Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics (WE07)

Address: Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13
14163 Berlin

Director: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Lothar H. Wieler
Phone: +49 30 209 36335



The institute for microbiology and epizootics („IMT“) is a research and teaching institute which offers additional micro-biological services to other university institutes (animal hospitals, veterinary-pathological institute) and to established veterinarians and veterinary pathologists.

Due to the intensive and internationally competitive research work in the field of molecular pathogenesis and epidemiology of bacterial infections, the services offered are constantly updated. The main research focus lies on the clarification of the molecular mechanisms which are the basis for intestinal infections. At the core are infections with different Eschericha coli pathotypes (EHEC, EPEC, ETEC, EAEC) and Salmonella, as well as Pasteurella, Mannheimia and Erysipelothrix infections.

Research is done using animal models (chicken and pig infection models) and in vitro with cellbiological experiments. Although research focusses mainly on the molecular characteristics of the bacterial pathogens the participation of the host side is also analyzed, in particular the interaction with factors of the innate immune system (macrophages, NOD receptors). Molecular epidemiology constitutes another key aspect of research. Through the establishment and the employment of molecular typing methods it is possible to analyze outbreaks of for example nosocomial infections. In addition, scientists use the IMT DNA sequence data for the identification of micro-evolutionary processes. This is particularly important regarding the evolution of pathogenicity mechanisms and the development of strains resistant against antibiotics.

Finally, an additional direction of research lies in the study of multi-resistant bacteria (e.g. Methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRS), Extended-beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing enterobacteria and multi-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii). The IMT represents two chairs, one in bacteriology and mycology, the other one in epizootic control and infection epidemiology. The extensive teaching activity results in a wide choice of compulsory and optional subjects in addition to the base curriculum. Topics range from the molecular pathogenesis of bacterial infections, the occurrence and the impact of exotic zoonoses, the comprehension and the use of vaccines to topics like „the prudent use“ of antibiotics or the applied infection epidemiology.

There are four Working Groups within the „IMT“:

  • WG infection diagnostics and molecular epidemiology („IME“)

    This WG offers microbiological services in infection and pathogen diagnostics and explores the molecular epidemiology and resistance of pathogenic agents.

  • WG interdisciplinary zoonoses research („IZF“)

    This WG establishes molecular methods for the typing of zoonotic pathogens. In addition, the WG investigates the fundamentals of the host-specificity of zoonotic pathogens.

  • WG intestinal cellular microbiology („IZM“)

    This WG focusses on the study of the molecular interaction between pathogenic agents as well as probiotic organisms and the intestinal epithelium. The impact of probiotic organisms in the pig as well as the molecular pathogenesis of infections with Salmonella enterica enterica are the main research topics.

  • WG infection biology and phylogeny of bacterial pathogens („IPP“)

    The aims of this WG are the clarification of the molecular epidemiology, pathogenesis and micro-evolution of Gram negative pathogens, in particular extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC).

  • Teaching profile

    Our institute offers lectures on basic microbiology, specific microbiology for relevant pathogens and mycology as well as on basic knowledge and special german rights for epizootics throughout the year. Furthermore we offer a practical training course to give students the chance to actually see what they learned in theory and teach them general skills for diagnostic work at the same time.

    Our institute cooperates intensely with different national and international, academic and non-academic research programmes. This offers especially doctoral students and PhD students the chance to get a high-level research training.

    Research profile

    Current projects