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The research institution BNITM


About us

Founded in 1900, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), originally a department of the Hamburg Health Authority, has been an independent, non-profit research institution in the form of a foundation under public law based in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg since 2008. In accordance with the purpose of the foundation, the BNITM is dedicated to research, teaching, training and further education as well as counselling and care in the field of tropical diseases and emerging infectious diseases.

The institute combines modern laboratory research on the biology of pathogens, their reservoirs and vectors with clinical research on the pathophysiology, epidemiology and disease control of tropical diseases in endemic areas. Current foci are malaria, worm infections and other parasitoses as well as diseases caused by arboviruses and haemorrhagic fever viruses, and the development of new diagnostics. For handling highly pathogenic pathogens and infected insects, the Institute has laboratories of the highest biological safety (BSL-3, BSL-4) as well as a safety insectarium (BSL-3).

The institute buildings against a blue sky
New and old building of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (Source: BNITM)


The Institute's services include special laboratory diagnostics for tropical and other rare infections as well as advisory services for physicians, science, industry, politics and the public, which contribute significantly to the Institute's national importance. The Institute was appointed National Reference Centre for Tropical Infectious Agents by the Federal Ministry of Health and WHO Collaborating Centre for Arboviruses and Haemorrhagic Fever Viruses by the World Health Organisation.


Person researching in the lab
Research in the risk level 4 safety laboratory.


Teaching activities include a three-month, full-day course on all aspects of tropical medicine for medical doctors, as well as an advanced training programme for doctoral students at the Institute and a range of continuing education courses on topics related to travel medicine and international health. Numerous scientists from the Institute are involved in student teaching as appointed professors of the University and the University Hospital Hamburg.

In cooperation with the Ghanaian Ministry of Health and the University of Kumasi, the Institute has been operating a modern research and training centre in West Africa for 25 years, which is also available to external working groups. In addition, there are numerous research cooperations with scientists and scientific institutions in various African countries.

As a member of the Leibniz Association, the Institute is jointly financed by the Federal Government, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the other federal states as a research institute of supraregional importance. On the part of the host country, the BNITM is assigned to the Authority for Science, Research, Equality and Districts (BWFGB), on the part of the federal government to the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).

To the BNITM homepage.


Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin
Phone: +49 40 285380-0
Fax: +49 40 285380-252