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Clusters of Excellence

Resolving Infection Susceptibility

The Cluster of Excellence RESIST drives forward our understanding of the fundamental determinants of susceptibility to infectious diseases to the point where this newly gained knowledge can be used to develop more accurate, personalised therapies, diagnostic methods and novel preventive strategies. These aims are motivated by important clinical needs. Severe manifestations of infectious disease often occur in the very young (infants and premature babies) and the very old.

Susceptibility to infection may also be inherited or acquired, for example as a side effect of immunosuppressive therapy or another infection. In these individuals, severe infections often curtail the success of modern medicine. Because of an ageing population and an increasing number of patients living with organ or stem cell transplants, severe infectious disease in susceptible individuals represents an important medical and societal challenge, in particular in middle and high-income countries. Currently it is difficult to take into account differences in infection susceptibility and to tailor treatments to the individual requirements of an infected patient, because the host and pathogen determinants that govern infectious disease susceptibility are only poorly understood.

To remedy this situation, RESIST addresses host genetic factors determining the severity of bacterial and viral infections, explore how the immune response is primed in very young and reshaped in older individuals, and investigate the dynam-ics of microbial communities and determinants of bacterial and viral persistence and replication. RESIST has designed its research programme around numerous existing and planned patient cohorts and will focus on a selected group of bacterial and viral pathogens that are of high public health concern and of particular relevance in the very young, the elderly, patients with inherited immune defects and transplant recipients. RESIST builds on the recently developed excellent infrastructure for basic and clinical in-fection research in the Hannover-Braunschweig area and further strengthen it by incorporating world-leading expertise in molecular imaging (Centre for Structural Systems Biology, Hamburg) and in the genetic causes of immunodeficiency (Centre for Chronic Immunodeficiencies, Freiburg).

In this way RESIST generates new ideas and concepts that are developed further for eventual clinical use with the help of our translational research programmes in the German Centres for Infection Research (DZIF) and Lung Research (DZL), as well as our Centres for Individualised Infection Medicine (CIIM) and Emerging Infections and Zoonoses (RIZ) in Hannover. In this way RESIST lays the scientific basis and acts as a catalyst for the development of innovative approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat severe infections in susceptible patients.

Involved Institutions:

  • Universitätsklinikum Freiburg Centrum für Chronische Immundefizienz
  • Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (HZI)
  • Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
  • TWINCORE Zentrum für Experimentelle und Klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH
  • Zentrum für strukturelle Systembiologie (CSSB) c/o Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

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