Working group

Antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens (ARBPs)

Short description

Antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens (ARBPs) are a global problem. ARBPs are becoming increasingly prevalent and cause severe morbidity and mortality in industrial and developing countries alike. It is foreseeable that current, antibiotic-based regimes to treat bacterial infections will become inapplicable in the coming decades. It is inevitable to act now and to develop effective strategies to prevent infections before they occur. Simon Heilbronner’s working group focuses on the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, which causes a wide array of invasive diseases characterised by high fatality rates. Additionally, antibiotic-resistant lineages (especially MRSA) are a global threat. Importantly, one third of the human population carries S. aureus asymptomatically within the nasal cavity and this colonisation represents a major risk factor for humans to develop infection.

Partner Sites
Contact person

The overreaching aim of Simon Heilbronner's research group is to develop novel infection-prevention strategies. For this, the researchers investigate the pathogen in the context of the human host during infection as well as in the context of the human microbiota during colonisation.

Simon Heilbronner (on the left in the picture) with his research team (from left to right): Dr Anna Lange, Sharmila Sekar, Lea Adolf, Alina Bitzer, Kevser Bilici, Dr Laura Camus, Darya Belikova, Dr Jeffrey Power.

© Leon Kokkoliadis/CMFI, Uni Tübingen

The working group uses a wide array of approaches and models including Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based metagenome analysis, genetic and biochemical characterisation of virulence factors in vitro as well as in vivo during infection in animal models. Further, we use nasal colonisation models in SPF and gnotobiotic animals to investigate the impact of the human nasal microbiota on S. aureus colonisation. Gnotobionts are animals in which no or only certain known strains of microorganisms are present. They are often so-called "germ-free" animals.

Articles on the working group