Infection, Immunity and Metabolism Research

The Infection, Immunity and Metabolism Research Group studies the link between metabolic disorders and increased risk to infection.

The lab focuses on investigating the impaired immunological mechanisms during type 2 diabetes and the association with increased susceptibility of lung infections. Type 2 diabetes patients are three times more likely to develop tuberculosis and are less likely to successfully respond to antibiotic therapy compared to tuberculosis patients without diabetes, but the reasons for this are largely unexplored. The goal of this research group is to better understand the underlying immunological, endocrine and metabolic mechanisms for increased susceptibility to infections in type 2 diabetes patients, and to develop host-directed therapeutic approaches which, in addition to conventional antibiotic therapy, can improve treatment outcomes in diabetes patients.

This research area has attracted worldwide interest largely due to the threat of a resurgence in tuberculosis with increasing prevalence of diabetes—The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and the World Diabetes Foundation, since 2011, have called for global action on this topic. The findings of the Infection, Immunity and Metabolism Research Group are applicable to a wide range of bacterial infections associated with diabetes.

Group Leader

  • A/Prof Katharina Ronacher