University of Bonn

Institut for Experimental Immunology

We are interested in the mechanisms governing antigen-presentation and the ensuing immune response. We have focussed on 3 major research topics:
1.) Mechanisms of cross-presentation
2.) Peripheral immune tolerance
3.) Immunity targeting the urinary tract

T cells defend our body against infections with infectious pathogens. They require activation by antigen-presenting cells, in particular dendritic cells (DCs). These cells collect antigens in various tissues, migrate to draining lymph nodes, and there activate the T cells. The mechanism of cross-presentation enables DCs to activate CD8+ cytotoxic T cells which is crucial for the immune defense against viruses, some intracellular bacteriae and tumor.

We have previously shown that DCs can destroy harmful CD8+ T cells, and thereby prevent them from damaging our own body. In case of failure of this form of peripheral immune tolerance, which is also known as cross-tolerance, autoimmune diseases arise, such as type I diabetes mellitus or multiple sclerosis. Other forms of peripheral immune tolerance include the induction of regulatory T cells, which can suppress harmful T cells. We are interested in suppression of harmful B cells, and prevention of autoantibody formation, which play important roles in various autoimmune diseases such as glomerulonephritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Our third topic of interest is the role of dendritic cells and other myeloid cells in non-lymphoid tissues, with a special emphasis on the urinary tract and the eye. Here we wish to understand the immune mechanisms underlying diseases such as glomerulonephritis, cytistis/pyelonephritis and adult macula degeneration.


University of Bonn
Institut for Experimental Immunology
Sigmund Freud Str 25
53105 Bonn
Forschung & Lehre