Research Group Infection Immunology

In the past 20 years, thanks to new genetic (e.g. BAC, CRISPR/Cas9) tools, an enormous progress both in the field of innate (e.g. definition of various tolerogenic and immunogenic DC subsets, discovery of TLRs, C-type lectins and other PRRs), as well as adaptive anti-infectious immunity (re-discovery of suppressive T cell populations, molecular distinction of novel T helper cell subsets) has been achieved. In the Research Group Infection Immunology, the scientists use state-of-the art genetic models to study the role of important immunological players such as DCs and regulatory T cells in bacterial and viral infections. A new, exciting area of interest is the field of immunometabolism, linking the microbiome with mucosal DC subsets and regulatory T cells. They propose here the term ‘meta-MAMPs’ to classify microbial-derived metabolites which impact on the immune response by affecting specific cellular processes. To address the urgent need of understanding the metabolome, it is planed to specifically focus on commensals and important human pathogens and their intricate crosstalk with the host via novel ‘meta-MAMPs’.