The ultimate goal of ImmunoSensation2 is to decipher the principles that govern the global functionality of the immune system in healthy and diseased states.

Core scientific concepts

  • Immune sensory receptors and immune sensing
  • Identification of components involved in circuit regulation of immune homeostasis
  • Apply mathematical modeling to understand the immune network regulation of systemic immune functions
  • Understand the pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases through functional human immunogenomics
  • Deliver translational precision immunology

Overview of scientific concept

The immune system is essential for maintaining health and plays a pivotal role in most diseases. Great advances have been made in the discipline of innate immunity, one of the most dynamic fields in life sciences. At the core of innate immunity lie pattern recognition receptors (here: immune sensing receptors), most of which have been discovered within the last fifteen years. Immune sensing receptors detect foreign microbial molecules or altered self-molecules from tissue damage.

Immune sensing receptors are at the core of innate immunity

The activation of immune sensing receptors initiates defense and repair mechanisms that normally protect the host. However, dysregulation of these responses can cause a range of inflammatory diseases. With the recent discoveries that particular immune sensing receptors are present in most somatic cells and that the metabolic state and neuronal inputs are tightly integrated, innate immunity has developed beyond the boundaries of classical immunology. This has led the ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence to the concept of the immune sensory system.

Achievements first Cluster funding periode

The immune system is essential for our health, yet its dysregulation is involved in the pathogenesis of many common diseases. With the concept of an immune sensory system, which integrates the sensing functions of immune and non-immune cells, ImmunoSensation has become one of the leading centers for immunological research (Bonn Center of Immunology). Our seminal contributions, especially in the field of innate immunity, include the identification of novel receptor ligands, a new second messenger, new paradigms of cell-to-cell communication, a new classification of macrophage activation, insights into immunopathogenesis of cancer, a new target to restore cognitive function, and the impact of Western diet on trained immunity.

You can find here our final report from the first funding period (2012 - 2018).

Cross-faculty interactions enhance scientific success

The Excellence Cluster addresses this concept by linking innate immunity at the University of Bonn with world-class expertise in sensory systems research (Molecular Sensory Systems, caesar), neurobiology (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, DZNE), and mathematics (Institute of Applied Mathematics). The University of Bonn, the Medical Faculty and the Life & Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES), have already established highly successful cross-faculty interactions, which have led to a number of important discoveries in the field of immune sensing, namely in inflammasome research, immunorecognition of nucleic acids, lectins and dendritic cells, local immune regulation in the liver and the gut, immune cell migration, the endocannabinoid system and the crossroad of metabolism and innate immunity. It is now evident that immune sensing is involved in many of the lifestyle-associated diseases of modern societies, such as atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, neurodegeneration and cancer.

Achievements of the group.