Head: Prof. Dr. Andreas Peschel
Welcome to the Department of Infection Biology
Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of invasive bacterial infections such as skin, lung, and bloodstream infections. The spread of difficult-to-treat methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), the alarming shortage of new antibiotics, and the lack of protective vaccines represent major challenges for basic and translational research.
S. aureus can switch between two entirely different life styles, as a virtually innocuous member of the nasal microbiome or as an invasive pathogens taking advantage of breached epithelial barriers and compromised immune systems to invade sterile tissues. Very efficient ways of competing with other nasal bacteria promote the capacity of S. aureus to colonize and persist in the nasal habitat. Fast horizontal gene transfer, ongoing evolution, and effective regulatory mechanisms permit S. aureus to adapt quickly to changing environments, leading to new clonal lineages that may spread worldwide.
Our laboratory investigates the underlying mechanisms with specific focus on the roles of fitness, resistance, and virulence factors, host-interacting surface molecules, and immune-evasion strategies. Our groups participate in many international, national, and Tübingen-based research networks and collaborate with leading pharmaceutical companies to connect basic and applied research in the fields of human microbial ecology and staphylococcal infections.