Jump to contentJump to search

AG Finzer

The human organism is colonised by fungi, bacteria and viruses, the so-called human microbiome. This is associated with vital physiological functions, such as digestion, as well as with numerous diseases.

The human microbiome is not uniformly distributed throughout the body, but forms specific microbial communities ("microbiota") depending on the site of colonisation or anatomical niche. Our investigations focus on the microbial communities of the mouth, throat and genital tract.

Pathological changes are usually accompanied by changes in the microbiota or the colonisation pattern ("dysbiosis"). Such dysbioses are associated with numerous diseases: changes in the oral microbiome with various forms of dementia (e.g. Alzheimer's disease (AD)); changes in the genital microbiome with vaginal inflammation (e.g. bacterial vaginosis (BV) or vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC)) or inflammation of the endometrium (e.g. chronic endometritis or endometriosis).

Today, colonisation patterns can be determined using the "next-generation sequencing" (NGS) method. With this method, microorganisms can be determined taxonomically and their relative frequencies ("abundance") can be determined. However, different NGS methods are available for microbiome analysis, and their influence on the determination of dysbioses is often unclear.

The working group has therefore set itself the goal of addressing the following questions:

  1.  is there a connection between oral microbiome ("dysbiosis") and Alzheimer's disease; to this end, we are sequencing saliva samples from patients with AD and their life partners in a clinical study.
  2. is there a connection between the vaginal microbiome ("dysbiosis") and bacterial vaginosis; we are sequencing vaginal swabs from patients with BV and a healthy control group in a clinical study.
  3. Do different NGS systems or methods influence the sequencing results; for this purpose, the samples from the clinical studies will be sequenced with different NGS methods and the results will be compared (together with the Dilthey group).
  4. can interactions of bacteria found in the microbiome with human cells or cell lines be systematically investigated in the laboratory; to this end, we are establishing co-cultivation systems of bacteria and cell lines.

Team Members
1. Enid Graeber, medical doctoral student
2. Christian Weber, medical doctoral student
3. Rebecca Gulba, medical doctoral student
4. Alina Polifke, master's student, molecular biomedicine
5. Alesja Radini, master student, molecular biomedicine

Responsible for the content: