TUEFF – Tübinger Fenster der Forschung 2017

TÜFF, the “Tuebingen Window of Research“,

This year, the Tübinger Fenster der Forschung took place on the 28th of April. Research projects at the University of Tübingen presented their activities in research and teaching.


More than 100 projects were present in the Hörsaalzentrum on the Campus Morgenstelle. Also Programme Onchocercoses, see pictures.

Our presentation of the field-work in Cameroon highlighted the possibilities of German-Cameroonian collaboration and exchange of students in biology, parasitology and entomology. The Baden-Württemberg Stiftung is supporting this international collaboration and provides grants for visiting students and scientists.

Many students and colleagues came to visit our stand, also Prof. Engler, the rector of the university and Prof. Rosenstiel, the dean of our faculty. Under two microscopes, parasites and vectors could be seen and Cameroonian fruits, coffee and chocolate could be tested – without any parasites, for sure!

Dr. Albert Eisenbarth, MSc Babette Abanda, MSc Archille Paguem and stud. biol. Felicia Trossmann took care of explaining the purpose of our work to the visitors.


Tübinger Fenster der Forschung 2017


Tübinger Fenster der Forschung 2017


Tübinger Fenster der Forschung 2017


Tübinger Fenster der Forschung 2017


Tübinger Fenster der Forschung 2017 – visitor


Tübinger Fenster der Forschung 2017 Babette Abanda, Albert Eisenbarth, Felicia Trossmann, Archille Paguem


International Society for Neglected Diseases (ISNTD) Festival in London (Barbican Centre) 23rd of February

Programme Onchocercoses has been invited to take part in the 2017 Festival of the ISNTD on February 23rd in the Barbican-Centre in London.

=> for festival, see http://isntdfestival.com/showcase/4592561605

for programme, see http://isntdfestival.com/programme/4593247637

The presentation of Alfons Renz shall be at 16.30 in Session 4: Monitoring & Evaluation: lessons learned and the road ahead

This talk shall summarize the past 50 years  of research on riverblindness in Cameroon, from the heroic times of Drs Duke, Anderson and Fuglsang, to the first ivermectin-mass-treatments that started in 1987 and to the actual situation, which is characterized by a striking decrease of both vector biting rates (this was unexpected!), transmission and Onchocerca infections. Ivermectin, socio-economic development of the rural villages and zooprophylaxis by cattle have contributed to this success.

Onchocerciasis has been called to affect the people ‘living at the end of the road’. Therefore, rural development is a key-factor for control. From the organisation of community-organized distribution of Ivermectin by local health-workers, to changes in the way of life and clothing, which reduces the contact to the Simulium vector flies. Cattle, being an ideal proxy for the human blood-host, can beneficially interfere in many ways: Diverting blood-searching flies by zooprophylaxis and providing a significant degree of premunition by cross-transmission of the bovine parasite, Onchocerca ochengi.

by artist Must from Ngaoundéré

Painting by artist Must from Ngaoundéré

Barbican-Centre-23-02-2017-kompBarbican-Centre-23-02-2017-David-Molyneux-komp   Barbican-Centre-23-02-2017-Pamela-Cameroon-komp

Workshop: Molecular Methods in Medical Entomology and Parasitology

Workshop on molecular methods in medical entomology & parasitology took place in Tübingen from July 31st to August 13th.

Eight students and parasitologists from Cameroon and one from Tunisia came to Tübingen to participate in this workshop, together with German students. For two weeks, they concentrated on combining the classical techniques of medical entomology and parasitology with the methods of molecular genetic identification of vectors and pathogens.

The participants are biologists, doctors of veterinary medicine and postgraduate students from the Cameroonian universities of Ngaoundéré and Buea, from the regional centers of the Institut de Recherches Agronomiques pour le Developpement (IRAD) de Bambui et Wakwa and from the Ecôle véterinaire de l’université de Tunis.


Participants-Workshop-2016Participants-Workshop-2016-A  Participants of the workshop



Read more

Prestigeous grant for Dr. Albert Eisenbarth!

We are very happy to announce that Albert Eisenbarth was successful with his application for a RISK-grant of our faculty!

These grants are ment to support young Postdoc researchers to develop their own ideas and projects. His specific idea focuses on novel methods of identifying parasitic pathogens in cattle with an aim to link the susceptibility or resistance of different cattle breeds to their genetic traits. Cameroon has not only a tremendous load of parasites in cattle (trypanosomes, piroplasmids, filariae, gastro-intestinal nematode worms, Eimeria, cestodes and flukes etc.), but also a variety of cattle breeds (taurine and Zebu species). Some breeds are more (or less) resistant (or susceptible) to the local pathogens and could thus constitute a basis for a rational approach to increase cattle productivity. Unfortunately disease resistance is linked, as a general rule, to poor meat and milk productivity.

To gether with our Cameroonian colleagues and PhD-students he shall develop new molecular techniques for the identification of parasites and traits of resistance and susceptibility.

His application was among the two bests of our faculty. Thus he has been invited to re-enforce his application with an option to increase its budget from the 35.000 Euro, that he has already received, to a total of 100.000 Euro.

We congratulate him for this great success, which shall open new aspects for long-lasting collaboration between Tübingen and Cameroon researchers.

Alfons Renz

Albert-Eisenbarth-Rigorosum Dr. Albert Eisenbarth, university of Tübingen

DFG-Meeting in Yaoundé

The this year’s annual meeting of the DFG-partners in the field of Neglected Parasitic Diseases in Africa took place in Yaoundé, the catital of Cameroon.

About 100 partners met in the Dejeuga palace hotes from the 1 st to 5th of June to present their on-going projects. Prior to the presentation, a young-scientist’s workshop provided insight into the skills of writing grant applications and managing DFG-funded projects. Read more

Collaboration with Spanish Colleagues

Ngaoundéré, Cameroon.

Based on a collaboration with Dr. Carlos Chaccour from the university of Navarra in Spain, a veterinarian, Dr. Gloria Abizanda Sarasa from the Pamplona university, came to Ngaoundéré to start a new trial on the long-acting effects of high doses of ivermectin on Onchocerca worms and disease vectors. Together with our Cameroonian colleagues Drs. Achukwi and Kingslay Manchang, we started fieldwork in May 2016.

Alfons Renz


ProgOncho-Team-2016 Body-length-measurement Dan-taking-bloodsample DFG-animals DFG-bull Implantation-of-depot


Dies universitatis of the University of Tübingen – Presentation of Programme Onchocercoses

Like every semester, the dies universitatis of the university of Tübingen takes place during the first week of the lectures. This time on the 15th of October.

Programme Onchocercoses was present on the Morgenstelle (Hörsaalzentrum) from 14 to 16 hrs and in the Neuen Aula from 18 to 20 hrs.

See: https://www.uni-tuebingen.de/aktuelles/dies-universitatis-2015.html


UT-research-2015-Dies universitatis-RENZ










It was a long day of presentations, from 14 to 20 hrs! And a very interesting experience for all of us.

Thanks to Sophia Stiegler, Francois Korbmacher and Freya Zettl, which just had come back from Cameroon and Babette Abanda, a PhD-student from Cameroon, the set-up of our installation with two microscopes and posters went quickly. We showed parasites from Cameroon and their vectors. The aim was to give an impression of our on-going work in the Programme Onchocercoses fieldstation in Cameroon and to motivate students to join our team.

Dies universitatis 2015 - Morgenstelle-our team






The site for the – only two! – presentations of the Faculty of Natural Sciences had been quiet unfavorably selected in the Hörsaalzentrum on the Morgenstelle. In a place, where it was dark and where only few students passed, mostly in a great hurry between their lectures.

Dies universitatis 2015 - Morgenstelle-5


At the left site, there was the laser-show of the presentation of the Institute of Physics (PD Dr. Sebastian Slama): For better visibility, we had moved to the other, more illuminated site of the floor.




Dies universitatis 2015 - Morgenstelle-our team



However, only very few visitors came – so we were mostly occupied by ourselves, since this was for the first time that the students met after their stay in Cameroon. And there was plenty of time to answer emails!



At 16 hrs, we moved to the Neue Aula, the main university building. There, the Hall was booming of students, visiting the about 100 presentations of the ‘Markt der Möglichkeiten’. From 18 to 20 hrs, we had the occasion to present our field-work in Cameroon, to show parasites and vectors under the microscopes and discuss with students and teachers. This was a great success. A number of students now intend to attend the ‘Cameroon-Seminar’ of Babette Abanda and some were asking to do their practical in Cameroon. We hope that this shall be possible by the funding of the Baden-Württemberg-Stiftung, which is supporting our Africa-German collaboration.

Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-14 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-11 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-9 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-8 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-6 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-3 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-1 Dies universitatis 2015 - Neue Aula-17

Reports of Tübingen students on their fieldwork in the Programme Onchocercoses laboratory in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon

Three students from the Tübingen University came to the Programme Onchocercoses laboratory in Ngaoundéré in the summer 2015 to do their practicals. They were assisted during their field work by Babette Abanda from the University of Ngaoundéré and Albert Eisenbarth and Alfons Renz from the Tübingen University.



Francois Korbmacher studied the occurrence of protozoan and bacterial pathogens in ticks: The predominant tick-species that bite on cattle  in Northern Cameroon, Amblyomma variegatum and Boophilus decoloratus, are vectors of Piroplasmidae, Rickettsiae, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and, possibly, also Borrellia species.

Using consensus primers and a PCR-approach, Francois tried to identify positive ticks.

=> Read more about the work of Francois => Francois-Korbmacher-2015-Field report





Freya Labor

Freya Zettl



Freya Zettl  took video-movies of live microfilariae of various Onchocerca species. It is astonishing to notice, that different species have microfilariae of very different sizes and movements, though they are living in the same environment, the skin of cattle. However, they are transmitted by different species of blood-sucking arthropods (Simuliidae and Ceratopogonidae etc.). There must be a link between the size and movements of microfilariae and their specific vectors!

=> Read more about the work of Freya => Freya Zettl – Project Report-2015








Sophia Stiegler -2015

Sophia Stiegler injected microfilariae of Onchocerca ochengi into the thorax of neonate Simulium flies.

Even in those flies, which normally do not bite on man or cattle. The proportion of microfilariae surviving and developing to the L3-stage varies and is an indicator of the vectorial ability of Simulium species and strain.

=> Read more about the work of Sophia =>Report Sophia Stiegler-2015










Students and staff  in the Programme Onchocercoses laboratory in Ngaoundéré.






Second meeting of the Ethiopia Onchocerciasis Elimination Expert Advisory Committee in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia is Africa’s second largest country and onchocerciasis (river blindness) is highly endemic in many districts. Yet the state of knowledge on the local vectors and transmision indices is still limited.

PD Dr. Alfons Renz has been nominated to be member of the internatioal Expert Advisory Committee, that shall assist the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to eliminate onchocerciasis until 2020. Fly-catching near Simulium breeding sites in the center of the so-called ‘transmission zones’ shall deliver the entomological criteria for successful elimination. Less than one fly per 2000  flies caugzt on nman – or on a trap – should be infected with Onchocerca volvulus L3 in their head. This level is still exceeded at many sites in the country. Ivermectin mass-treatments havbe already started in most of the districts but in some, the status of oncho-endimicity and transmission is still unclear.

There is definitively a lot of work to be done, but the enthousiasmn and the strong support by national and international agencies make the goal of elimination feasable!

The Committee met in Addis Abeba from October 4th to 8th.


Alfons Renz is supported by the Carter Center, Atlanta, USA, http://www.cartercenter.org/health/river_blindness/oepa.html

Congratulation, Dr. rer. nat. Albert Eisenbarth!

On the 23rd of September, Albert Eisenbarth defended his thesis at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the Tübingen!

Examiners were Prof. Peschel, Prof. Betz, PD Streit, PD Renz.