14 May 2019
Title to be announced
Prof. Dr. Luka Cicin-Sain
Immune Aging and Chronic Infections
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research
Networking event for female early career scientists
On 10th December 2018 female early career scientists of the RTG 1949 met with two senior female scientists at a so called Kaminabend, an informal networking event. The event was designed with the aim to create a casual atmosphere, in which the young PhD students could meet and discuss career aspects with experienced scientists. "We are very happy that Prof. Stefanie Flohé and Prof. Anke Hinney, two successful researchers and experts in gender equality, accepted our invitation and shared their experiences in academic life with our young female researchers", said Prof. Astrid Westendorf, spokesperson of the RTG 1949. "This networking event was a very good opportunity to get to know two experienced female scientists closer. It was very nice to chat in a familiar atmosphere about successes, but also about problems that women might encounter along the scientific path," added Hanna Abberger, PhD student in the RTG. Despite the high number of female students and PhD students in MINT subjects, the number of women decreases the higher up the career level. As a consequence, women are underrepresented when it comes to filling professorial chairs. Role models such as Prof. Flohé and Prof. Hinney showed the young women that it is possible to reconcile research and family successfully.
Graduate student designs journal cover
The publication „Imaging of cytotoxic antiviral immunity while considering the 3R principle of animal research” in the Journal of Molecular Medicine by our graduate student Lucas Otto was chosen for the cover picture in the April issue 2018. Shown is a look into the tibial bone marrow of a living Friend retrovirus infected mouse during an ongoing adaptive immune response. Virus-specific CD8+ T cells (red) and their migration tracks (yellow lines) are depicted together with the bone surface (white) and the blood vessels (cyan). Besides the imaging aspect, the paper also offers a valuable cell transfer method that reduces the number of donor animals substantially.
Our field of research
Infectious diseases are worldwide among the ten leading causes of mortality. Despite intensive research efforts, effective therapies or prophylactic vaccines are available only for a limited number of pathogens. A detailed understanding of the pathomechanisms of infectious diseases is most important for the development of future therapeutic interventions. Traditionally, the host response to pathogens is divided into the innate and the adaptive immune response.
To date, research with a specific focus on the interaction between innate and adaptive immunity is still underrepresented. The scientific goal of the proposed Research Training Group (RTG) is to fill this gap by bringing together highly qualified researchers working on different aspects of the immune response in various infectious diseases or in vaccine development against pathogens. The mutual scientific question is: How is the adaptive immune response against pathogens modulated by the innate immune response, and how does the adaptive immune response influence innate immunity? The training program will ensure long-term progress in this important research field in the Rhine-Ruhr Area and provide the PhD students with fundamental education in the science of infection and immunity.