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Tuberculosis is still a major health issue and the number one killer of all contagious diseases. But while more than 2 billion people are infected with the tuberculosis agent, only 10% develop an active disease. Current diagnostic tests cannot distinguish between infected people and people with active tuberculosis. In this video, STEFAN H. E. KAUFMANN explains that they found a characteristic gene expression profile of people infected with tuberculosis. Relying on only four markers they developed a highly sensitive method that is not only able to identify people with active tuberculosis but is also suitable for point of care application in countries with low resources.


Stefan H.E. Kaufmann is a Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, and Professor for Microbiology and Immunology at the Charité University Clinics, Berlin.

Kaufmann used to be the president of the German Society for Immunology and is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. As a leading researcher in the field of immunology, Kaufmann identifies tuberculosis as a continued health threat and explores how to make tuberculosis treatments more affordable and effective in the face of multi-resistant tuberculosis.


Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology

The Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology focuses on understanding how microbes cause disease and how hosts respond to this challenge. Its mission is to understand infections by viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and worms of two reasons: they present one of the most significant medical burdens on earth and the interaction between microbes and their host are an essential driver of evolution. To find answers to the fundamental questions of infection biology, the MPIIB brings together scientists from various disciplines. Hence the scale of the MPIIB research spans through the atomic, molecular, cellular, tissular, organismal, clinical and finally social level. The Institute is located at the historical Campus of the Charité Clinic in the heart of Berlin.

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Original publication

Concise Gene Signature for Point-Of-Care Classification of Tuberculosis

Maertzdorf Jeroen, McEwen Gayle, Weiner January, Tian Song, Lader Eric, Schriek Ulrich, Mayanja-Kizza Harriet, Ota Martin, Kenneth John and Kaufmann Stefan H.E.
EMBO Molecular Medicine
Published in 2015

Reading recommendations

Recent Advances Towards Tuberculosis Control: Vaccines and Biomarkers

Stefan H.E. Kaufmann and Weiner January
Journal of Internal Medicine
Published in 2014

Tuberculosis Vaccines: Time for a Global Strategy

Kaufmann Stefan H.E., Evans Thomas G. and Hanekom Willem A.
Science Translational Medicine
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Toward a Unified Biosignature for Tuberculosis

Maertzdorf Jeroen, Weiner January and Kaufmann Stefan H.E.
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Published in 2014

The Dual Role of Biomarkers for Understanding Basic Principles and Devising Novel Intervention Strategies in Tuberculosis

Maertzdorf Jeroen, Weiner January and Kaufmann Stefan H.E.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Published in 2013

Enabling Biomarkers for Tuberculosis Control

Maertzdorf Jeroen, Weiner January and Kaufmann Stefan H.E.
The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Published in 2012

The Human Immune Response to Tuberculosis and its Treatment: A View from the Blood

Kaufmann Stefan H.E., Cliff Jacqueline M., McShane Helen, Helden Paul and O'Garra Anne
Immunological Reviews
Published in 2015
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