Phage diversity for research and application

PI: Dr. Christine Rohde, Dr. Johannes Wittmann

The occurrence of multiple antibiotic resistant and even pan-resistant bacteria has dramatically risen and developed to one of the most serious global public health concerns, particularly in human and veterinary medicine. Due to their abundance and opportunistic pathogenicity, bacterial species like Acinetobacter baumanniiPseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus, among others, have become a dangerous threat especially for hospitalized or chronically infected patients and alternatives to antibiotics are urgently needed to overcome severe infections. Bacteriophages (short: phages) are one if not the most promising of those alternatives. Phages have been successfully used to fight bacterial infections in Eastern Europe for decades with convincing results. To foster the re-introduction of phage therapy in Germany and more generally, in the West, the DSMZ phage group – together with clinical partners and the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine in Braunschweig and Hannover- is currently involved in different research projects and studies dealing with the implementation of phages for application in human medicine, see below. Main tasks in those projects include 1., provision of phages from the open DSMZ collection and isolating new phages for the goals of the projects to expand the panels of species-specific phage diversity. We aim at collecting such phage diversity per bacterial species for obtaining finally broad strain coverages. 2., investigation of different aspects of phage biology including host spectra, phage efficiency parameters, phage morphology, phage genomics etc. 

Current research projects