Kick Off Meeting of EvoLUNG II

On 13 September 2021, after a long period of only online meetings, the EvoLUNG scientists took the opportunity for a kick-off meeting at the "Evolution by the Sea" conference in Kiel. In his opening talk, Stefan Niemann, speaker of the Leibniz Campus, emphasised how successfully the young scientists had worked in the first phase of EvoLUNG and referred to the excellent support from the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which had led to this outstanding development.

The current campus provides a scientific environment for nine PhD students and nine junior scientists, who are scientifically supervised by internationally recognised senior scientists in the fields of: (a) evolutionary ecology, (b) molecular and experimental mycobacteriology, (c) molecular and genomic evolution of microbial genomes, (d) cellular microbiology, (e) co-evolution of host and microbiota, (f) invertebrate models for gene function analysis, and (g) asthma and allergy. In addition, PhD students and Junior Scientists are supported in developing their scientific careers in a training and mentoring programme offered by the EvoLUNG Academy.

EvoLUNG members at the kick off meeting 2021 in Kiel

EvoLUNG report 2016-20

Evolutionary processes often play a decisive role in the manifestation of disease patterns. Host - whether human or animal - and pathogen have interacted for millions of years, and there is clear evidence that the associated host microbiome plays a crucial role in this process and influences the spread and development of disease. Studying the underlying evolutionary processes is therefore key to a deeper understanding of contemporary disease manifestations.
EvoLUNG strives for an integrative understanding of lung diseases using evolutionary principles.
Read here the research results of EvoLUNG achieved in the first funding phase from 2016 to 2020. Furthermore, you can find information about other campus activities here. A special focus of this research report is to explain the research projects to the interested layperson in a generally understandable way.

EvoLUNG report 2016-20

Project reports for the lay public

Evolution by the Sea: a joint meeting of EvoLUNG, CSEM and TransEvo

After a long period in which conferences could only take place online, scientists from the Research Center Borstel Leibniz Lung Center (FZB), Kiel Christian Albrechts University (CAU) and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön (MPI-EB) met in Kiel to exchange their latest research results. From 13 - 15 September 2021, young scientists from the Leibniz ScienceCampus Evolutionary Medicine of the Lung (EvoLUNG) coordinated by the FZB discussed evolutionary principles in medicine, agriculture and environmental protection with scientists from the research initiative "Clinician Scientists in Evolutionary Medicine" (CSEM) and the DFG Research Training Group Translational Evolutionary Research (TransEVO).

Press release CAU

for more information please contact Stefan Niemann (FZB) or Christiane Gerlach (FZB)

Young Scientists discuss evolutionary principles in medicine, agriculture and environment. © Christian Urban, Uni Kiel

Stefan Niemann receives the Gardner Middlebrook Award 2021

The molecular biologist Prof. Stefan Niemann from the Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center was honored with the Gardner Middlebrook Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented online at the 41st Annual Congress of the European Society of Mycobacteriology (ESM) and recognizes his lifetime contribution in the field of genome research on the pathogens that cause tuberculosis.

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Stefan Niemann is honoured with the Gardner Middlebrook Lifetime Achievement Award

Undetected and difficult to treat: multidrug resistant tuberculosis strain

Research team from Research Center Borstel leibniz Lung Center finds multidrug resistant TB-strain in Eswatini, that is not detected by modern diagnostic methods and has developed resistance to the new antibiotic bedaquiline.

More than a third of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) cases in Eswatini, in Southern Africa, are caused by an outbreak strain that cannot be correctly detected by currently used molecular biological tests such as Xpert MTB/RIF. In addition, in 50% of the cases, this strain has also acquired mutations that confer resistance to two important drugs for treatment of MDR-TB, a novel drug, bedaquiline and a repurposed drug, clofazimine. The results of this work have now been published by the research team around Professor Stefan Niemann from the Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) in the journal Genome Medicine.

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Good news for EvoLUNG: Leibniz will support EvoLUNG in a second funding phase

The success of the Leibniz Science Campus EvoLUNG has now been confirmed by an international review panel. The independent experts came to the conclusion that EvoLUNG is structurally excellently positioned and that the research topics are of particular actuality and relevance. The three research areas of EvoLUNG would complement each other excellently and a clear added value could be expected from this interdisciplinary work in the future. On the basis of these reports, the Senate of the Leibniz Association decided to continue funding the EvoLUNG science campus for another 4 years. This will enable the three project partners Forschungszentrum Borstel Leibniz Lungenzentrum (FZB), Chrstian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU) and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön (MPI-EB) to start the second funding phase in October 2020 and to further develop their successful research agenda.
With the commitment from Berlin it is now also ensured that the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the University of Kiel will support EvoLUNG financially and structurally for another 4 years.

EvoLUNG research framework

European Society for Evolutionary Biology honours EvoLUNG Junior PI

Camilo Barbosa receives renowned John Maynard Smith Research Prize for his work on the prevention of antibiotic resistance: Camilo's research in the group of Hinrich Schulenburg contributed to the formulation of the concept of "collateral sensitivity". He was able to show that the development of resistance to an antibiotic in the pathogen causing pneumonia Pseudomonas aeruginosa also leads to sensitivity to other agents. This is a concept that can be used to optimise therapeutic approaches in the treatment of infections with multi-resistant bacteria. Meanwhile Camilo Barbosa changed to the University of Michigan and the Huck Institutes of the Life Science at Pennsylvania State University. read more

Dr. Camilo Barbosa

The phylogenetic landscape and nosocomial spread of the multidrug-resistant opportunist Stenotrophomonas maltophilia

As part of an international consortium EvoLUNG PIs Stefan Niemann and Ulrich E. Schaible studied the global population structure of the opportunistic pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. S. maltophilia is an important cause of hospital-acquired drug-resistant infections and is listed by the World Health Organization as one of the leading drug-resitant nosocomial pathogens worldwide. To understand the global population structure of the S. maltophilia complex, in particular the potential for global and local spread of this strains, a large-scale genome-based phylogenetic and cluster analysis of a global strain collection was performed. Results of this analysis led to a classification of globally appearing S. maltophilia strains into 23 monophyletic lineages. Among these strains, certain lineages such as Sm6 are most frequently found to be human-invasive, human-non invasive or human-respiratory strains, pointing towards a potential adaptation to human infection and enhanced virulence.

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Spatiotemporal cluster analysis of 1305 S. maltophilia complex strains (edited)

Stefan Nieman was awarded the DZIF Prize for outstanding translational infection research.

Stefan Niemann, speaker of EvoLUNG ScienceCampus, DZIF scientist and professor at the Leibniz-Lung Center in Borstel, relies on genome sequencing for the rapid and precise diagnosis of resistant tuberculosis. His research on the epidemiology of Mycobactrium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains and the molecular prediction of antibiotic resistance in MTBC strains has gained worldwide recognition: The German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF) has now awarded Stefan Niemann the DZIF Prize for Translational Research. The prize, worth 5,000 euros, was awarded at the DZIF annual conference in Bad Nauheim. More information...

Charles Darwin meets the antibiotic crisis - EvoLUNG meets the German Center for Infection Research

Hinrich Schulenburg will give one of the invited talks at this year's Joint Annual Meeting of the German Society of Infectious Diseases (DGI) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF). Hinrich will talk on: Charles Darwin meets the antibiotic crisis: Can we control pathogen evolution? Even though evolutionary processes are responsible for the current antibiotic crisis, they are usually ignored during design of novel therapy. This is something that needs to change. Hinrich will thus put the spotlight on how we can use evolutionary knowledge to generate new ideas for sustainable drug therapy. For more details see

German Center for Infection Research

Leibniz debate: Vaccination – Ranga Yogeshwar meets Cornelia Betsch and Ulrich E. Schaible.

EvoLUNG Campus Senior Scientist, Ulrich Schaible, discussed with science journalist and physicist, Ranga Yogeshwar and psychologist, Cornelia Betsch the emerging scepticism about vaccinations, their risks and the need to enforce vaccinations by the state with a special focus on Measles. How can knowledge about almost eradicated diseases be conveyed if there are no ubiquitous images of people suffering from the consequences of these diseases? Can measles only be eliminated by compulsory vaccination? Does the knowledge generated by science no longer reach today's society?
Follow the discussion round 

Vaccination - Public Leibniz Discussion Round

TransEvo - DFG Research training Group for Translational Evolutionary Research

The program of the DFG Research Group for Translational Evolutionary Research specifically aims at training doctoral candidates to use concepts and approaches from fundamental evolutionary biology to enhance our understanding of current challenges in applied fields. Therefore, TransEvo is a dicect spin-off from EvoLUNG. First doctoral students will begin in December 2019 with their work in the different interdisciplinary projects. read more

Annual Meeting 2019

At the annual conference of EvoLUNG Campus 2019 the Scientific Advisory Board was impressed by the excellent presentations from the junior PIs and PhD students who were fully engaged in pursuing their individual research questions. "The PhD students are a credit to their institutes and it is reassuring that their career plans are focussed towards use of their skills in evolutionary medicine," Prof. Donna Davies (UK) summed up the impression of the SAB.
At the two-day meeting, the EvoLUNG PhD students presented their research projects. An overview of the underlying research field was given by the respective Junior Scientists. Not only the close cooperation between doctoral students and their supervisors became clear, but also the interactions between the different research fields/groups.


For more information see: Annual Scientific Report 2018


Annual Report 2018

EvoLUNG Academy: Reports from Fellows

In the internationalization program, EvoLUNG encourages postdocs and PhD students to attend evolutionary medicine courses or conferences.
In 2018, PhD students from the EvoLUNG Campus had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health in Utah, USA. In the EvoLUNG Annual Report 2018, they describe their meeting with Randolph Nesse, one of the two authors of the book "Why we get sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine". 

For the report please see: Annual Scientific Report 2018 pages 56-58

President of the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft visits Kiel ScienceCampi

The President of the Leibniz Association, Matthias Kleiner, visited the Leibniz Science Campi "Kiel Centre for Globalization (KCG)","Kiel Science Outreach Campus (KiSOC)" and "Evolutionary Medicine of the Lung (EvoLUNG)". KCG and KiSOC are based in Kiel and are a cooperation of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität (CAU) with the Kiel Institute for World Economy (IfW) or with the Leibniz Institute for Natural Sciences and Mathematical Education (IPN), repectively. Discussion with CEOs of IPN, IfW and the Forschungszentrum Borstel (FZB), with the Vice President of CAU and the State Secretary for Science, Dr. Oliver Grundei focused the topic "cooperation". IfW, IPN and FZB are close cooperation partners of CAU for decades. Kleiner was impressed by the very good and successful networking: "We are pleased that the three Leibniz Science Campi not only continue to expand their existing cooperation with CAU, but also actively engage in interdisciplinary networking among themselves." Professor Kleiner will also visit the EvoLUNG Campus at FZB. Focus will then be on joint research activities of all EvoLUNG partners at FZB, CAU and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön. 

Annual Meeting 2018

At the annual conference of EvoLUNG 2018, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) personally met the members of the campus for the first time. The SAB consists of five internationally renowned scientists whose expertise reflects the various scientific contents of the campus.
EvoLUNG PhD students presented the concepts for their research projects and first results. In the poster session, both doctoral students and Junior Scientists took the opportunity to discuss their work with the internationally renowned experts of the scientific advisory board.


For more information on EvoLUNG research projects see: Annual Scientific Report 2017

Annual Scientific Report 2017