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News from the Institute for Lung Research


New Insights into the Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance in Lung Infections

Photo: private

The combat of the increasing health threat of multi-drug resistance in clinically relevant bacteria is of uttermost importance in clinical research. Marie Burt, who is pursuing her doctoral thesis in the young investigator group of Dr. Anna Lena Jung, together with colleagues from the research cluster Diffusible signals elucidated the role of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) from Klebsiella pneumoniae in modulating bacterial stress responses, thereby shedding light on the interplay between OMVs and antibiotic resistance.
Through in vitro-, ex vivo- and in vivo-experiments, she showed that OMVs provide enhanced protection against polymyxins, a drug of last resort. These exciting findings have direct implications for the treatment of pneumonia and enable the development of novel therapeutic strategies against multidrug-resistant pathogens. They were published in the Journal of extracellular vesicles.

Carol Basbaum Award for Mareike Lehmann

Photo: private

The Assembly on Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (RCMB) of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) has honored Mareike Lehmann for her outstanding scientific achievements and her leadership potential. In particular, she receives the award for her research on the mechanisms of cellular aging in chronic lung diseases.


The Carol Basbaum Award is aimed at young scientists with outstanding scientific achievements, mentorship and leadership potential in the field of cell and molecular biology of the respiratory tract. It was established in memory of Dr. Carol B. Basbaum, a brilliant scientist with an international reputation in the field of airway biology and inflammation. Dr. Basbaum died in 2005 at the height of her career. She was the first to describe the plasticity of airway epithelial cells and the role of several new molecules in the lung.

Congratulation! - Two Members of Our Lab Are Funded by the Von Behring-Roentgen-Stiftung

Photo: Christian Stein

The Von Behring-Röntgen-Stiftung promotes research in the broad spectrum of medical sciences at the Philipps-Universität Marburg and the Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen by financially supporting research projects and symposia and by grants and awards for outstanding researchers and projects. Starting in January 2024, six outstanding research projects from young researchers will be supported with 1 million Euro.

Two of these six researchers are members of the Institute for Lung Research! We congratulate Prof. Dr. Mareike Lehmann from the Lung Inflammaging Lab and Dr. Anna Lena Lung from the Young Researcher Group!

As part of the funded project, Mareike Lehmann will be focusing on the role of extracellular vesicles in the accompanying symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an age-related, progressive lung disease with a fatal course. She is particularly interested in the influence of these vesicles on ageing processes in the heart.

Anna Lena Jung will decipher the antibiotic resistance of Klebsiella pneumoniae, a hospital germ that can cause severe pneumonia. Here, she is focusing on the role of outer membrane vesicles, small vesicles that are released under the influence of antibiotics. Her results will add to the development of new therapeutic approaches against the increasing antibiotic resistance of K. pneumoniae and to the improvement of our understanding of how the disease is triggered.


How the Lung Fights against Bacterial Attack

Fig.: B. Klabunde

Infections of the lower respiratory tract caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) are a leading cause of death worldwide. Dr. Björn Klabunde, who pursued his doctoral thesis in the laboratory of Prof. Schmeck, discovered a new salvage pathway in Spn infections. Together with colleagues from the research cluster Diffusible signals, he investigated the bronchial epithelial cellular response to Spn infection on the transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolic level. 

He found the NAD+ salvage pathway to be dysregulated upon infection in a cell line model, in primary human lung tissue, and in vivo in rodents, leading to a reduced production of NAD+. Knockdown of NAD+ salvage enzymes (NAMPT, NMNAT1) increased bacterial replication. NAD+ treatment of Spn inhibited its growth while growth of other respiratory pathogens improved. Boosting NAD+ production increased NAD+ levels in immortalized and primary cells and decreased bacterial replication upon infection. NAD+ treatment of Spn dysregulated the bacterial metabolism and reduced intrabacterial ATP. Enhancing the bacterial ATP metabolism abolished the antibacterial effect of NAD+. 

These exciting findings of the NAD+ salvage pathway acting as an antibacterial pathway in Spn infections and the prediction of NAD+ as an antibacterial mechanism were published in Nature Communications.


ECM Award for Mareike Lehmann

Foto: Jürgen Laackmann

Prof. Dr. Mareike Lehmann, Professor for Translational Inflammation Research at the Institute for Lung Research, will be awarded the Early Career Member Award (ECM Award) of the European Respiratory Society (ERS). She was chosen for her pionieering work on cellular aging phenotypes in chronic lung diseases, including Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and Chronic Obstractive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The ECM Award, which is intended to honour a promising early-career member of ERS based on potential for future scientific contribution as well as past and current engagement in the ERS, will be presented at the Annual International Congress 2023 of the ERS in Milan, Italy in September.

The ERS is one of the leading medical organisations in the respiratory field, with a growing membership spanning over 160 countries. The ERS prioritises science, education, and advocacy in order to promote lung health, alleviate suffering from disease, and drive standards for respiratory medicine globally. Further information can be found in die video about COPD at the ERS - RESPIRATORY channel and  in the university's press release.