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Project Groups

In line with the 1997 recommendations of the German Science Council a flexible Project Group structure was established within RKI. Its goal is a targeted focusing of research on selected areas, regardless of other acute research requirements. The topics covered include interdisciplinary issues which have a medium and long-term impact on the health protection of the population. The activities of the Project Groups are linked to the research in the different departments.

P 1: Science Communication

Three crumpled yellow papers on green surface surrounded by yellow lined papers. Source: © Volodymyr Hryshchenko on UnsplashThe coronavirus pandemic has shown how difficult it is to communi­cate the facts, risks and un­cer­tain­ties around health topics effec­tively and with trans­parence. In the Science Commu­ni­cation project group we work with research results and information out of the Robert Koch Institute in order to present them in an appropriate manner to various target groups. To this end, we use methods from empirical cognitive and be­havioural sciences, such as the develop­ment and testing of various communi­cation formats and media.
The Museum at the Robert Koch Institute is part of our project group

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P 2: Acinetobacter baumannii – Biology of a Nosocomial Pathogen

Eine Kolonie von Acinetobacter baumannii, die sich über die Oberfläche eines Nährbodens ausbreitet. Quelle: RKIAcinetobacter baumannii and related species such as A. pittii and A. nosocomialis are Gram-negative bacteria that appear as opportunistic pathogens in hospitals where they constitute a serious threat especially to immuno-compromised patients. They can cause ventilator-associated pneumonia, infections of wounds, soft-tissue and the urinary tract as well as sepsis and meningitis. Increasingly, they appear as multi-drug resistant pathogens, restricting therapeutic options more and more.

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P 3: Epidemiology of Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms

Ebola virus disease (EVD) also threatens the survival of African great apes. Source: RKIAmong the pathogens causing infectious diseases in humans, those originating from animals (so-called zoonoses) are exceptionally important in terms of their number and pathogenicity.They can represent a serious threat to public health. Our group combines different approaches to investigate the sources and reservoirs of such zoonotic microorganisms, mechanisms of their transmission to humans and their evolutionary pathways.We hereby focus mainly on sub-Saharan Africa, which bears a disproportionately high burden of morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases and is a hotspot for zoonotic disease emergence.

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P 4: Computational Epidemiology

Screen of the interactive tool to model the relative import risk of ebola virus disease. © Prof. Brockmann / Robert Koch Institute; Humboldt University BerlinUsing computational, theoretical and data-driven techniques from physics, computer science, dynamical systems theory, complex networks theory and complexity science we develop computational and theoretical models to improve our understanding of the dynamics, proliferation and evolution of infectious diseases. These models are designed to advance our understanding of basic mechanism and observed phenomena on a fundamental level. Based on mechanistic, data-driven models we design and build large scale computational models and forecast infrastructures that serve as predictive tools in the context of emergent outbreak scenarios.

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