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Prof. Dr.

Lothar Heinz Wieler

Year of election: 2010
Section: Veterinary Medicine
City: Berlin
Country: Germany
CV Lothar H. Wieler - Deutsch (PDf)
CV Lothar H. Wieler - Englisch (PDF)

Research

Main areas of research: animal diseases, zoonoses, epidemiology of multi-resistant bacteria

Lothar Heinz Wieler is a veterinarian and microbiologist. His research focuses on epizootic diseases and infectious diseases which can be transmitted between animals and humans, so-called zoonoses. He particularly concentrates on infections involving multi-resistant bacteria and investigates their transmission mechanisms and disease-causing factors.

Zoonoses are caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses. The pathogens can be transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes, but also by milk, eggs, meat or other food items. Known zoonoses are borreliosis and early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), both transmitted by ticks. But rabies, enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), BSE and Ebola fever also belong to this group. The Ebola virus can, for example, be transmitted by infected flying foxes – infections in animals and humans are closely related. Due to population growth and human mobility, zoonoses spread faster and faster and pathogens are introduced and transmitted before antibodies can be produced. Research into zoonoses is therefore becoming increasingly important.

With his work, Lothar Wieler hopes to clarify how bacterial pathogens infect different hosts. Molecular classification methods are used to identify the zoonotic pathogens within a bacterial species and decode their genesis and relationships. DNA sequence analyses, in vitro methods and animal models within the natural hosts (chicken, pig) are used to identify the bacterial factors (adhesins, invasins, toxins, modulins) that cause a successful infection in the respective host. The aim is to detect potential outbreaks of zoonotic diseases more quickly and to develop prophylactic intervention strategies.

A central challenge for Lothar Wieler and his colleagues is the increasing resistance of pathogens. Bacteria no longer react to antibiotics, viruses no longer to antivirals – pathogens are constantly developing new mechanisms of resistance. In order to recognize and understand these processes, pathogens are cultured and genetically modified. Subsequently, it will be investigated how pathogens and medication multiply and behave in the natural host (chicken, pig).

Career

  • since 2015 President, Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin, Germany
  • 2012 Research residency, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, GB
  • 1998-2015 University Professor of Microbiology and Epizootic Diseases, Managing Director Department of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Freie Universität (FU) Berlin, Germany
  • 1997 Certified veterinary specialist for Microbiology
  • 1996 Habilitation in the field of Infectious Diseases and Animal Hygiene, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University Gießen, Germany
  • 1996 Research residency, NIH scholarship, Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA
  • 1990-1998 Scientific assistant, Institute for Hygiene and Infectious Diseases of Animals, Justus Liebig University Gießen, Germany
  • 1988 Doctorate, Institute for Hygiene, Medical Microbiology and Epidemiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich, Germany
  • 1987-1990 Scientific assistant, Department of Pathology, University of Ulm, Germany
  • 1982-1985 Study of Veterinary Medicine, FU Berlin and LMU Munich, Germany

Functions

  • since 2018 Member, Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards (STAG-IH), World Health Organization (WHO)
  • since 2018 Member, European Advisory Committee on Health Research, EACHR, WHO Regional Office Europe
  • since 2017 Member, Executive Board, International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI)
  • since 2016 Guest member, Scientific Advisory Board, Heinrich Pette Institute (Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology)
  • since 2016 Senator at The Leopoldina, Section: Veterinary Medicine
  • since 2016 Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R)
  • since 2015 Guest member, Scientific Advisory Board, Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) and Scientific Advisory Board, Research Center Borstel
  • since 2015 Member, Berlin Network/Center for Bioinformatics (BNZB)
  • 2012-2015 Member, Protection Commission, German Federal Ministry of the Interior
  • 2012-2014 Chairmen, specialist group “Zoonosen”, German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM)
  • 2011-2015 Chairmen, Scientific Advisory Board, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut
  • since 2011 Member, Advisory Council on Military Medicine, German Federal Ministry of Defense
  • 2009-2014 Member, Executive Board, German Society of Veterinary Medicine
  • 2009-2014 Member, Internal Advisory Board, “Nationale Forschungsplattform für Zoonosen”
  • 2008-2016 Elected member, DFG Specialist Review Board 207
  • 2003-2009 Vice Dean for Research, Department of Veterinary Medicine, FU Berlin

Projects

  • since 2015 Vice Speaker of the Executive Board, Projektkonsortium InfectControl 2020
  • 2010-2016 Speaker, International DFG Research Training Group 1673 „Functional Molecular Infection Epidemiology“
  • 2008-2014 Vice Speaker, Working group “Zoonosen und Infektionsforschung”, Technology and Method Platform for Medical Research (TMF)
  • since 2009 Associate Editor, Scientific Journal “Gut Pathogens”
  • 2007-2015 Coordinator, BMBF-Network “Food-borne zoonotic infections in humans” (FBI-Zoo)
  • since 2003 Publisher, „Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift“ (BMTW)

Honours and Memberships

  • 2016 Walter Frei-Award, Vetsuisse-Faculty, Universität Zürich
  • since 2010 Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2009-2014 Board member of the German Veterinary Society
  • 2007 Main Award of the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM)
  • 1997 Young Talent Award of the German Veterinary Society (DVG)

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