Helmholtz Center for Infection Research

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Helmholtz Center for Infection Research GmbH
Helmholtz Center for Infection Research GmbH
Helmholtz Center for Infection Research
Consist: Date of foundation: 1965 as IMB (Institute for Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics) , renaming: 1968 in GMBF, 1976 in GBF, 2006 in HZI
Facility location: Braunschweig
Areas of expertise: Biological infection research, biotechnological research
Basic funding: EUR 58 million (2018)
Management: Dirk Heinz (Scientific Managing Director), Silke Tannapfel (Administrative Managing Director)
Employee: about 800
Annotation: Legal form: GmbH
Homepage: www.Helmholtz-HZI.de
Entrance to the HZI site
Interview by Holger Klein with press spokesman Manfred Braun about research at the HZI.

The Helmholtz Center for Infection Research GmbH (HZI) was established on July 18, 2006 by renaming from the Society for Biotechnological Research (GBF) and is a center for infection research in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony . It belongs to the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers , the largest non-university scientific organization in Germany.


The institute, with its headquarters in the Stöckheim district, has decades of history. Its development goes back to 1965. At that time, the forerunner of the HZI was founded in Braunschweig, the Institute for Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics (IMB). The initiator was the chemist Hans Herloff Inhoffen (1906-1992). He was supported by other well-known scientists, in particular by the Nobel laureate in chemistry, Manfred Eigen .

In 1968 an important step was taken for future development and later state support: with the help of the Volkswagen Foundation , the IMB was transformed into the Society for Molecular Biological Research (GMBF).

In 1976 the institute was renamed the Society for Biotechnological Research (GBF) and in 2006 it was given its current name. The HZI is organized in the legal form of a GmbH, shareholders are the Federal Republic of Germany (90%) and the federal states of Lower Saxony (8%), Saarland (1%) and Bavaria (1%).

Research focus

The focus of his work is on the investigation of pathogens that are medically relevant or can be used as models for researching infection mechanisms. The HZI employs around 800 people and has an annual budget of around 58 million euros (basic funding).

The HZI works closely with universities and other research institutions at home and abroad and was part of the national genome research network . Together with the Hannover Medical School , it trains young scientists to become qualified infection researchers. In November 2010, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research selected it as a partner for the German Center for Infection Research .

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic , which has been spreading since the end of 2019 , the HZI is involved, among other things, with the creation of simulation models for the possible spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in order to inform the government and others. a. to assist in finding the right level for e.g. B. to find contact restrictions or relaxations.


In addition to the headquarters in Braunschweig, the HZI has the following locations and subsidiary institutes, some of which are operated jointly with university partners:

  • BRICS - Braunschweig Integrated Center of Systems Biology, Braunschweig
  • Center for Individualized Infection Medicine (CiiM), Hanover
  • Center for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB), Hamburg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrücken
  • Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI), Würzburg
  • HZI Study Center Hanover in the Clinical Research Center (CRC) Hanover
  • TWINCORE - Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Hanover

Web links

Commons : Helmholtz Center for Infection Research  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Management - Helmholtz Center for Infection Research , accessed on July 16, 2020.
  2. ^ Resonator podcast of the Helmholtz Association : The HZI in Braunschweig (episode 11, July 26, 2013)
  3. ^ Press release from the Informationsdienst Wissenschaft idw from July 12, 2006
  4. ^ History since 2006. Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, accessed on April 27, 2020 .
  5. Epidemiologist on Corona measures "It is not clear which strategy the government is pursuing". Deutschlandfunk, April 22, 2020, accessed on April 27, 2020 (the immunologist Michael Meyer-Hermann in conversation with the science journalist Christiane Knoll ).

Coordinates: 52 ° 12 ′ 45 ″  N , 10 ° 31 ′ 56 ″  E