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Infectious Diseases and Pediatric Immunology

Our research in the infection-immune area focuses on the four disease groups

Basic understanding of disease pathophysiology provides the basis for developing new drugs and the identification of new markers, which reflect the clinical course of disease, and the response to therapy (biomarkers).

Background of our research

Background of our research

The immune system protects the body against pathogens very efficiently. White blood cells circulate through the body every day. When pathogens enter the body (eg in the respiratory tract), the so-called white blood cells migrate to the place of combat enemy contact and those with different weapons. The contact zones between hosts and pathogens same complex battlefields with advancing cell and hiding in biofilm bacteria. Here is a basic understanding of the aggressor (pathogens) and the defense mechanisms (leukocytes) are essential to develop new therapeutic approaches.

Research priorities

Cystic fibrosis

CF is a multiorgan disease, with v.a. gastrointestinal and pulmonary symptoms in the foreground. After gastrointestinal problems can be treated successfully with medication, the CF lung disease are not yet adequately treated, which means that CF patients to die more than 90% of their lung disease. In CF airways, there is a chronic interaction between leukocytes and pathogens (especially bacteria). We try to better understand this complex interaction.

Neutrophil suppressor cells

Neutrophil suppressor cells (NSC) is a subgroup of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) MDSC dar. are a heterogeneous population of cells that appear in tumors significantly increased in the peripheral blood and suppress T-cell responses. Although the role of suppressor cells, neutrophils has been described mainly in tumor immunology, there is growing evidence of their immunomodulatory role in infection and inflammation. We want to answer the question of whether neutrophils suppressor cells in inflammatory diseases in childhood and adolescence, such as have an impact on the childlike rheumatic disease activity. As an outlook, it is conceivable, then use these cells therapeutically by suitable ex vivo expansion process in these diseases.

Chemokine receptors

Our preliminary work shows (J Immunol 2008, Nat Med, 2007) that the two chemokine receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of CF lung disease. To investigate the role of CXCR1 and CXCR2 in this context to understand better, we work in cooperation with the University of Ulm on the biochemical and immunological characterization of human and murine CXCR1 / 2 receptors. We are working to identify genetic CXCR1/2 variants and to analyze whether they are compatible with clinical progression of CF patients.

Ongoing projects

Funding Project Duration
DFG MDSCs in CF lung disease 2014-17
DFG SFB685 Characterization and targeting of the chitinase-like innate immune protein YKL-40 2013-17
IZKF Emerging pathogens in CF lung disease 2014-17
Novartis Pharma Role of indacaterol in neutrophilic inflammation 2010-14
Fritz-Thyssen foundation Regulation and functional role of IFRD1 in neutrophil responses in CF lung disease (Hector, Hartl) 2010-14
Novartis foundation Regulation and therapeutic relevance of CXCR1 in CF and COPD (Hartl, Carevic) 2010-14
DFG Emmy Noether Program Chemokine receptors on neutrophils: functionality and involvement in chronic lung disease (Hartl) 2009-14

Completed projects

Funding Project Duration
Ernest-Solvay-Foundation Characterization of soluble CXCR1 receptors 2009-10
German Society of Pediatric Pneumology Chemokine receptors as novel therapeutic targets in chronic lung disease 2006-08
Glaxo-Smith-Kline Chemokines as modulators of asthma 2004-05
Bavarian high-tech offensive initiative Funding for translational studies / clinovate start-up development 2001-04

Selected Publications