Subscribe to our newsletter

Follow us and receive latest news of our actitivies and members.

ImmunoSensation - the immune sensory system

Success in the "Advanced Clinician Scientist" proposal

March 29, 2021


Researching medical professionals receive funding from the BMBF
The Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) will be in the next five years part of the tender "Advanced Clinician Scientist" (ACS) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the areas of immunopathogenesis and organ dysfunction as well as brain and neurodegeneration. The Medical Faculty and the UKB will receive around 9,000,000 euros for the project, with which the "ACCENT" (Advanced Clinician Scientist Program Bonn) will be set up. The innovative concept supports research specialists with a focus on immunology, neurosciences, genetics and epidemiology as well as cardiovascular diseases and oncology. For this purpose, in addition to their clinical work, they are closely linked to research associations such as Collaborative Research Centers and the ImmunoSensation² cluster of excellence through co-affiliation with research institutes.
The aim of the BMBF initiative is to increase career prospects in research and health care through the funding of Advanced Clinician Scientists (ACS) positions in university medicine throughout Germany. To this end, 12 ACS positions will be created in Bonn over the next three years. In addition, two other positions in Bonn are financed by the ImmunoSsensation² excellence cluster. In addition to interdisciplinary work and individual offers in the areas of coaching, mentoring and management training, ACCENT also focuses on equal opportunities and the compatibility of work and family. This ensures, among other things, that at least 50 percent of the participants are female.
Co-spokeswoman Prof. Annkristin Heine and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation says: "For the participating physicians, our program represents a great opportunity to both sharpen their scientific profile and their clinical goals, thanks to the 50 percent exemption from clinical work in favor of research follow. Support with administrative tasks, cooperation with basic science institutes and structured career development are specifically promoted. "


Spring Newsletter Out

March 08, 2021


Dear ImmunoSensation Friends,
our first Newsletter this year is out for you to read.
You can find lots of information regarding new members, funding success and past events.
Download the Newsletter Edition here.


Postdoc Innovation Fund Symposium

February 28, 2021


In 2020 we invited all postdoctoral researchers who work in the group of an ImmunoSensation member and do not yet lead an independent research group to apply for an open call of an ImmunoSensation Postdoc Innovation Fund.
We funded up to 10.000 Euro for own innovative ideas, including, but not limited to:
  • new research topics
  • joint projects between two or more different groups
  • interdisciplinary projects
  • international collaborations
  • etablishment of new networks

The funding period was from July 1st 2020 until December 31st 2020.
This Friday, February 26th 2021, we invited all awardees to present their results, which they obtained during the funding period.
21 projects were funded in the ImmunoSensation PostDoc Innovation Fund and presented during the symposium.
Lots of great findings and results were presented and during break out sessions lively discussion took place.
We thank all awardees and atendees for making this online symposium such a great success.


Less inflammation with a traditional diet

February 12, 2021


Urban Tanzanians have a more activated immune system compared to their rural counterparts. The difference in diet appears to explain this difference: in the cities, people eat a more western style diet, while in rural areas a traditional diet is more common. A team of researchers from Radboud


Prestigious award for Elvira Mass

January 27, 2021


Insights into organ development: Elvira Mass from the University of Bonn receives Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers
The course for organ health is set in the early embryo. For this finding, Prof. Elvira Mass, a scientist from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation, receives the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers, which is endowed with 60,000 euros. In her research, she showed that specialized immune cells from the yolk sac accompany organ development and contribute to maintaining their health throughout life.
For Elvira Mass, impaired function of these immune cells might cause many diseases. Once a year, the Paul Ehrlich Foundation honors a young scientist for outstanding achievements in biomedicine. The prestigious prize is named after the physician and researcher Paul Ehrlich († August 1915) and the chemist Ludwig Darmstaedter († October 1927). This year, the choice fell on developmental biologist Prof. Elvira Mass from the Life and Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES) at the University of Bonn. "Elvira Mass's research has provided a completely new perspective on the role of cells of the innate immune system regulating embryonic development of tissues and organs," says Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn and supervisor of the doctoral thesis of Elvira Mass. "Her outstanding achievement is also reflected by fact that she has now won two of the most prestigious awards for junior researchers in Germany within a year. This is something she can be very proud of, and of course the University of Bonn as well."
Last year, Elvira Mass had already been awarded the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize of the German Research Foundation. "With her high-level scientific work, Elvira has particularly enriched our understanding of the role of macrophages in brain development and function," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Waldemar Kolanus, Managing Director of the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn. "Through skill and commitment, she very quickly established a high reputation in the life science scene at the University of Bonn, thus demonstrating real leadership qualities in her young years. We at the LIMES Institute congratulate her on this renewed, fantastic award," he says.
In the future, Mass will investigate which environmental factors change the epigenetic imprinting of the yolk sac-derived tissue-resident macrophages and how these changes affect the health of organs. To this end, she will use a recently awarded "Starting Grant" from the European Research Council (1.5 million euros in funding) to study, among other things, the influence of nanoplastics on macrophages.


ImmunoSensation scientist discover differences in fat metabolism

January 26, 2021


The liver processes coconut oil differently than rapeseed oil
Coconut oil has increasingly found its way into German kitchens in recent years, although its alleged health benefits are controversial. Scientists at the University of Bonn from the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation have now been able to show how it is metabolized in the liver. Their findings could also have implications for the treatment of certain diarrheal diseases. The results are published in the journal Molecular Metabolism.
Coconut oil differs from rapeseed or olive oil in the fatty acids it contains. Fatty acids consist of carbon atoms bonded together, usually 18 in number. In coconut oil, however, most of these chains are much shorter and contain only 8 to 12 carbon atoms. In the liver, these medium-chain fatty acids are partly converted into storage fats (triglycerides). Exactly how this happens was largely unknown until now. The new study now sheds light on this: "There are two enzymes in the liver for storage fat synthesis, DGAT1 and DGAT2," explains Dr. Klaus Wunderling of the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn. "We have now seen in mouse liver cells that DGAT1 processes mainly medium-chain fatty acids and DGAT2 processes long-chain ones."
"The enzymes therefore seem to prefer different chain lengths," concludes Prof. Dr. Christoph Thiele of the LIMES Institute, who led the study and is also a member of the Cluster of Excellence Immunosensation. Surprising side effect whether fatty acids in the liver are used at all to build up storage fat depends on the current energy requirement. When the body needs a lot of energy at a particular moment, the so-called beta oxidation is fired up - the fatty acids are "burned" straight away, so to speak. Medically, this metabolic pathway is of great interest. In diabetes, for instance, it might be useful to reduce beta-oxidation. 
Also interesting is a finding published a few years ago by Austrian and Dutch scientists: They had studied patients suffering from chronic diarrheal diseases. In 20 of them, they found alterations in the DGAT1 gene that rendered it nonfunctional. "We now want to find out whether the impaired processing of medium-chain fatty acids is responsible for the digestive complaints," says Wunderling. This is because the DGAT1 enzyme is active not only in the liver but also in the intestine. Perhaps this is why its disorder causes diarrhea when sufferers consume medium-chain fatty acids.
Funding: The study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Excellence Strategy. It additionally received funding from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) of the Republic of Austria.


School Project about Healthy Food and the Immune System

January 21, 2021


Learning about nutrition in a school podcast
Young researchers Dr. Anette Christ and Dr. Elisabeth Jurack at the University of Bonn receive 10,000 euros from the BMBF and "Wissenschaft im Dialog" for their idea: How do we eat in the 21st century?
Bonn schoolchildren will soon be able to deal with this question together with scientists in a podcast. The biologists Dr. Anette Christ and Dr. Elisabeth Jurack from the University of Bonn impressed with their communication idea in the Germany-wide university competition "Show your research!" And are among the ten winning teams who will each receive 10,000 euros for implementing their ideas.
The aim of the competition launched by the "Science in Dialogue" initiative this year is to promote projects that deal with dwindling resources, environmental pollution and the climate crisis and to enter into dialogue with the public. The competition is thematically embedded in the Science Year 2020 | 21 - Bioeconomy. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the project.
In their now award-winning project "Nutrition in a School Podcast", Dr. Anette Christ and Dr. Elisabeth Jurack from the Cluster of Excellence "ImmunoSensation2" at the University of Bonn are developing a podcast together with pupils from the Liebfrauen School in Bonn, in which the participants learn how the bioeconomy and a healthy diet are related. The young people don't keep their knowledge to themselves, but share it in eight self-produced podcast episodes on podcast platforms such as or Spotify.


Immune system mechanism against filarial larvae

January 20, 2021


Researchers at the University of Bonn investigate immune system mechanism against filarial larvae Filariae, slender but sometimes up to 70 centimeters long nematodes, can set up residence in their host quite tenaciously and cause serious infectious diseases in the tropics. The tiny larvae of the


COVID-19 has multiple faces

January 20, 2021


ImmunoSensation scientists present latest findings on the coronavirus in "Genome Medicine"
According to current studies, the COVID-19 disease which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus comprises at least five different variants. These differ in how the immune system responds to the infection. Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn, together with other experts from Germany, Greece and the Netherlands, present these findings in the scientific journal "Genome Medicine".
Their results may help to improve the treatment of the disease. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 can manifest in different ways: Many of those affected do not even seem to notice the presence of the virus in their bodies. In other cases, the effects can include flu-like symptoms and neurological disorders to severe and even life-threatening pneumonia. "The classification of COVID-19 into mild and severe courses falls short. The disease is much more diverse, and for each affected person, one certainly would want a therapy that is tailored to fit. What helps one person may be ineffective for another," said Dr. Anna Aschenbrenner, a scientist of the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn and the DZNE's Systems Medicine division. "In this respect, it is obvious to want to understand what underlies these differences. If we can pin them down to scientific criteria and categorize patients accordingly, this increases the chances of effective treatment. We therefore took a look at the immune system. Because many studies are indicating that its response to infection with SARS-CoV-2 plays a crucial role in the course of COVID-19," said Aschenbrenner, who is a member of the "ImmunoSensation2" Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn.
Five Manifestations
"First of all, it is important to note that the expression patterns of immune cells in people with COVID-19 differ fundamentally from those in healthy individuals. The gene activity we can detect in the blood is strongly altered. But there are also striking differences among patients. On this basis, we have identified five different groups. We refer to them as molecular phenotypes," said Dr. Thomas Ulas, an expert in bioinformatics at the DZNE. "Two of them represent severe disease courses. The others have more moderate symptoms." The classification was based solely on transcriptome data. Only in retrospect, molecular phenotypes were matched to registered clinical courses.
COVID-19 Is Different
The researchers used their findings to compare COVID-19 with other diseases and also with data from healthy individuals. For this purpose, they were able to draw on data from the "Rhineland Study" - a population study conducted by the DZNE in the Bonn area - as well as on data from scientific databases. For the comparison, a large spectrum of diseases was considered: including viral infections such as influenza, infections with HIV and Zika, bacterial infections such as tuberculosis and bacterial sepsis, and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. "All five COVID-19 phenotypes are different from the other diseases we studied," Ulas said, summing up the findings. "Apparently, COVID-19 has a unique biology that is reflected in the gene activity of immune cells in the blood. Insofar, expression analysis could be used to diagnose COVID-19. This would be an alternative or complement to current methods."


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.


Cluster member publishes in PNAS

January 08, 2021


Intelligence deficit: Conclusion from the mouse to the human being
The group from Peter Krawitz, member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation create an animal model for studying GPI anchor deficiencies Impaired intelligence, movement disorders and developmental delays are typical for a group of rare diseases that belong to GPI anchor deficiencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics used genetic engineering methods to create a mouse that mimics these patients very well. Studies in this animal model suggest that in GPI anchor deficiencies, a gene mutation impairs the transmission of stimuli at the synapses in the brain. This may explain the impairments associated with the disease. The results are now published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)".
"GPI anchor deficiencies comprise a group of rare diseases that primarily cause intellectual deficits and developmental delays," explains Prof. Dr. Peter Krawitz from the Institute for Genomic Statistics and Bioinformatics at the University Hospital Bonn, who started his research at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and continued it at the University Hospital Bonn.


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: