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ImmunoSensation - the immune sensory system

New promising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

January 13, 2021


Cluster member Florian I. Schmidt together with Paul-Albert König, head of the Nanobody Core Facility and an international team have identified and further developed novel antibody fragments against the SARS coronavirus-2.
These "nanobodies" are much smaller than the classic antibodies used to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections, for example. They therefore penetrate the tissue better and can be produced more easily in larger quantities. The researchers at the University Hospital Bonn have also combined the nanobodies into potentially particularly effective molecules. These attack different parts of the virus simultaneously. The approach could prevent the pathogen from evading the active agent through mutations. The results are published in the journal Science.
"We focus on another group of molecules, the nanobodies," explains Dr. Florian Schmidt, who heads an Emmy Noether group on this promising new field of research at the University of Bonn's Institute of Innate Immunity. "Nanobodies are antibody fragments that are so simple that they can be produced by bacteria or yeast, which is less expensive."
The researchers also exploit another major advantage of nanobodies over antibodies: Their simple structure allows straight forward combinations to form molecules that can be several hundred times more effective. "We have fused two nanobodies that target different parts of the spike protein," explains König. "This variant was highly effective in cell culture. Furthermore, we were able to show that this drastically reduces the probability of the virus to become resistant to the active agent through escape mutations." The researchers are convinced that the molecules may be developed into a novel and promising therapeutic option.
Dioscure Therapeutics, a spin-off of the University of Bonn, will test the nanobodies in clinical studies. The success of the project is mainly based on the excellent cooperation of the participating research groups at the University with national and international cooperation partners, emphasizes Florian Schmidt.


With stem cells against blindness

January 08, 2021


Prof. Volker Busskamp from the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation has received a "Proof of Concept Grant" worth 150,000 euros from the European Research Council (ERC).
This funding line is intended to support scientists in transferring their research results from previous ERC projects into commercial applications. Volker Busskamp and his team are working at the Eye Clinic of the University Hospital Bonn on a technology to rapidly program human stem cells to photoreceptor for retinal research and treating blindness in the future.
Volker Busskamp's research focuses on photoreceptors. These are sensory cells of the retina that convert light into electrochemical signals. These stimuli are processed further and enable that seeing. Photoreceptors have special antennae, so-called outer segments, which are very fragile and are the first to degenerate in many eye diseases causing blindness. Busskamp and his team are aiming to protect and restore the structure and function of such photoreceptor cells.
Based on his ERC Starting Grant, which was launched at the Dresden University of Technology in 2016 and funded with 1.5 million euros, Volker Busskamp and his team have succeeded in developing a technology to precisely differentiate human stem cells into photoreceptor cells. Having an unlimited photoreceptor cell source is essential for drug screening, further basic and biomedical research such as photoreceptor replacement therapies.
Find here the german and english press release.


Focus Funding for ImmunoSensation Member

December 10, 2020


Focus funding on coronavirus
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding 33 research projects on infection with SARS-CoV-2 with a total of 3.6 million euros for a maximum of one year. A team from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation receives this new type of focus funding on COVID-19.
Christian Bode from the Clinic for Anaesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care Medicine and Christoph Wilhelm from the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology and the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 at the University of Bonn are now supported with the project "The role of ketogenesis in the immune response against SARS-CoV-2" as part of the focus funding. It is about whether and how the immune system remains fully functional against the novel corona virus even during a reduced food intake in COVID-19.
Find the german news here.


Metaflammation SFB being funded

November 27, 2020


The German Research Foundation is setting up a new Collaborative Research Center (SFB) at the University of Bonn. The SFB 1454 "Metaflammation and Cellular Programming" deals with the connection between a Western lifestyle and chronic inflammatory diseases - for example, how excessive calorie intake coupled with insufficient exercise can promote the development of cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases or a metabolic syndrome.
The spokesperson is Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz, who is also spokesperson for the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence. The researchers use a holistic approach to investigate why lifestyle or environmental factors such as obesity, smoking or insufficient exercise influence the incorrect programming of immune cells and thus cause "metaflammation" - a chronic inflammation caused by the immune system.
The scientists are studying how cells interact in inflamed tissue and how molecular signaling pathways contribute to the development of diseases during metaflammation.
The SFB brings together the expertise of scientists from the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Philosophy. Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, the Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Research in Cologne and the "Braunschweig Integrated Center of Systems Biology" are also involved.
Most of the sub-projects of the new SFB are being carried out by scientists from the University Hospital Bonn and the Life and Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES).
"A unique selling point of our Collaborative Research Center is the system immunological approach with which we want to understand complex mechanisms that cause diseases," says Prof. Eicke Latz from the Institute for Innate Immunity at the University Hospital Bonn. On the one hand, these findings are intended to produce new therapeutic approaches and the development of drugs. On the other hand, the newly discovered mechanisms behind the development of metaflammation should provide the necessary knowledge to better prevent common diseases that can be traced back to an unhealthy lifestyle and environmental influences.
Media Contact:
Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz
Institute of Innate Immunity
Phone: +49 (0)228 287 51239 (Secretary)


Transdisciplinary success

November 27, 2020


Research across subject boundaries: Researchers from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation have been awarded a prize by the University's Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life and Health" for two special projects in the life sciences. The steering committee of the research area rewards the two project teams with 50,000 euros each for their creative and innovative approaches. Up to three researchers work together on one project. They come from the disciplines of biology, medicine and mathematics.
"The winning projects reflect the strong potentials for innovation within our research area. Researchers from a variety of disciplines contribute their expertise to jointly investigate biomedical questions whose answers can have a lasting effect on society," emphasizes Prof. Waldemar Kolanus, one of the two speakers of the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life and Health" and speaker of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation.
About the winning projects:
Artificial intelligence decodes lymph nodes
Immune cells need to be in the right place in the tissue at the right time in order for them to work properly in the body. In lymph nodes, for example, which are highly complex organized units of the immune system, the correct localization of cells ensures that immune reactions are initiated, maintained and terminated appropriately. However, relatively little is known about the regulatory mechanisms that cause the cells to arrange themselves correctly within the tissue. To find out more about this, biologist Prof. Andreas Schlitzer, physician Dr. Thorsten Send from the ENT Clinic of the University Hospital of Bonn and mathematician Prof. Jan Hasenauer work together closely in their project. Their aim is to study the cellular organization in human cervical lymph nodes, both in a healthy state and during inflammation. To do this, they measure which genes in the cell are transcribed from the DNA into so-called messenger RNA at certain points in time, measure the cells using modern methods and make them visible by means of computer-assisted imaging techniques. As not all processes are experimentally accessible, the researchers additionally model the biological processes using artificial intelligence. In this way, they want to create a multimodal map of cervical lymph nodes with cellular resolution.
Fat in a Petri dish
In their joint project, the two biologists Prof. Dagmar Wachten and Prof. Elvira Mass want to identify the structure of white adipose tissue, the most common adipose tissue in the body. The tissue consists of different cell types, but little is known about how the individual cell types are organized three-dimensionally in the tissue, and how they interact with each other and thereby support the development and function of the white adipose tissue. In their project, the researchers focus on how macrophages, which are cells of the innate immune system, send signals to the neighboring cell types of white adipose tissue and communicate with them. The researchers aim to decipher this communication during the development of white adipose tissue using various molecular biological methods and to visualize it three-dimensionally with the help of modern imaging techniques. They use genetically modified mice and so-called organoids, which are small pieces of tissue produced in the laboratory. The approach is intended to serve as a basis for identifying the influence of macrophages on the biological system of white adipose tissue. This may contribute to the development of functional organoids from stem cells that resemble human white adipose tissue and thereby enable further investigation.


6 Cluster member among Highly Cited Researcher

November 24, 2020


With a total of 14 researchers, the University of Bonn is represented this year in the international ranking of "Highly Cited Researchers". Among them are 6 scientists from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation.
According to the creators of the ranking, the persons on this list of "Highly Cited Researchers" belong to the most influential one percent of their field worldwide. The benchmark is the frequency with which their scientific publications were cited by other researchers in the past decade (period from 2009 to 2019). The ranking is published annually by the "Web of Science Group" and contains around 6,200 scientists in 21 subject categories.
Following members of ImmunoSensation are named 'Highly Cited Researcher':
Monique M. B. Breteler
Michael T. Heneka
Eicke Latz
Mihai G. Netea
Joachim L. Schultze
Andreas Schlitzer

Find the english press release here.


Corona study published in Nature Communications

November 18, 2020


After the preliminary publication on the preprint server medRxiv in May 2020, the study by scientists of the University of Bonn about the first coronavirus outbreak in Germany in the community of Gangelt has been published in the renowned scientific journal Nature Communications.

The study was already pre-published in May 2020 to meet the demand of scientific journals to make findings about COVID-19 available to science and the public as early as possible.

Publication: Infection fatality rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a German community with a super-spreading event; Hendrik Streeck, Bianca Schulte, Beate M. Kümmerer, Enrico Richter, Tobias Höller, Christine Fuhrmann, Eva Bartok, Ramona Dolscheid, Moritz Berger, Lukas Wessendorf, Monika Eschbach-Bludau, Angelika Kellings, Astrid Schwaiger, Martin Coenen, Per Hoffmann, Birgit Stoffel-Wagner, Markus M. Nöthen, Anna-Maria Eis-Hübinger, Martin Exner, Ricarda Maria Schmithausen, Matthias Schmid and Gunther Hartmann; Nature Communications, DOI:

Article on Nature website (

The Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2 provided no funding for the study.


University of Bonn and ImmunoSensation receive Henriette Herz-Price

November 12, 2020


Concept for attracting young international talent awarded
As one of eight universities in Germany, the University of Bonn was being awarded the Henriette Herz Prize by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The university receives 125,000 euros for its concept for attracting internationally highly qualified young researchers.
"For years, attracting top international talent has also been more and more important in the university environment", explains Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, the rector of the University of Bonn. "In the competition for the best talent, it is therefore essential to make our outstanding location advantages visible and to set the threshold for a location change as low as possible. We are very happy about this great success, thanks to which we can now implement this pilot project. "
With a bundle of various measures, international talents will be introduced to the work at the University of Bonn and in particular in the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence. Talented women are also to be addressed in a targeted manner.
With virtual 360 ° campus tours and interactive laboratory visits, researchers can also get to know the excellence location from abroad. A digital roadshow with subsequent career fairs is intended to promote exchange and make it easier to make a decision to work at the University of Bonn. "These digital formats can only ever be the first step," explains Tina Odenthal from the International Office. "It was therefore important for us to include travel grants so that the young talents and their families can come straight to Bonn for one to two weeks. We want to achieve an intensive exchange with the researchers and a removal of possible hurdles for a change. " The pilot project is of great importance for the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence. "For us as a cluster of excellence, recruiting top international talent is a particular concern," emphasizes Dr. Catherine Drescher from ImmunoSensation. "With this recruitment concept, we aim at a targeted exchange with talents and a knowledge transfer that is enriching for all parties."
Find the german press release here.


Genetic disposition protects immune system from aging

November 10, 2020


A genetic disposition that plays a role in the development of the heart in the embryo also appears to play a key role in the human immune system. This is shown by a recent study led by the University of Bonn. When the gene is not active enough, the immune defense system undergoes characteristic changes, causing it to lose its effectiveness. Doctors speak of an aging immune system, as a similar effect can often be observed in older people. In the medium term, the results may contribute to reduce these age-related losses. The study is published in the journal Nature Immunology. 

The gene with the cryptic abbreviation CRELD1 has so far been a mystery to science. It was known to play an important role in the development of the heart in the embryo. However, CRELD1 remains active after birth: Studies show that it is regularly produced in practically all cells of the body. For what purpose, however, was previously completely unknown.

The Bonn researchers used a novel approach to answer this question. Nowadays, scientific studies with human participants often include so-called transcriptome analyses. By these means, one can determine which genes are active to what extent in the respective test subjects. Researchers are also increasingly making the data they obtain available to colleagues, who can then use it to work on completely different matters. "And this is exactly what we did in our study," says Dr. Anna Aschenbrenner from the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn and member of the ImmunoSensation² Cluster of Excellence.
Find the english press release here.
Publication: Lorenzo Bonaguro, Maren Köhne, Lisa Schmidleithner, Jonas Schulte-Schrepping, Stefanie Warnat-Herresthal, Arik Horne, Paul Kern, Patrick Günther, Rob ter Horst, Martin Jaeger, Souad Rahmouni, Michel Georges, Christine S. Falk, Yang Li, Elvira Mass, Marc Beyer, Leo A. B. Joosten Mihai G. Netea, Thomas Ulas, Joachim L. Schultze and Anna C. Aschenbrenner: CRELD1 modulates homeostasis of the immune system in mice and humans. Nature Immunology;

Media contact:
Dr. Anna C. Aschenbrenner
LIMES-Institut der Universität Bonn
Tel.: +49 (0228) 73-62777 or +49 (0228) 4330-2690 


Honorary doctorate to Professor Jacques Miller

November 09, 2020


The University of Bonn Faculty of Medicine has awarded an honorary doctorate to renowned Australia-based immunologist Prof. Dr. Jacques Francis Albert Pierre Miller. The award ceremony was conducted online due to the corona pandemic, held as part of the Digital Cluster Science Days 2020 organized by the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation.
The ceremony took place via simultaneous videoconferencing between the lecture hall of Biomedical Center I on the Venusberg Campus and Melbourne, Australia, where Professor Miller (89) is Professor Emeritus at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. One of Miller’s former doctoral students, Professor Robyn Slattery, presented the diploma following the ceremonial pronouncement of awarding of the honorary doctorate by Professor Bernd Weber as Dean representing the University of Bonn. Speeches in honor of the recipient were made by Leibniz Prize winner Professor Christian Kurts and by Professor Sammy Bedoui, Bonn University Ambassador in Melbourne, Australia.
The board of the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence had suggested to confer the honorary degree in recognition of Professor Miller’s outstanding achievement in the field of immunology. Jaques Miller earned wide scientific attention in the 1960s for proving that the thymus is a critically important component of the immune system as the organ where T cells are formed. The existence of T cells, as well as their key role in immunological memory against bacteria, viruses and cancer had not been appreciated prior to this discovery.
Congratulations Jaques Miller for this honorary degree and the Cluster ImmunoSensation is happy to have such close ties with its partners the University of Melbourne in operating The Bonn and Melbourne Research and Graduate School (Bo&MeRanG) for the Immunosciences. 
Find the press release (english) here.
Media contact:Prof. Dr. Christian KurtsPhone: +49 (0) 228 287-11050Email:


Liver cells and western diet - regulating inflammation

November 03, 2020


A high fat Western-style diet leads to hepatic steatosis that can progress to liver cancer. Christoph Thiele (LIMES Institute) from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation  and his colleagues used click chemistry-based metabolic tracing and microscopy, to study the interaction between Kupffer cells and hepatocytes ex vivo. The mechanism that leads to the development of steatosis upon nutritional overload is complex and only partially understood. Their study was recently published in the Journal of Cells and could show that inflammatory signals from liver cells upon western diet can lead to steatosis. The publication was shown on the cover of the journals edition in October.

Kupffer Cells Sense Free Fatty Acids and Regulate Hepatic Lipid Metabolism in High-Fat Diet and Inflammation. Diehl et al., Cells (2020) 9(10), 2258,


Our new intranet / wiki is online!

September 08, 2020


A new wiki/ intranet for the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation is now available for our member:
Thereby we use Confluence form the University of Bonn, where some Uni institutions (like the HRZ or Human Resources Development) with their areas can already be found.
In our new wiki / intranet information about our funding opportunities; Software and Hardware within the Cluster or important documentes for e.g. travel expenses can be found.
Access to Confluence is available to all employees with an Uni-ID.The access to the area for the cluster is limited, that means you will not see the area in the overview at the beginning.
Only after you have registered in the following form and we have activated your account you will have access to our area.
In the attachment you will find an FAQ with all relevant links and details about the requirements for usage as well as further information (for example contents of the area).
If you have any questions or feedback regarding our Confluence area, please feel free to contact us.We are happy if the new wiki is used a lot and we can encourage a good exchange!


COVIMMUNE being funded

August 24, 2020


A new consortium COVIMMUNE under the direction of Prof. Eicke Latz, speaker of the cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation is being funded with around 2 Million Euros by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).The project "Understanding divergent host reactions to SARS-CoV-2


COVID-19: Immune system gone astray

August 07, 2020


Contrary to what has been generally assumed so far, a severe course of COVID-19 does not solely result in a strong immune reaction – rather, the immune response is caught in a continuous loop of activation and inhibition.
Experts from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the University of Bonn, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), along with colleagues from a nationwide research network, present these findings in the scientific journal "Cell".
Most patients infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 show mild or even no symptoms. However, 10 to 20 percent of patients develop pneumonia during the course of COVID-19 disease, some of them with life-threatening consequences. "There is still not very much known about the causes of these severe courses of the disease. The high inflammation levels measured in those affected actually indicate a strong immune response. Clinical findings, however, rather indicate an ineffective immune response. This is a contradiction," says Joachim Schultze, professor at the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation. "We therefore assumed that immune cells are produced in large quantities, but that their function is defective. Therefore, we analyzed the blood of patients with varying degrees of COVID-19 severity," explains Leif Erik Sander, Professor of Infection Immunology and Senior Physician at Charité's Medical Department, Division of Infectious Deseases and Respiratory Medicine.
The investigations involved single-cell OMICs technologies, a collective term for modern laboratory methods used to determine, for example, the gene activity and the amount of proteins on the level of individual cells - thus with very high resolution. Using this data, the scientists characterized the properties of immune cells in the blood - so-called white blood cells.
The researchers found out that neutrophils and monocytes were activated during a case of mild disease courses and could thereby initiate and effective immune response. In contrast, the situation is different in severe cases of COVID-19, where neutrophils and monocytes are only partially activated and they do not function properly. There are more immature cells that have a rather inhibitory effect on the immune response. The findings indicate that the immune system stands in its own way during severe courses of COVID-19.
"If the case of excessive dysfunctional immune cells, as our study shows, one would however very much wish to suppress or reprogram such cells.", says Anna Aschenbrenner LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn. Jacob Nattermann, Professor at the Medical Clinic I of the University Hospital Bonn and head of a research group at the DZIF, further explains: "Drugs that act on the immune system might be helpful. But this is a delicate balancing act. After all, it's not a matter of shutting down the immune system completely, but only those cells that slow down themselves, so to speak. In this case these are the immature cells. We can possibly learn from cancer research. There is experience with therapies that target these cells."
Find here the german and here the english press release.
Original publication: Severe COVID-19 is marked by a dysregulated myeloid cell compartment, Schulte-Schrepping et al., CELL (2020), DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.001


How tumor cells evade the immune system

August 04, 2020


A new study by the University of Bonn and research institutions in Australia and Switzerland shows the strategies that tumor cells use to avoid being attacked by the imune system.
The method developed for this work contributes to a better understanding of the "arms race" between immune defense and disease. The results could help to improve modern therapeutic approaches and were published in 'Immunity'.
Cancer cells differ from healthy body cells - by their appearance, by their behavior, by the genes that are active in them. Often this does not go unnoticed: the immune system registers that something is wrong and sends its troops to fight the tumor. However, this answer is often too weak to keep cancer at bay in the long term or even to destroy it. Scientists have therefore been trying to strengthen the immune system's response for many years.
Many tumors have developed strategies that can help them escape the immune system. "In our study, we examined what these strategies look like and what they depend on," explains Dr. Maike Effern from the Institute of Experimental Oncology at the University Hospital Bonn. "We focused on melanoma cells, i.e. black skin cancer."
"When T cells were directed against genes that are responsible for melanoma-typical traits, we observed that the cancer cells changed their appearance and suppressed these genes over time," explains Effern's colleague Dr. Nicole Glodde. "So they hid from the immune system."
"Our work may open the way to more effective immunotherapy," hopes Prof. Dr. Michael Hölzel, head of the Institute of Experimental Oncology at the University Hospital Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation at the University of Bonn. "The method we developed also allows us to better understand the processes by which cancer cells slip under the radar of the immune system."
You can find the german press release here.
Publication: Maike Effern, Nicole Glodde, Matthias Braun, Jana Liebing, Helena N. Boll, Michelle Yong, Emma Bawden, Daniel Hinze, Debby van den Boorn-Konijnenberg, Mila Daoud, Pia Aymans, Jennifer Landsberg, Mark J. Smyth, Lukas Flatz, Thomas Tüting, Tobias Bald, Thomas Gebhardt, Michael Hölzel: Adoptive T cell therapy targeting different gene products reveals diverse and context-dependent immune evasion in melanoma. Immunity
Prof. Dr. Michael Hölzel
Institute of Experimental Oncology, Unversity Hospital Bonn
Phone: 0228/287-12170


Cluster goes Charity

August 03, 2020


Cluster goes Charity!
All of our cluster member were invited to collect bootle caps, which have have a certain amount of recyclable materials which can be reused.
Similar to gold this resource will be recycled and the earnings will be donated to the FÖRDERKREIS BONN E.V..
For more than 35 years, the Förderkreis Bonn e.V. has been at the side of young
patients of the oncology ward of the University Children’s Hospital Bonn. From overnight accommodation close to the clinic for parents, games, handicrafts, workshops or holiday periods for patients and their siblings, psycho-oncological and psychosocial counselling, palliative care to support for the paediatric oncology ward. (More information:
We want to say - Thank you! - to all our members who donated such a massive amount of bottle caps.
We are still happy to receive any bottle cap in our office located in the basement of BMZI.


Funding success for international Research Training Group

July 20, 2020


Joint project by Universities of Bonn and Melbourne extended until 2025
Launched in 2016, the international Research Training Group of the Universities of Bonn and Melbourne will now continue to receive funding until 2025.
This was confirmed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The joint project facilitates the training of young researchers in an excellent academic environment at two globally distinguished research locations. The Research Training Group examines the role of certain immune cells in infections, tumor diseases, autoimmunity and vaccinations. The international Research Training Group allows doctoral students to establish an international network early on. The doctoral students are part of a structured program in which they are mentored by two senior researchers in Bonn and Melbourne. Of an average of three years of doctoral studies, the doctoral students spend one year at the partner university. Graduates are awarded a joint PhD of the Universities of Bonn and Melbourne.
"We are very happy that we can continue our successful cooperation. With this extension, the DFG is honoring the added value of international partnerships and the performance of our doctoral students. The entire team is very proud of this success," says Prof. Dr. Christian Kurts, Leibniz laureate and speaker of the Research Training Group in Bonn.
Obtaining a doctorate at the only German immunological Cluster of Excellence "ImmunoSensation" can be even more attractive for young researchers when they are given the opportunity to conduct one year of their research at one of Australia's leading universities. This is exactly what the German-Australian Research Training Group "Bonn & Melbourne Research and Graduate School Immunosciences" (ITRG 2168) has been offering since funding was confirmed by the DFG in April 2016.
Find the here the german and english press release.
Contact:Prof. Dr. Christian KurtsPhone: +49 228 287-11050Email:


Newest Edition of our Newsletter is out

July 15, 2020


You can check our newest edition of our Newsletter out here:
Or by clicking here.
Enjoy reading and subscribe to our Newsletter if you want to be the first one to receive it.
Your Cluster Coordination Office


Possible SARS-CoV-2 mass testing with new technology

June 29, 2020


Prof. Dr. Jonathan Schmid-Burgk heads the new working group for "Functional Immunogenomics" at the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology at the University Hospital Bonn. As part of the newly established professorship and management position, the 34-year-old genome researcher is investigating the complex interplay between genes and our immune system. With the help of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), he is developing new techniques for protein analysis in living human cells with programmable gene scissors. The aim is to accelerate the modification of the human genome in order to analyze it. Prof. Schmid-Burgk is currently working on a mass test for COVID-19 using the LAMP-Seq process he developed. He brings his new techniques to the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation at the University of Bonn. Following his doctorate, for which he received the doctoral award from the Bonn University Society in 2017, his previous academic career led Prof. Schmid-Burgk to Cambridge (USA). There he spent three and a half years researching at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard - funded by a grant from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).


A new tool to study signaling with the help of nanobodies

June 27, 2020


Combining optogenetics with nanobody technology
A new study of the groups from Dagmar Wachten and Florian I. Schmidt from the Institute of Innate Immunity shows the capability of combining two different techniques for studying unknown processes. The results were published in the Journal eLife. Using a nanobody-based targeting approach in combination with optogenetic tools could overcome the loss of protein function observed after fusion to ciliary targeting sequences. Hereby the ciliary signaling and function can be studied in mammalian cells an in vivo in zebrafish.
Compartmentalization of cellular signaling forms the molecular basis of cellular behavior. The primary cilium constitutes a subcellular compartment that orchestrates signal transduction independent from the cell body. Ciliary dysfunction causes severe diseases, termed ciliopathies. Analyzing ciliary signaling has been challenging due to the lack of tools investigate ciliary signaling. We functionally localized modifiers of cAMP signaling, the photo-activated adenylate cyclase bPAC and the light-activated phosphodiesterase LAPD, and the cAMP biosensor mlCNBD-FRET to the cilium. Using this approach, we studied the contribution of spatial cAMP signaling in controlling cilia length. Combining optogenetics with nanobody-based targeting will pave the way to the molecular understanding of ciliary function in health and disease.
You can find the publication here.