Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology
Medical Faculty, University of Bonn University Hospital of Bonn Sigmund-Freud-Strasse 25 53127 Bonn
Prof. Hörauf is internationally renowned for his work in Tropical Medicine, in particular for pioneering new drug treatments against filariasis (a group of neglected tropical diseases). The new treatment exploits an endosymbiosis between worms and bacterial endosymbionts called Wolbachia, which are susceptible to some classes of antibiotics. Prof. Hörauf’s group was the first to characterize a TLR2 ligand from Wolbachia and established that blindness in onchocerciasis (or ‘river blindness’) is dependent on innate immune reactions against Wolbachia. They were the first to detect regulatory T cells in humans in an infection. Modulation of host’s immune responses is another focus of Prof. Hörauf’s group, demonstrating that filarial infection and filarial antigen treatment protects against type 1 diabetes onset and improves glucose tolerance during obesity. Using expression quantitative trait loci analysis, the role of genetic factors in modulating cellular responses (to filarial antigens) and eventually filariae-caused pathology devel-opment is currently investigated. Beyond immunology, Achim Hoerauf has preclinically developed 4 new drugs against human filariasis which are now in clinical phase 1 and 2 studies, together with DNDi and pharma partners such as Abbvie, Bayer, and Esai.