Institutional cooperation with other institutions
Here you will find a list of our institutional collaborations with other institutions in Germany and abroad.
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). BNITM, LIV and FZB complement each other thematically in an excellent way regarding research into the globally significant infectious diseases HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria and have joined forces to form the Leibniz Center Infection (LCI). The aim of the alliance is to make use of this unique collection of infection research institutes in Germany and to strengthen infection research in Hamburg and northern Germany in an interdisciplinary way, in particular by fostering this topic in the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), in the MIN Faculty of the University of Hamburg (UHH) and in various other faculties of the UHH.
The network is coordinated by a committee of the institute directors. In addition to regular consultations in the steering committee, joint retreats and methodological workshops are held every two years. All three institutions also work closely together at project level within the framework of the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF). In addition, the LCI organises an annual international symposium in the historic lecture hall of the BNITM dedicated to a current topic in infection research. A cross-institutional graduate school (Leibniz Graduate School "Infections") is also run as part of the LCI. It supports doctoral students who carry out their work in collaboration between two groups from different institutes and thus strengthen cooperation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.