Infection Immunology

Infection Immunology

Infectious diseases still represent a key global health problem. In Europe, lower respiratory tract infections caused for example by Streptococcus pneumoniae are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, despite the availability of vaccines against this pathogen. Additionally, the rise in infections with multi-resistant bacteria, e.g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, represents a constant threat for our society. Under the roof of the Institute of Infection Immunology, researchers led by Prof. Dr. Tim Sparwasser are investigating several key aspects of infection biology. This includes a better understanding of host-pathogen interactions and the mechanisms that activate and regulate the infection-induced immune response. In addition, they explore the genetic background and the molecular processes of infection-associated immune responses and, most importantly, they search for novel ways of modulating the immune response, which finally aims to translate the findings of this basic research into clinical applications.

Advances in modern medicine, specifically in the area of transplantation and intensive care have greatly enhanced life expectancies in western countries, but also lead to a recurrence of opportunistic (e.g. CMV and Candida) and hospital-acquired (e.g. Clostridium difficile) infections that pose serious problems to our medical system. Additional challenges of the ageing European society comprise autoimmunity and cancer. These main challenges share the common root cause of being inadequate T cell-driven immune responses.

Vaccinations are considered one of the biggest success stories in medicine and can guarantee long-term sustainability and efficiency. However, the identification of better adjuvants, particularly for T cell immunity, would address one of the largest unmet clinical needs. Novel vaccines, especially against extensively drug-resistant bacteria such as mycobacteria, remain a major challenge. A new approach rather than focusing on the pathogen itself is the concept of ‘immunomodulation’. The identification and characterization of novel microbiota-derived metabolites which directly influence the host’s immune reaction offer novel therapeutic ways to shorten chemotherapy or to reduce immunopathology in infection or inflammatory disease.


German-french DFG-ANR grant for Luciana Berod

Unser Immunsystem ist ein Orchester aus unterschiedlichsten Immunzellen, das uns im fein abgestimmten Zusammenspiel vor Krankheitserregern, Fremdstoffen und Fehlentwicklungen im Organismus schützt. Das funktioniert in der Regel...

DZIF MD/PhD fellowship for Marc Lindenberg

Mit einem DZIF MD/PhD Stipendium wird Dr. med. Marc Lindenberg in den nächsten zwei Jahren für eine naturwissenschaftliche Promotion am TWINCORE gefördert. Mit dem Stipendium unterstützt das Deutsche Zentrum für...

Award for doctoral dissertation of the MHH for Marc Lindenberg

Dr. Marc Lindenberg, Wissenschaftler am Institut für Infektionsimmunologie, erhielt für seine Forschung über den Einfluss Regulatorischer T Zellen (Tregs) auf natürliche Killerzellen bei Zytomegalievirusinfektionen am 10....

19. June 2017

International research project on antibiotic resistance at TWINCORE

Infektionen durch multirestente Bakterien sind ein stetig wachsendes Problem im klinischen Alltag. Die Entwicklung neuer therapeutischer Ansätze oder Wirkstoffe gegen diese Keime erfordert gebündelte wissenschaftliche Kompetenz –...

17. May 2017

Dendritic cells and epithelia cells are the main actors of the bacteria defence in the gut Bakterienabwehr im Darm

Der Darm gilt als Wiege unseres Immunsystems: Knapp ein Drittel unserer antikörperproduzierenden Zellen befinden sich in der Darmschleimhaut – sie setzen sich mit den unzähligen Mikroorganismen und Fremdstoffen auseinander, die...