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News categories: Honors & Funding

Bacterial kidney infections in the focus of a new research group

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funding of the new research unit “FOR 5427: Bacterial Renal InfeCtion And Defense (BARICADE)”

Infections of the kidney occur very frequently in the population and can have life-threatening consequences under certain circumstances. In order to better understand these bacterial infections at the molecular level, the German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding an interdisciplinary research group over the next four years. The spokesperson is Prof. Dr. Florian Wagenlehner, urologist at the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU). The project "Bacterial renal infections and their defense (BARICADE)" deals with bacterial virulence factors, host characteristics, especially the tissue-specific microenvironment and the innate immune response, as well as aspects of anti-bacterial therapy. The JLU, ImmunoSensation2 members at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster collaborate in this group.

The urinary tract is frequently affected by bacterial infections, which not infrequently spread to the kidneys. Because of a variety of factors that reduce therapeutic success, this can have serious consequences. To make progress in this area and pave the way for new treatment strategies, the project is taking an interdisciplinary approach. "Our consortium consists of proven experts from various disciplines," explains Prof. Wagenlehner. His colleagues come from the fields of urology, nephrology (kidney medicine), microbiology and immunology and have joined forces to address important open questions together and with state-of-the-art technologies. The combination of different innovative approaches from the sub-disciplines creates added value for all individual projects by enabling them to answer questions that go beyond their own scope of research.

New methods for research into urinary tract infections

At the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Experimental Immunology (IMMEI) of the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), Dr. Selina Jorch aims to better understand the dynamics of the immune system in the context of human diseases. To better study the movement and function of individual immune cells in the kidney over time, Jorch uses a special microscopy technique: "With 2-photon microscopy, we can now directly observe how a special type of white blood cell called monocytes react to invading germs," says Jorch.

Also at IMMEI, Prof. Christian Kurts, PhD, focuses on the role of metabolism on infection. "We are interested in the influence of our high-salt and high-fat Western diet on our body's immune defenses against bacterial infection, " explains Prof. Kurts.

Prof. Dr. Sibylle von Vietinghoff is investigating the role and regulation of immune cells in the kidney in nephrology at the UKB's Medical Clinic I. "We want to investigate how modern diabetes drugs, which act on the kidney's sugar excretion, alter the ability of bacteria to attack the kidneys," explains Prof. von Vietinghoff.

Further information:

Press contact:

Dr. Inka Väth
Medical Editor
Communications and Media Office at Bonn University Hospital
Phone: +49 228 287-10596

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