The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine is Germany’s largest institution for research, services and training in the field of tropical diseases and emerging infections.
Research topics include clinical studies, epidemiology and disease control as well as the biology of the respective pathogens, their reservoirs and vectors. The present scientific focus is on malaria, haemorrhagic fever viruses, tuberculosis and tissue nematodes. To study highly pathogenic viruses and infected insects, the institute is equipped with laboratories of the highest biosafety level (BSL4) and a BSL3 insectary. Outstanding scientific achievements in the recent past include the identification of the SARS coronavirus and the discovery of a previously unknown developmental stage of malaria parasites in humans.
Services of the institute include specific laboratory diagnostics of tropical diseases, emerging and other rare infections, a close co-operation with the German army as well as consultation of the scientific community, industry, politics and the public, which greatly contribute to the national standing of the institute. The institute comprises the German National Reference Centre for all tropical pathogens, a reference laboratory for SARS and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Haemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research.
Teaching activities include a 3-months, full-time course on all aspects of tropical medicine for physicians, further a structured training programme for PhD students and a number of activities of continuing education in topics related to travel medicine and international health.
In co-operation with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, the institute since more than ten years runs the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), a modern research and training centre in Ghana, which is also available to external research groups.