Lunge Röntgenbild
3D Visualization of a Virus

Our scientific profile

Our research focuses on investigating acute lower respiratory tract infections and their impact on public health. There is an urgent medical need for new and effective therapeutic approaches for lung infections, particularly for ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) and ALI (Acute Lung Injury), which have a high mortality rate.

Viral infections are the primary cause of CAP (Community-Acquired Pneumonia) and ARDS, highlighting the necessity for a better understanding of the underlying pathobiology.

Acute lower respiratory tract infections represent an increasing public health problem worldwide, and result in a disease burden greater than that of any other infection, with mortality rates unchanged over the past 50 years. Likewise, the lack of any pharmacological treatments for the most devastating clinical course of pulmonary infection, acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), underscores an urgent medical need for novel, effective therapeutic approaches.

Pneumonie Röntgenbild
ARDS by direct lung injuries is primarily caused by pneumonia and acid aspiration. In turn, recent studies revealed that viral infection is the underlying cause of the majority of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) among children, and in 41% of adult patients with CAP-associated ARDS. Emergence of novel respiratory viruses such as pH1N1/2009 pandemic IV and highly pathogenic avian IV strains, or the MERS-Coronavirus which causes substantial mortality among children and adults further highlights the need for a better understanding of the underlying pathobiology.
3D Visualization of a Virus

Genetic susceptibilities together with specific pre-conditions or co-morbidities are major risk factors for severe courses of respiratory viral disease, characterized by deficiencies in adequate antiviral control and/or exaggerated inflammation and tissue damage. In addition, there is increasing evidence that respiratory virus infection frequently predisposes for severe gram-positive bacterial superinfections with fatal outcome. In general, resolution of pulmonary inflammatory processes due to infectious (i.e. viral) or non-infectious (i.e. acid aspiration) causes increase the susceptibility for bacterial infections.

3D Visualization of a Virus

Against this background, our research is dedicated to unraveling the mechanisms driving anti-viral host defense, to dissecting the cellular and molecular contributors to the tissue damage at the virus-host interface in the distal lung, and to defining pathways and mediators of organ regeneration in the context of viral infection, focusing on the interaction of macrophages with parenchymal cells of the distal lung and the epithelial stem cell niche.

Moreover, we study mechanisms that lead to increased susceptibility to bacterial infections during viral pneumonia or acid aspiration with a focus on alveolar macrophages. These aims will be achieved by using established models of in vivo virus infection, acid aspiration and bacterial superinfection of different levels of complexity (in vitro – ex vivo – in vivo) combined with analyses of patient samples, using FACS and cell sorting (LSR Fortezza, FACSAriaIII) as well as spectral cell sorting (FACSDiscover S8 cell sorter with CellView Imaging), NGS including single cell RNA-Seq, organoid modeling, and high-resolution microscopy/ life imaging techniques. The ultimate goal is to find novel disease biomarkers defining susceptibility to and recovery from ALI, and to identify distinct host targets to be harnessed for novel therapeutic strategies to combat severe respiratory viral infection, and bacterial superinfections due to viral or non-infectious insults in the lung.

Interdisciplinary collaboration in search of new therapeutic strategies to fight lung infectious diseases

Our Team

Our team at the chair consists of dedicated scientists and researchers with diverse backgrounds and expertise. Together, we strive to understand the origins and progression of respiratory diseases in order to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

Our team leader, Professor Dr. Herold, is a renowned expert in the field of lung research. With extensive experience in the study of respiratory infections, she has published numerous scientific papers. Under her guidance, our team members are actively involved in various projects focused on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of lung inflammation and other respiratory conditions.

We take pride in having talented young researchers and students as part of our team, benefiting from the experience and expertise of our seasoned researchers. Together, we are committed to advancing medical research and making groundbreaking discoveries in the field of respiratory diseases.

Susanne Herold
Prof. Dr. med. Susanne Herold, PhD – Director of the Department of Medicine V
Stethoskop in Lungenform
Silhouettes of Laboratory Staff

Join our team

  • MD theses (Promotion Dr. med.)

  • PhD students

  • Master theses

  • Student assistants
  • Study nurses / Study assistants
  • Laboratory technicians

Funding & Cooperation Partners

Herold Lab is always open for collaborations with partners from academia, industry, and the public sector. We are interested in translating our research findings into practice and jointly developing innovative solutions. Funding is a crucial part of our work, enabling us to conduct our research at the highest level. Therefore, we appreciate any contribution that supports us in achieving our goals. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Recent developments in our fields of expertise

For progress, sharing the latest medical knowledge is essential.

  • Alveolar macrophage-expressed Plet1 is a driver of lung epithelial repair after viral pneumonia

    2. Januar 2024

    Nat Commun. Pervizaj-Oruqaj L, Selvakumar B, Ferrero MR, Heiner M, Malainou C, Glaser RD, Wilhelm […]

  • DZL Academy Symposium

    25. November 2023

    22.11 – 24.11.2023

    For the upcoming days, we are delighted to be part of the […]

  • Christina Malainou defending her PhD thesis

    Congratulations to Christina Malainou

    12. Oktober 2023


    Congratulations to our newest graduated Christina Malainou for successfully […]

  • JLU CAREER and JLU TRAINEE presentation


    10. Oktober 2023


    Kick-off for this year’s joint JLU CAREER and JLU TRAINEE […]


    Fusion Conference: 2nd Niche-Epithelial Stem Cell Interactions in Lung Health and Disease

    5. Oktober 2023

    05.10 – 07.10.2023

    Our team was present at the 2nd Niche-Epithelial […]

  • Hintergrund Herold Lab

    Paper Alert

    3. Oktober 2023


    Our Clinician/PhD student Christina Malainou just published a review article on […]

Our location

Department of Medicine V
Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Infection Control
University Hospital Giessen und Marburg (UKGM)

  • Klinikstr. 33
    D-35392 Giessen