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Junior Research Groups

Junior Research Groups were set up for the first time at the Robert Koch Institute in 1999. They are oriented towards the research tasks of the Institute. For the Robert Koch Institute they represent a possibility to react flexibly to current topics. With the Junior Research Groups additional prerequisites have been created for the employment of PhD students at the Robert Koch Institute. They also offer young scientists an opportunity to set up their own working groups.

The Junior Research Groups are to cooperate in their scientific work with the Departments and Project Groups at the Robert Koch Institute. The topics of the Groups established so far have been selected accordingly. The research activities are subject to internal control by the Research Council of the Robert Koch Institute and the topics are defined in coordination with the Scientific Advisory Board of the Robert Koch Institute.

At present there are two Junior Research Groups. They are headed by a scientist in charge and elect a new spokesperson every year. The projects are limited to a period of five years.

JRG 1: Microbial Genomics

Prevalence of ESBL in the E.coli population based on the data of 7766 strains from different epidemiological background. Source: RKI and Prof. Dr. Christa EwersAt the research group „Microbial Genomics“ we focus on the mechanisms of the evolution and spread of bacterial pathogens in humans as well as in animals. Most methods that we use are genomic approaches that are combined with phenotypic analyses to understand the virulence, transmission and host-interactions of the bacteria. An important theme of our research activities is the understanding of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) which is one of the most essential evolutionary forces in the development of the bacteria in the presence.

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JRG 2: Metabolism of Microbial Pathogens

Toxoplasma gondii. Source: RKIOur research aims to provide a metabolomics platform for accelerated development of new chemotherapies against zoonotic infections. Further, we develop an imaging based platform to study physiology on single cell level that should aid characterization of small and complex pathogen subpopulations and inform future research strategies for other persisting zoonotic infections. As proof-of-concept we target chronic T. gondii infections with the goal to interrupt foodborne transmission.

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