Our Research Centers

Scientists in 18 Helmholtz Centers work on a wide range of topics, such as A for astrophysics, B for biology, C for cell research, and so on. Almost 42,000 staff use the most modern scientific infrastructure, including, in particular, large-scale facilities and instrumentation, which are also open to use by members of the international scientific community. Working on behalf of the state, Helmholtz scientists pursue an ambitious goal: To make an essential contribution to solving the grand challenges which society faces.

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)

Understanding infections - stopping infections

The interactions between bacterial pathogens and their hosts, on the one hand, and strategies on the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of infectious diseases, on the other, are the topics around which the work done by the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig revolves.

About one-fifth of all deaths worldwide can be attributed to infectious diseases, and respective problems concerning abatement are now bigger than ever.  Neither operative protective vaccinations nor effective treatments exist for many of these diseases.

Moreover, increasingly occurring antibiotic resistances, unburdened modes of transition for pathogens due to our high mobility, climate change, as well as an increasingly-old population promote the spread of infections. As a consequence of this, there are more and more epidemics every year, such as Ebola in 2014/2015 and the flu epidemic which took place this year. Unknown diseases as well are appearing more often – such as SARS, avian-flu of swine-flu – which all present great challenges to scientists and medical professionals.  

Therefore, new active ingredients and preventive drugs are needed urgently in order to tackle infectious diseases over the long-term.  


At the Helmholtz Centre responsible for infection research, the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and its 1000 or so staff study the following questions:

  • How do bacteria and viruses trigger diseases?
  • How do pathogens adapt to their hosts?  
  • How does an individual’s immune system react to pathogens?
  • Why are some human beings particulary sensitive and others particulary resistant vis-à-vis infections? 
  • How can we interrupt infection processes, thereby hindering or healing diseases?   

Answers to these questions will play a part in successfully combating bacteria and viruses with new drugs and vaccines.

Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)


    • Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
    • Inhoffenstraße 7
      38124 Braunschweig
    • +49 531 6181-0
    • +49 531 6181-2655
    • info(at)helmholtz-hzi.de
    • http://www.helmholtz-hzi.de
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Helmholtz annual report 2020

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