The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine was founded in 1900 following a large cholera outbreak in the city. Under the initial guidance of naval doctor Bernhard Nocht, the institute experienced significant growth, and is now considered one of the most important institutes for tropical medicine in Europe. The institute also runs the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) in Ghana.
Pioneering research at the Bernhard Nocht Institute is split into several areas, for example parasitology, immunology and virology, and epidemiology. Areas of particular interest to the institute are Malaria, tuberculosis, tissue nematodes, and hemorrhagic fever viruses such as Ebola. With some of the most secure labs in the world, the institute has the facilities to research some of the deadliest viruses and diseases humans face. In collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute, the Bernhard Nocht Institute looks into the wide spectrum of viral, parasitic and bacterial infections that threaten human health. The institute also collaborates with the World Health Organisation to focus on Arboviruses and hemorrhagic fever viruses. It also has the largest reference collection of rare and tropical virus strains in Germany.
The Bernhard Nocht Institute also offers courses on all aspects of tropical medicine. There are different courses for physicians and PhD students, and even refresher courses for the latest information on tropical medicine, as well as a structured programme for education related to travel medicine and international health. The Institute also prides itself on being active and up to date with current events in the area of health, even offering courses on refugee health.
There is also a graduate school offering possibilities for doctoral research in collaboration with the University of Hamburg.
The Bernhard Nocht Institute also offers many services, such as lab diagnosis of diseases and even travel advice and vaccination clinics, including a walk-in clinic at the Universitätsklinikum Eppendorf (UKE) hospital. Close co-operation with the German Army allows the institute to ensure a good standing in both political and scientific circles. There is also a well-stocked library on site. Open to the public, it contains both specialised books and publications from the Institute itself.