Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI)

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The Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) is the first institution of its kind worldwide to combine ribonucleic acid (RNA) research with infection biology.

Based on novel findings from its strong basic research program, the institute’s long-term goal is to develop innovative therapeutic approaches to better diagnose and treat human infections.

HIRI is a site of the Braunschweig Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in cooperation with the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) and is located on the Würzburg Medical Campus.


At HIRI, scientists investigate ribonucleic acids (RNA) and their role in infectious diseases. RNAs are transcripts of genetic material and serve, among other things, as carriers of genetic information, but also have regulatory functions.

During an infection, the RNA molecules of a disease-causing agent interact with those of the infected cell to enable the pathogen to survive and to multiply within the host. To date, little is known about the regulatory role of RNAs in infections. This is where the research of the HIRI sets in.

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