Press Releases 2023

Fingers crossed! PhD student from Borstel qualified for the Famelab final!


Vidhisha Sonawane, PhD student from the research group " Microbial Interface Biology" has won the 2nd place of the FameLab competition at the regional heats in Karlsruhe and is therefore allowed to participate in the nationwide final, which will take place on May 23, 2023 in Bielefeld.

FameLab is the world's largest competition for science communication. In more than 20 countries, FameLab brings young scientists on stage under the motto "Talking Science". As part of their performance, the young talents have just three minutes to explain complex research content to the audience. Thereby they must dispense with common aids such as diagrams or PowerPoint presentations and convince the jury and the audience of their abilities with creativity, wit and scientific content.

Further information can be found here:

FameLab Germany | Bielefeld.JETZT

FameLab Karlsruhe: Karlsruhe

Leibniz-Wissenschaftscampus InterAct setzt erfolgreiche Forschung fort

Der Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus „Integrative Analysis of pathogen-induced Compartments“, kurz InterACt wird für weitere vier Jahre gefördert. Dies hat der Senat der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft am 21. März beschlossen. Zur Erforschung der Rolle von Kompartimenten bei Infektionskrankheiten vernetzt InterACt in Hamburg das Leibniz-Institut für Virologie mit der Universität Hamburg, dem Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, dem Forschungszentrum Borstel, dem Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin und dem Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) sowie der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg.


Early identification and combating new antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis

The antibiotic Bedaquiline (BDQ) was approved in 2014 specifically for the treatment of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) and has since been an important component of successful MDR TB therapy. However, some TB strains have already developed resistance to it. The mutations in the genome of the bacteria that mediate BDQ resistance have not yet been sufficiently understood. This is the focus of a study recently published in the Lancet Microbe: Using evolutionary biology methods, researchers from Europe, the USA and India have succeeded in classifying new and previously unknown resistance mutations in an international collaborative project led by the Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center. In the future, this knowledge can be used in molecular diagnostics to ensure patients receive tailored antibiotic therapy.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most dangerous bacterial infectious diseases, affecting more than 10 million people worldwide and causing about 1.6 million deaths. According to WHO estimates, about half a million patients become infected with a multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (Mtbc) bacteria each year. At least four antibiotics are used for therapy over a period of several months, sometimes with considerable side effects. The newly developed antibiotic bedaquiline (BDQ) has been used very successfully to treat MDR-TB; however, BDQ-resistant strains emerged in TB patients shortly after its launch.

In a multicenter study involving the Leibniz Science Campus EvoLUNG, the Cluster of Excellence "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI), and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), experimental work in combination with computer models was used to define resistance mechanisms to BDQ, allowing rapid diagnosis of resistance in clinical Mtbc strains e.g. by sequencing of the bacterial genome. The aim was to establish a database that can be used to interpret mutations in the genome of this pathogen and predict resistance.

In the current study, in vitro laboratory procedures and in silico computer methods were used to better understand the impact of single mutations on the development of BDQ resistance. This newly reported data was combined with an extensive literature search to create a comprehensive mutation catalogue for BDQ resistance associated mutations.

"The novel evolutionary biology approach of this work, in which M. tuberculosis strains are exposed to antibiotics over a long period of time, has proven to be an excellent method to select resistant mutants with a large phenotypic and genetic diversity," says Prof. Stefan Niemann, last author of the study, spokesperson of the Leibniz Science Campus EvoLUNG and Principal Investigator in the DZIF and Cluster of Excellence PMI.

"A surprising finding of this study was a novel resistance mechanism in which the M. tuberculosis strains showed a major rearrangement in the genome," adds Dr. Lindsay Sonnenkalb, one of the study's first authors from the Borstel Research Center, Leibniz Lung Center. "This resistance mechanism has not been described before and could also occur in clinical M. tuberculosis strains."

The methods presented are currently being used in various international collaborative projects to determine resistance mechanisms to new antibiotic agents before they enter use. These data should enable the establishment of diagnostic procedures prior to first widespread use of the new drug.

The work of Dr. Sonnenkalb and colleagues were supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Leibniz Science Campus - Evolutionary Medicine of the Lung (EvoLUNG), the DFG Cluster of Excellence "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" (PMI), the DFG Graduate School "Translational Evolutionary Research“ and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).


Bedaquiline Resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: an in vitro and in silico data analysis, Sonnenkalb et al., The Lancet Microbe (March 29, 2023); DOI: 10.1016/S2666-5247(23)00002-2


Prof. Dr. Stefan Niemann,
Forschungszentrum Borstel, Leibniz Lungenzentrum
Telefon: +49 4537 188 7620
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prof. Uta Jappe ist Botschafterin des diesjährigen EACCI-Kongresses

Am 11.-13. Juni findet im Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) der jährliche Kongress der European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) statt. Insgesamt werden zu dieser hybriden Veranstaltung etwa 8.000 Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer erwartet. Damit handelt es sich um den größten weltweiten Kongress auf dem Gebiet der Allergologie und klinischen Immunologie. Unter dem Motto „Pathways from precision medicine to personalized care“ (Wege von der Präzisionsmedizin zur persönlichen Versorgung) diskutieren führende Expertinnen und Experten über individuell zugeschnittene Gesundheitslösungen, um die Lebensumstände der Patientinnen und Patienten zu verbessern.


Indischer Tuberkulosepreis an Prof. Christoph Lange verliehen

Anlässlich des diesjährigen Welttuberkulose-Tages am 24.03.2023 wurde Professor Christoph Lange, Medizinischer Direktor am Forschungszentrum Borstel, Leibniz Lungenzentrum für seine Arbeit zur multiresistenten Tuberkulose mit dem Hinduja Hospital Tuberculosis Oration Award in Mumbai ausgezeichnet. Er ist der dritte internationale Preisträger, der diesem Award erhalten hat. Zuvor ging die Auszeichnung an Professor Paul Farmer (Harvard University, Boston, USA) und Professor Madhuka Pai (McGill University, Montreal, Kanada).

Tuberkulose stellt für das indische Gesundheitssystem eine große Herausforderung dar: Denn mehr als ein Viertel aller Menschen, die aktuell an einer Tuberkulose erkranken, leben in Indien. Metropolen, wie Mumbai (ehem. Bombay) sind Hotspots für diese Erkrankung. Hier ist auch das Problem von Antibiotika-resistenter Tuberkulose besonders gravierend. Um die Heilungschancen von Patientinnen und Patienten, die an einer Antibiotika-resistenten Tuberkulose erkrankt sind zu verbessern, sind innovative Behandlungsstrategien gefragt. Auf diesem Gebiet ist das Forschungszentrum Borstel, Leibniz Lungenzentrum spezialisiert und weit über die Grenzen Deutschlands bekannt.

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu dieser Auszeichnung!