukose aus dem Blut aufzunehmen und somit den Blutzuckerspiegel zu senken. Eine fehlerhafte Regulation des Insulin-Stoffwechsels führt zu vielfältigen Krankheiten, wobei Diabetes die weltweit größte Verbreitung aufweist. Basierend auf dieser hohen medizinischen Relevanz arbeiten international zahlreiche Forschergruppen daran, Faktoren zu identifizieren, die den Insulin-Stoffwechsel regulieren. So auch an der Universität Osnabrück.

  • Die Blitzabwehr der Bakterien: Immunzellen werden direkt beim ersten Kontakt getötet

    Die Blitzabwehr der Bakterien Immunzellen werden direkt beim ersten Kontakt getötet | Die genetische Ausstattung ihres Virulenzplasmids ermöglicht es Bakterien der Gattung Yersinia, die Immunabwehr auszuschalten. HZI/M. Rohde

    Dringen Bakterien in den Körper eines Menschen oder eines Tieres ein, werden sie vom Immunsystem als fremd erkannt. Daraufhin versuchen die Immunzellen, diese Fremdkörper zu beseitigen. Wissenschaftler des Helmholtz-Zentrums für Infektionsforschung (HZI) in Braunschweig haben nun gemeinsam mit Kollegen der Universität Umeå in Schweden herausgefunden, wie es Bakterien der Gattung Yersinia schaffen, Immunzellen direkt beim ersten Kontakt abzutöten: Sie vervielfältigen die genetische Information für ihre krankmachenden Werkzeuge und schießen gleichzeitig Substanzen in die Immunzelle, die sie schnell inaktivieren und umbringen.

  • Dissecting bacterial infections at the single-cell level

    Left: a macrophage (nucleus in blue) infected with a non-replicating bacteria in yellow indicated by an arrow and on the right infected with bacteria that has replicated (red). (Picture: Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba)

    Technological advances are making the analysis of single bacterial infected human cells feasible, Würzburg researchers have used this technology to provide new insight into the Salmonella infection process. The study has just been published in “Nature Microbiology”. Infectious diseases are a leading cause of mortality worldwide. The development of novel therapies or vaccines requires improved understanding of how viruses, pathogenic fungi or bacteria cause illnesses.

  • Doppelschlag gegen Bakterien und Viren

    Doppelschlag gegen Bakterien und Viren picture1 | Das Bakterium Staphylococcus aureus (rot) bildet häufig Resistenzen gegen Antibiotika aus und ist besonders für Patienten gefährlich, die bereits unter einer Infektion mit dem AIDS-Erreger HIV leiden Abbildung: HZI/M. Rohde

    Dualer Wirkstoff hemmt die Vermehrung des AIDS-Erregers HIV und von resistenten MRSA-Bakterien zugleich, indem er sowohl virale als auch baktrielle Enzyme hemmt.

  • Every atom counts in Protein structures

    Every atom counts in Protein structures | Tailored parallel X-rays perfectly matching the dimensions of the protein crystals enabled the scientists to determine the proteasome structure in unprecedented detail. Illustration: Hartmut Sebesse / Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

    Malignant cancer cells not only proliferate faster than most body cells. They are also more dependent on the most important cellular garbage disposal unit, the proteasome, which degrades defective proteins. Therapies for some types of cancer exploit this dependence: Patients are treated with inhibitors, which block the proteasome. The ensuing pile-up of junk overwhelms the cancer cell, ultimately killing it. Scientists have now succeeded in determining the human proteasome’s 3D structure in unprecedented detail and have deciphered the mechanism by which inhibitors block the proteasome. Their results will pave the way to develop more effective proteasome inhibitors for cancer therapy.

  • Forscher widerlegen Lehrbuch-Wissen über Makrophagen-Stoffwechsel bei entzündlichen Erkrankungen

    Was passiert, wenn Makrophagen-Immunzellen im Verlauf einer Entzündung aktiviert werden, um Krankheitserreger wie Bakterien oder Viren zu bekämpfen? Dieser Frage ist ein Forscherteam des Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) der Universität Luxemburg nachgegangen. Dabei stellten die Wissenschaftler fest, dass sich die Immunzellen anders verhalten als bisher vermutet. Ihr Stoffwechsel hält die Produktion von antimikrobiellen Stoffen und Fettsäuren während der Aktivierung aufrecht. Sie liefern auf diese Weise wichtige Rohstoffe für die von ihnen ausgelösten Abwehrreaktionen.

  • Health Business Connect 2016

    For the first time in history, the Health Business Connect - a two-day meeting for companies from the high-tech sector with the focus on medical technology was held in Besançon at the modern facility of TEMIS Technology Park. The event was organized by the IVAM Microtechnology Network and its French partner network Pôle des Microtechniques (PMT).

    The main purpose of this event was to promote more cooperation between medical manufacturing companies and other companies related to that field. Furthermore, new developments and regulations in the medical sector were discussed as well as possibilities and the exchange of experience how to enter the medical market.

    The first day started with a lunch and a guided tour at the Statice Headquarters. During lunch the first contacts between the participants already took place. The whole atmosphere at Statice was friendly and familiar. After lunch the whole group was driven to the technology center TEMIS where the rest of the Health Business Connect event was held.

    Lunch at Statice Headquarters, picture provided by IVAM.Lunch at Statice Headquarters, picture provided by IVAM.

    The next 3 hours manufacturers of components for medical devices gave presentations on subjects such as data sharing with clients, new governmental regulations for medical devices and the protection of intellectual property. After every presentation there was room for discussions between device manufacturers and the component manufacturers. At 17:30 femto-st, the well-known microtechnology research institute from France held a presentation about its current projects. The presentation was followed by a guided tour through the different clean room laboratories at TEMIS.

    Presentations at Temis, picture provided by IVAMPresentations at Temis, picture provided by IVAM

    The evening program started at 19:30 with a get together dinner at “Chez Elle”, a restaurant near the Hôtel All Suites in Besançon. During the exquisite meals the participants where changing places so each and every participant had the possibility to network with each other.

    Networking dinner at Chez Elle, picture provided by IVAMNetworking dinner at Chez Elle, picture provided by IVAM

    The second day started at TEMIS with company pitches, followed by almost hundred B2B meetings between the participants. Nanobay was actively participating in these meetings to interact with the component manufacturers and the device manufacturers.

    Networking at TEMIS, picture provided by IVAMNetworking at TEMIS, picture provided by IVAM

    Overall, the Health Business Connect was a huge success; more than 50 companies from 10 different countries were giving talks and actively participating at this event. Nanobay was introduced to the medical device and component manufacturers in France and Germany.

    Health Business Connect Group Photo Health Business Connect Group Photo provided by IVAM

    PMT and IVAM are already planning the follow-up conference at Dortmund, Germany next year.


    Information about IVAMIVAM Logo

    IVAM is an international association consisting of companies and institutes from the fields microtechnology, nanotechnology, new materials, MEMS, optics and photonics. The association was founded 1995. Currently the IVAM has more than 200 companies and institutes as members, mainly small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    The central mission of the association is to create synergies and to support its members in exchanging knowledge, initiating joint projects and networking with each other and potential customers. IVAM organizes workshops, business round tables and networking events. In addition, business platforms are organized in trade shows for example at the COMPAMED in Dusseldorf. IVAM helps with extensive press and public relations and supports its members abroad.

    More information can be found on www.ivam.de.

  • High yield at high selectivity – lentiviral vectors with Nipah envelope proteins developed

    High yield at high selectivity lentiviral vectors with Nipah envelope proteins developed | Left: EM image of the vector with envelope proteins (arrows). Right: Structure of a surface receptor (Her2/neu). Binding of the vector in the green zone allows membrane fusion and gene transfer. Source: Bender RR et al.: PLOS Pathog. 09. June 2016 and PEI

    To transfer genes exclusively into the patient’s therapy relevant cells is in the focus of current research approaches in gene therapy. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have succeeded in modifying envelope proteins of Nipah virus (NiV) and to combine them with lentiviruses in such a way that they can now be used for a highly selective and efficient gene transfer to selected cells. Another advantage of these new vectors is that they can be produced at higher yields, which is required for clinical applications. PLOS Pathogens reports on these research results in its online edition of 09.06.2016.