Prof. Dr. Petr Broz

University of Basel
Klingelbergstrasse 50 / 70
CH - 4056 Basel
Biozentrum, Room 681A Phone: +41 61 207 23 42
Curriculum Vitae

Administrative Assistant

Michaela Hanisch
Biozentrum, Room 408
Phone: +41 61 207 21 21
Fax: +41 61 207 21 18


Bacteria free themselves with molecular “speargun”

Many bacteria are armed with nano-spearguns, which they use to combat unwelcome...more

Cell Death: How a protein drives immune cells to suicide

For some pathogens, attack is the best form of defense - they enter immune...more

Immune cells on alert: Inflammasome activates emergency program

The inflammasome plays an important role in our body‘s immune defense. This...more

Research Group Petr Broz

The innate immune response against intracellular bacterial pathogens

We study how bacterial pathogens are detected by host cells as well as strategies used by them to evade innate immune recognition.

Inflammasome complexes (green, arrow) in macrophages infected with Salmonella (yellow).

The innate immune system provides the first line of defense against infections by rapidly recognizing and eliminating invading microbes. An important component of innate immunity are pattern recognition receptors, which are sensors that constantly monitor the extracellular and intracellular space of host cells for molecules of bacterial origin. Once the presence of bacteria is detected, these sensors initiate an inflammatory response.

The inflammasome activates various defense mechanisms

A subset of these pattern recognition receptors initiates the assembly of cytosolic multi-protein signaling complexes called inflammasomes. These complexes activate caspases, inflammatory enzymes, which control the release of cytokines. Another function of these caspases is the induction of pyroptosis, a novel form of cell death that kills the infected cell and restricts pathogen replication.

A model system to study host-pathogen interaction

To investigate the complex interaction between the host immune system and bacterial pathogens, we use Salmonella typhimurium, a model intracellular pathogen that survives and multiplies in macrophages. Effective host defense against Salmonella requires a crosstalk between the inflammasome and other inflammatory pathways.

Treating infectious and inflammatory diseases

Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying inflammasome activation during bacterial infection and the bacterial strategies used to evade innate immunity. Ultimately, our findings may lead to new and innovative approaches for the prevention and treatment of infectious as well as inflammatory diseases.