Molecular Diagnostics

The research unit Molecular Diagnostics TU Wien at the Institute of Bioanalytics and Agro-Metabolomics developing molecular detection methods for microorganisms. Research is focused on DNA- and RNA-based methods for the detection and quantification of microbial pathogens and indicators in the environment (water, soil), in food and feed, and in clinical samples. Target organisms range from plant pathogenic fungi via bacterial indicators and pathogens to viruses and bacteriophages.

The research unit places particular emphasis on rapid, simple molecular detection methods that do not require expensive laboratory infrastructure or highly qualified personnel. On the one hand, such rapid molecular tests allow the introduction of DNA/RNA-based diagnostics in the field or on-site in food and feed processing industries that previously had no access to molecular diagnostics. On the other hand, they allow medical diagnostics directly at the patient without the need to preserve sample material and transport it to centralized diagnostic laboratories (point-of-care testing). In both fields of application, the results of molecular diagnostic tests can be obtained in a much shorter time.

Nucleic acid-based detection systems for microorganisms and viruses can be adapted to other specific target in a very short time. Many years of experience of the staff of the TU Wien make it possible to very quickly develop new and innovative methods of detection for any organism that leaves traces of the nucleic acids DNA or RNA in any sample.

The researchers of the Molecular Diagnostics unit are members of the Institute of Chemical, Environmental and Bioscience Engineering of TU Wien and the Interuniversity Cooperation Centre Water & Health (ICC Water&Health). The integration of the reserach unit at the Institute of Bioanalytics and Agro-Metabolomics at the Department IFA Tulln of BOKU Vienna represents a successful, institutionalized cooperation of the two universities in the field of bioanalytics over many years.

Main focus

Detection of microorganisms in water as well as in food and feedstuffs

  • Source-specific indicators in drinking water (microbial source tracking)
  • Pathogenic bacteria in the environment and in clinical samples
  • Plant pathogenic fungi in agriculture
  • Molds in food and animal feed

Ongoing projects

Recently completed projects