Research Group Mucosal Infection Immunology

Research Group Mucosal Infection Immunology

Infections of mucosal organs such as the intestine or the lung still represent a key global health problem. In western countries, advances in modern medicine, specifically in the area of transplantation and intensive care have greatly enhanced life expectancies, but have also led to the recurrence of opportunistic and hospital-acquired infections that pose serious problems to our medical system. In the research group of Mucosal Infection Immunology, headed by Dr. Matthias Lochner, we are investigating several key aspects of mucosal infection biology. This includes a better understanding of host-pathogen interactions at the mucosal barrier site and in particular the mechanisms that activate and regulate the infection-induced immune response. In addition, we explore the (epi) genetic background as well as the molecular and metabolic processes of infection-associated immune responses. Most importantly, we search for novel therapeutic targets  to modulate the immune response aiming to translate the findings of our basic research into clinical applications. 

One focus of our work is on the pathomechanisms of important gastrointestinal pathogens, such as Clostridium difficile, which represents a major cause of health care acquired intestinal infection. During the last decades, the incidence of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) has been increasing steadily worldwide, while the efficacy of conventional antibiotic therapy is decreasing due to enhanced spread of antibiotic resistances and the emergence of hypervirulent strains. Despite its clinical relevance, a thorough understanding of the host- and environmental factors that determine the susceptibility toward CDI, especially in cases of severe recurrent infections, is still missing. The research in our lab concentrates on the underlying mechanisms of the intestinal immune response, which are not only of critical importance for protecting the host against intestinal pathogens, but also contribute to infection-associated inflammation and immunopathology in the gut. Understanding the specific principles of intestinal immune regulation is an important step for the definition of novel therapeutic targets for immune modulation during infection and inflammation.


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...

24. November 2016

DFG Grant for research on innate lymphoid cells

Angeborene Lymphoide Zellen sind eine relativ neu entdeckte Zellgruppe, die an der ersten Abwehr von Erregern beteiligt ist. Diese Zellen sitzen in Darm, Haut und Lunge – genaugenommen in allen Geweben, die unseren Körper von der...

26. May 2016

DFG Grant for Matthias Lochner

Matthias Lochner will receive a 352.000 Euro DFG-Grant for three years. Matthias Lochner is group leader of the research group Mucosal Infection Immunology at the Institute of Infectionimmunology. The project "Targeting the...

06. October 2014

Gleichgewicht im Immunsystem hängt vom Fettstoffwechsel ab - Gemeinsame Pressemitteilung von TWINCORE, MHH und HZI

In einem gesunden Körper herrscht ein sorgfältig geregeltes Gleichgewicht zwischen verschiedenen Immunzellen. Ist diese Balance gestört, können beispielsweise chronisch-entzündliche Darmerkrankungen oder Autoimmunerkrankungen wie...

21. March 2014

21 March 2014 A new role for regulatory T cells in intestinal infections

In the gut, our immune system is facing the biggest challenges. It is inhabited by billions of microorganisms that assist us in the digestion of food.  Gleichzeitig steckt in vielen dieser Mitbewohner das Potenzial zu...