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Collaborative CSSB project funded by Hamburg-X

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CSSB’s collaborative project “Multiscale analysis of pathogen invasion strategies into clinically-relevant host cells” has been awarded funding from Hamburg-X supported project “Infection Research."

CSSB’s collaborative project “Multiscale analysis of pathogen invasion strategies into clinically-relevant host cells” has been awarded funding from Hamburg’s state research funding (Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg) Hamburg-X supported project “Infection Research (Hamburg Infection Control).”  This ambitious project, involving eight CSSB groups and three facilities, aims not only to investigate pathogen invasion strategies but also to increase synergies at CSSB and lay the groundwork for future cooperative initiatives.

To date, infectious diseases are responsible for about 25% of global deaths per year. Emerging infections (such as the recent Zika and SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks), persistent diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, and increasing numbers of multidrug-resistant bacteria worldwide are ongoing threats to human welfare. Their rise is boosted by rapidly growing mobility, human migration, intensified exploitation of natural resources, and global climate change. Hence, understanding the molecular mechanisms of these disease-causing pathogens - viruses, bacteria, and eukaryotic parasites - is of the utmost importance.

This project combines the strength and expertise of multiple groups at CSSB to elucidate infection processes over multiple scales and pathogen groups. The project has two pillars; one pillar is focused on viral transmission at the macrophage-endothelial interface and the other looks at erythrocytes as a natural host for the blood stage of both malaria and bacterial infections. The two pillars will be bridged by an integrative modeling project and supported by the CSSB protein production and characterization core facilities as well as the multi-user cryo-EM facility.

“Together, we will use the unique infrastructures and methodologies available at CSSB to illuminate the molecular mechanisms of pathogen invasion strategies,” explains project lead Jens Bosse “Ultimately, we hope to generate models of pathogen invasion at clinically relevant interfaces.” The project will run for a duration of three years with a total of six PhD students co-financed by CSSB group leaders. Students will belong to two CSSB groups and will be trained as interdisciplinary scholars in a supportive and collaborative environment.

“I am excited to have a project of this scope and magnitude here at CSSB,” states CSSB Scientific Director Chris Meier “I am confident that this is just the beginning of CSSB’s efforts to understand the crossroads of pathogens.”