Institutional cooperation with universities

[Translate to English:] Das Bild zeigt das Logo des Uniklinikums Hamburgs. Zu sehen ist ein blaues Rechteck, bei dem rechts unten die Buchstaben U und K in weiß und ein blaues E außerhalb des blauen Rechtecks stehen, sodass sich der Schriftzug UKE ergibt. Unter dem blauen Rechteck steht Hamburg.

Faculty of Medicine of Universität Hamburg / Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

The links between the Institute and the Medical Faculty of the University of Hamburg (UHH) have grown historically and are close. Since its foundation in 1920, the Medical Faculty of the UHH has dedicated a chair to tropical medicine; the first chair holder and Dean of the Faculty was Bernhard Nocht. Since 1993, the number of chairs in tropical medicine at the Faculty of Medicine has increased to three C4 professorships; until now, they were assigned to Parasitology, Immunology and Clinical Research. Currently, the professorship for Immunology is filled as a W3 professorship for Epidemiology through a change in denomination. In addition, two further BNITM staff members are currently non-scheduled professors and four staff members of the institute are private lecturers with courses in the Faculty of Medicine. A cooperation agreement between the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and BNITM has existed since 1998. Since 2009, BNITM has contributed two projects on liver involvement in malaria and amoebiasis to the UKE's Collaborative Research Centre Sonderforschungsbereich 841 "Liver Inflammation - Infection, Immune Regulation and Consequences".

[Translate to English:] Das Logo Uni Hamburg: Ein rotes Quadrat mit weißer Inschrift und weißem Hamburg-Wappen.

Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences (MIN) at the Universität Hamburg

The Institute's cooperation with the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences (MIN) at Universität Hamburg (UHH) has intensified fundamentally in recent years. This was urgently needed because for years over 80% of the Institute's doctoral students have been doing their doctorates in MIN subjects, predominantly biology. First of all, a new cooperation agreement was concluded with the UHH in 2014. Another special milestone in 2014 was the joint establishment and endowment of a W3 professorship in "Cellular Parasitology" (Gilberger), which links the BNITM and the MIN faculty and also forms a bridge for both institutions to the "Centre for Structural Systems Biology" (CSSB) at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY). Furthermore, the now extremely close cooperation continued in 2015/2016 with the filling of the W2 professorships for Arbovirology (Schmidt Chanasit) and Medical Entomology (Schnettler).

In any case, one BNITM staff member is an associate professor (Prof. Dr. I. Bruchhaus) and two BNITM staff members are private lecturers at the MIN Faculty of the UHH. A large part of the teaching in cell and molecular biology of the Master's programme in Biology is held in courses and modules lasting several weeks at the BNITM.

[Translate to English:] test

University of Erfurt

Since 2021, the BNITM has been cooperating with the University of Erfurt, a reform university with a sometimes unusual teaching and research profile, which has focused on interdisciplinarity from the very beginning and is now taking on the major social challenges of our time: Research groups from healthcare communication, social, organizational and economic psychology, educational research, empirical social research and communication science are working on the issue of how scientific knowledge can be put into practice to combat diseases in the best possible way. The University of Erfurt and the BNITM see considerable potential for a joint research focus, particularly in the area of implementation research and healthcare communication. Thus, since autumn 2021 Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch, a graduate psychologist from Erfurt and appointed Best Minds Professor, has been head of BNITM’s working group of Health Communication within the division Implementation Research. Her group contemplates on issues relative to infection control from the perspective of psychology, as well as on the connection between health and climate protection, especially in resource-poor countries.

[Translate to English:] Das Logo der KNUST: Insgesamt sieht man sechs Elemente: einen Banner, einen goldenen Stuhl, einen Adler mit ausgebreiteten Flügeln, grüne Blätter, einen Messschieber und eine Feuerschale. Unten steht auf einem Banner der Slogan Nyansapo wosane no badwenma (eng. The knot of Wisdom is untied only by the wise). Darüber ist der goldene Stuhl zu sehen, auf dem ein goldener Adler mit ausgebreiteten Flügeln sitzt. Hinter den Flügeln des Adlers ranken sich grüne Blätter. Umrandet werden die Blätter von dem antiken Messchieber, der von oben bis zum Stuhl greift. An der Spitze des Messschiebers ist ein schwarzer Feuertopf zu sehen, aus dem ein rotes Feuer empor steigt.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana

Since 1997 BNITM has been running the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR), a research and training centre on the KNUST campus, together with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, and the Ghanaian Ministry of Health (MoH). The basis is a state treaty between the Republic of Ghana and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The University Hospital in Kumasi (Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital) is an important independent research partner of BNITM for clinical trials.


[Translate to English:] Das Logo der Leibniz Gemeinschaft mit der Original-Unterschrift von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

The Leibniz Association

The Bernhard Nocht Institute is member of the Leibniz Association. The Leibniz Association brings together 93 independent research institutions. Their focus ranges from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences to economics, spatial and social sciences and the humanities. Leibniz institutes are dedicated to socially, economically and ecologically relevant issues. They conduct knowledge- and application-oriented research, also in the overarching Leibniz Research Associations, are or maintain scientific infrastructures and offer research-based services. The Leibniz Association focuses on knowledge transfer, especially with the Leibniz Research Museums. It advises and informs politics, science, industry and the public. Leibniz institutions maintain close cooperation with universities - including in the form of the Leibniz Science Campuses, with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to a transparent and independent review process. Due to their national importance, the Federal Government and the Länder jointly fund the institutes of the Leibniz Association. The Leibniz Institutes employ around 18,700 people, including 9,500 scientists. The total budget of the institutes is more than 1.8 billion euros.


[Translate to English:] Logo DZIF

German Centre for Infection Research

The BNITM coordinates the work of the Hamburg-Lübeck-Borstel-Riems site in the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF). The overarching goal of the DZIF is translation, i.e. to transfer results from basic research as purposefully as possible into clinical application. In addition to the BNITM, the University of Hamburg, the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, the University of Lübeck, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, the Heinrich Pette Institute and the Research Centre Borstel are involved at the site. These seven university and non-university institutions conduct research particularly in the field of global and emerging infections.

The scientific work in the DZIF is thematically focused: Scientists who specialise in researching a pathogen or a methodology work together in their areas of expertise. The Hamburg-Lübeck-Borstel-Riems site is structurally represented in the topics "Emerging Infectious Diseases", "Malaria", "HIV", "Tuberculosis", "New Antibiotics" and "African Partner Institutions". In addition, projects are carried out on these topics as well as on "Infections in the immunocompromised host", "Hepatitis", "Hospital germs and antibiotic-resistant bacteria" and "New antiviral substances".

[Translate to English:] Logo LCI

Leibniz Center Infection (LCI)

BNITM's natural partners for intensive cooperation in infection research are the two other Leibniz Institutes in the Hamburg area that focus on infection biology, the Leibniz Institute for Virology (LIV) and the Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center (FZB). The three institutes complement each other thematically in an outstanding way in the research of the most important infectious diseases worldwide and have joined forces to form the Leibniz Center Infection (LCI). A collegium consisting of the leading scientists of the institutes steers the LCI.

In addition to regular consultations, the LCI jointly organises international symposia and promotes inter-institute research collaborations, which have already led to a number of joint publications. The BNITM has also initiated a Leibniz Graduate School "Infections", which is jointly designed by the three Leibniz Institutes. Six LCI fellows and other doctoral students from the three institutes are taking part in the three-year doctoral programme. In addition, all three LCI institutes are represented in the Leibniz research network "INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World - Humans, Animals, Environments". Together with other Leibniz institutes and other partners, this network aims to establish an interdisciplinary research agenda and opens up new avenues of communication across disciplines. New strategies and methods for early warning and outbreak management systems will be developed to control spread of pathogens.

[Translate to English:] Logo CSSB

Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB)

The CSSB is dedicated to infection biology and medicine using structural and molecular biology methods and imaging techniques together with systems biology approaches. Our goal is to unravel the underlying mechanisms of important pathogenic processes in order to find better treatments against bacterial and viral pathogens. For this purpose, we use the worldwide unique research infrastructures on the DESY campus. The CSSB is a joint initiative of nine North German research partners, namely three universities and six research institutions. Our ambition is to establish a leading international research centre in the metropolis of Hamburg.

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Leibniz-Research Networks

The BNITM has joined two interdisciplinary research associations of the Leibniz Association. Since 1 January 2013, the Institute has been a partner in the Leibniz Research Network (LFV) on Active Substances and Biotechnology. Together with 17 Leibniz institutes, this association bundles broad-based research on molecules with biological effects. Membership is particularly relevant for the research activities of the Clos working group. The BNITM is also a founding member of the "INFECTIONS“ research network, which was contractually agreed in December 2015. The aim is to develop new strategies and methods for early warning systems, improved management of outbreaks and optimised containment of pathogen spread through interdisciplinary research and communication. The overarching task of the network is also to develop a successful interdisciplinary communication and cooperation structure as a pilot project. For this purpose, an accompanying external success monitoring takes place, which is financed by the Leibniz Strategy Fund.

Institutional cooperation with other institutions

Cooperations in Germany

[Translate to English:] Logo des Robert-Koch-Instituts: Oben steht der Schriftzug Robert Koch Institut in blau. Darunter, im rechten Teil des Logos schlängeln sich zwei Linien umeinander, ähnlich eines beispielhaften DNA-Strange, wobei ein Teil der DNA in dunklem Blau unterlegt ist.

Robert Koch Institute

In 2009, a cooperation agreement was signed to coordinate care services - on the part of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for national diseases, and on the part of the BNITM for infections in other parts of the world. BNITM staff regularly work on imported or unusual cases of disease together with colleagues from the RKI and publish particularly interesting cases. Examples were a cryptosporidia outbreak in Halle and imported dengue and Zika cases. Since 2015, the cooperation has also involved in particular the training of RKI staff in the work in high-security laboratories at BNITM. Also since 2015, BNITM and RKI as well as the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have been working closely together within the framework of the Global Health Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health in projects on epidemiological training, organisation of mobile diagnostic laboratories as well as in an expert group ("Rapidly deployable expert group in the event of health hazards"), which is to travel immediately to affected countries in the event of outbreaks to provide advice.

[Translate to English:] Logo Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Hamburg: zu sehen ist ein Wappen, dass diagonal mit einem roten Streifen durchsetzt ist. Oben links sieht man einen schwarzen Äskulapstab vor schwarzem Bundeswehrkreuz. Auf dem roten, diagonalem Streifen das Stadtwappen Hamburgs, drei antike Türmer auf einer antiken Stadtmauer mit Tor. Unten rechts sieht man ein drittes Logo, das sich auf einem blau-lila Hintergrund absetzt. Zu sehen ist ein Hut, der auf einem Wanderstock und einer Reisetasche gestapelt ist. Der Hut und der Wanderstock sind mit einer grünen Linie umrandet.

Bundeswehr Hospital Hamburg

The Department of Tropical Medicine of the Bundeswehr Hospital Hamburg (FbTropMed) has been cooperating with the BNITM and the Center of Tropical Medicine (Bernhard-Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine together with the 1st Department of Medicine at the University Hospital Eppendorf) since 2006. More than a dozen medical officers work in the clinical care of inpatients and outpatients as well as in joint research projects. In doing so, specialist staff from the Bundeswehr Medical Service can keep in practice for worldwide deployments, receive formation and advanced training and acquire the necessary professional expertise in the field of tropical and infectious medicine. The cooperation is very benificiary for both, BNITM and FbTropMed. For example until today more than 100 joint publications have been published. In the fight against the Ebola epidemic in 2015, cooperation was likewise effective.

Cooperation in Afrika

The Institute maintains numerous national and international cooperations. This includes institutional cooperation with universities and other research institutions in Africa. Our research should exclusively serve humane and peaceful purposes. Therefore, we safeguard ourselves against the misuse of our research. In addition, we fully respect the rights of countries and patients to their biological resources. We avoid or minimise the negative effects of our research on people, society and the environment. Our activities are committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

[Translate to English:] Das rechteckige Logo des KCCR setzt sich zusammen aus roten und schwarzen Rauten. Sie sind angeordnet wie Blätter und Streben nach oben.

Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, Kumasi, Ghana

The Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) was founded in 1997 as a joint venture between the Ghanaian Ministry of Health (MoH), the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, and the BNITM. On the basis of a state treaty between the Republic of Ghana and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The modern research and training centre on the KNUST campus was built with funds provided by the Volkswagen Foundation, by state institutions and the Association of Friends of the Tropical Institute Hamburg e.V.. The KCCR considers itself as an international platform for biomedical research. It is open to researchers from national and international institutions.

The close cooperation between the KCCR and the BNITM has already achieved great success in terms of  basic and applied research on tropical diseases. Another aim of the cooperation is to support the next generation of scientists: this will contribute to improve scientific and technical resources in disease control and to promote multinational scientific cooperation in the diagnosis, treatment and management of tropical diseases.In November 2022, the KCCR celebrated its 25th anniversary with a great ceremony.

You can find a detailed portrait of the institute here.

[Translate to English:] Logo Antananaviro

Université d‘Antananarivo, Madagascar

The BNITM has been cooperating with the University of Antananarivo since 2009. The cooperation traces back to an initiative of the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine there, Prof. Raphael Rakotozandrindrainy. He was a guest scientist at the BNITM for five weeks in summer 2009, at the invitation of Prof. Fleischer. Since the kick-off of the first project in April 2010, mainly epidemiological studies on malaria, chikungunya and dengue fever, rickettsial infections, staphylococcal infections and schistosomiasis have been conducted, and the implementation of a multicentre study on sepsis in children in Madagascar has been initiated and supported. In addition to scientifically motivated field studies, the establishment of a laboratory infrastructure and the training of Malagasy scientists were of particular importance.

The cooperation agreement for the next phase (three years) was signed on 27 February 2019 by the President of the Université d'Antananarivo, Prof. Panja Ramanoelina, and Prof. Jürgen May from BNITM.

[Translate to English:] Logo Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH): zu sehen ist ein rundes Logo, mit einem äußeren, blauen Ring mit weißer Schrift Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital. Unten setzt sich ein kleiner Teil in gelb mit brauner Schrift Irrua ab. Der innere Kreis ist in grün gehalten, in der Mitte ist ein äkulapstab, links ein Wurm der aus dem Boden ragt, links liegt eine umgekippte Mülltonne mit gelben Boden.

Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Irrua, Nigeria

Prior to the recent Ebola outbreak, the work of the Virology Department focused on Lassa virus and Lassa fever investigations. As the KCCR in Ghana is located outside the endemic area for Lassa fever, the department established an intensive cooperation with the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) in Irrua, Nigeria, where numerous patients with Lassa fever are treated. On the basis of a cooperation agreement, a laboratory for molecular Lassa virus diagnostics was established in 2008. Since then, more than 1,000 patient samples are tested every year, of which about 10% are positive for Lassa virus. A new laboratory wing was built in 2014 and equipped with modern equipment for conducting research projects on the pathogenesis and immunology of Lassa fever. Staff members of the Virology Department are on site at least twice a year to introduce new methods, carry out projects and train local staff. The activities in Nigeria are supported by the German Foreign Office, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the European Union.

[Translate to English:] Logo Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (cermel): Links ist ein grüner Punkt mit einem, ebenfalls in Grün gehaltenem C drumherum. Daneben steht der Schriftzug cermel in grau.

Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné, Gabon

The Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) in Gabon has been a long-standing cooperation partner of BNITM since 2018. It is an independent research institution with research priorities in malaria research, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and worm infections (filarial research). Since the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19 research has also been a focus of the African partner.

Since 2021 Prof. Ghyslain Mombo-Ngoma has been head of the Drug Implementation working group at BNITM. Previously, Prof Mombo-Ngoma led the Clinical Operations Unit at CERMEL; a role he continues to hold. In this institutional dual affiliation he is an important partner for upcoming research activities and strengthens not only the field of implementation research at BNITM, but also the links between BNITM and CERMEL.

Cooperations in South America

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The BNITM has been working with the Brazilian Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ) for decades. In the 1970s, BNITM installed electron microscopy at the FIOCRUZ Institute in Rio de Janeiro and trained staff. In 2011, the most recent cooperation agreement was signed, which was recently renewed. Currently, the cooperation is focusing on establishing surveillance of mosquitoes in the greater Rio de Janeiro area in line with the CuliMo programme in Germany.

Fundação de Medicina Tropical Dr. Heitor Dourado Vieira (FMT-HDV), Manaus, Brazil

With the slow but steady decline in the worldwide prevalence of falciparum malaria, vivax malaria is increasingly attracting the interest of scientists. Since the pathogen Plasmodium vivax, in contrast to P. falciparum, cannot be cultivated in vitro, a close connection with a research institute in one of the endemic areas is indispensable for its research. Since P. vivax does not occur at the KCCR site, as it does in all of West Africa, a cooperation agreement was concluded in 2012 with the Tropical Institute of Manaus, which is located in the middle of a large endemic area of P. vivax. After an initial project on the genetic characterisation of clinical P. vivax isolates, however, the cooperation agreement was not initially brought to life. However, it offers the possibility of resuming corresponding collaborations at any time.

Cooperation in Europe

National Institute of Public Health und University of "Hasan Prishtina", Kosovo

Kosovo is one of the European endemic areas of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF). Since 2008, the Department of Virology has been working closely with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Prishtina and the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) to support diagnostic detection methods for CCHFV. The cooperation was intensified through the funding of a project by the Federal Foreign Office in 2013 and formalised through the conclusion of cooperation agreements. Using patient samples from Kosovo, molecular and serological diagnostic detection methods are being developed at the BNITM. The Kosovar partner institutions are very interested in using the tests developed by the BNITM because, unlike commercial tests, they also show antibodies of animal origin. Since CCHF is not only transmitted via vectors (ticks), but also through contact with the blood of infected animals (e.g. cows, sheep, goats), there is great interest in Kosovo in also using the tests to assess the risk of infection when handling and slaughtering livestock.

Cooperation in Asia

Vietnamese Military Medical University (VMMU), Hanoi, Vietnam

In 2015, a delegation from the Vietnamese Military Medical University (VMMU) in Hanoi visited the BNITM and offered to cooperate in the diagnosis of unclear meningoencephalitides and in the search for novel infectious agents. The background was apparently the Ebola epidemic that had broken out in West Africa the year before and in which the BNITM had been heavily involved in diagnostics. As the institute had previously had very good experience in cooperating with the University of Hue in Vietnam, it accepted the offer and signed an initial cooperation agreement.