Immune Response in Infectious Diseases –

Regulation between Innate and Adaptive Immunity

Upcoming Lecture

May 15, 2018

Title to be announced

Prof. Dr. Thomas Clavel

Institute of Medical Microbiology
Functional Microbiome Research Group
University Hospital RWTH Aachen


Paper of the Month (DGHM)

The German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM) elected the following publication as "Paper of the Month":

Intestinal helminth infection drives carcinogenesis in colitis-associated colon cancer

Pastille E, Frede A, McSorley HJ, Gräb J, Adamczyk A, Kollenda S, Hansen W, Epple M, Buer J, Maizels RM, Klopfleisch R, Westendorf AM.


Evidence-based epidemiological studies indicate an inverse correlation between the incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and exposure to parasitic worms of the gastrointestinal tract (helminths). Consequently, helminths were tested in the therapy of IBD patients, resulting in clinical amelioration of the disease due to the induction of an immunosuppressive microenvironment. However, some infection-related cancers can be attributed to helminth infection, probably due to the generation of a microenvironment that might be conductive to the initiation and development of cancer. In the present study, we aimed to unravel the apparently controversial function of helminths in a mouse model of colitis-associated colon cancer. We show that helminth infection in the onset of colitis and colitis-associated colon cancer does not ameliorate colonic inflammation but activates intestinal immune cells that further facilitate tumor development. Therefore, a better understanding of mechanisms by which helminths modulate host immune responses in the gut should be defined precisely before application of helminths in the therapy of autoimmune diseases such as IBD.

Westendorf Pastille

​F.l.t.r: First author, Dr. Eva Pastille, and last author, Prof. Dr. Astrid Westendorf.

Symposium Infection & Immunology 2017

​​​​​15 - 16 May 2017, Kamp-Lintfort

​​​​​Retreat 2017 Gruppe 829x312 Px

Scientific Excellence Award

In the course of the Infection & Immunology Symposium of the Research Training Group 1949, which took place from 15 to 16 May 2017 in Kamp-Lintfort, four PhD students were awarded with the Scientific Excellence Award. The award honoured their excellent PhD studies.

The following PhD students received the award: Alexandra Adamczyk, M.Sc., Institute of Medical Microbiology, and Piyush Sharma, M.Sc., Institute of Immunology, both Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen, as well as Dennis Lapuente, PhD, Department of Molecular and Medical Virology, Ruhr University Bochum, and Tina Senff, M.Sc., Institute of Virology, University Hospital Düsseldorf.

Scientific Award 2017

​​f.l.t.r.: Tina Senff, Dennis Lapuente, Alexandra Adamczyk, Piyush Sharma

Our field of research

Rtg 1949 Titel Graphik

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.