Immune Response in Infectious Diseases –

Regulation between Innate and Adaptive Immunity

[20.01.2022] Congratulations to our PhD student Mara Schwerdtfeger for her first publication

Mara Schwerdtfeger is doing her doctorate in the group of Kathrin Sutter/ Ulf Dittmer at the Institute of Virology of the University Hospital Essen. The paper entitled "Immunotherapy With Interferon α11, But Not Interferon Beta, Controls Persistent Retroviral Infection" was published in the journal frontiers in immunology.




[09.12.2021] Great success at the 20th Research Day of the Medical Faculty for five PhD students of the RTG 1949

At this year's Research Day of the Medical Faculty on the 19th of November, our PhD students Dani Miteva, Kai Pfeifer, Yulia Flores-Martinez, Philine Steinbach and Julia Falkenstein (f.l.t.r) successfully presented their research results. They were able to convince the jury consisting of professors and PostDocs of the Medical Faculty and prevailed against a total of 195 competitors. All five were able to win a presentation award in their group. We are very proud and congratulate our PhD/MD  students!

Dani Miteva - Department of Trauma, Hand & Reconstructive Surgery, Stefanie Flohé‘s Lab: The impact of age and trauma on the functional and metabolic state of CD56 bright NK cells.

Kai Pfeifer - Institute of Medical Microbiology, Astrid Westendorf's lab: Impact of cytomegalovirus infection on the induction and course of colitis in mice.

Yulia Flores-Martinez - Institute of Virology, Mirko Trilling's lab: Nedd8-Activating Enzyme (NAE) is an attractive target for antiviral drugs.

Philine Steinbach - Institute of Medical Microbiology, Torben Knuschke's lab: Respiratory influenza virus infection strengthens cancer specific CD8+ T cell immunity and impedes tumor growth.

Julia Falkenstein - Institute of Medical Microbiology, Wiebke Hansen's lab: Red pulp macrophages are dispensable for T cell priming, but essential for pathogen clearance during Plasmodium yoelii infection.


[17.11.2021] Congratulations to Philine Steinbach for the award for the best presentation at the NDI3 Online Conference.

The conference "New Developments in Immunology, Inflammation and Infection" (NDI3), organized by the PhD students of the Leibniz Lung Center Research Center Borstel, took place from 11-12.11.21 and focused thematically on epidemiology, host-pathogen interaction, and allergy and autoimmunity. PhD student of the RTG 1949 Philine Steinbach, who is supervised by Torben Knuschke at the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University Hospital Essen, gave a talk on "Viral respiratory infection strengthens cancer specific CD8+ T cell immunity and facilitates tumor control." She was honored with the best oral presentation award for her talk.


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.

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Research Training Group 1949
Immune Response in
Infectious Diseases -
Regulation between Innate
and Adaptive Immunity

Prof. Dr. Astrid Westendorf

Deputy: Prof. Dr. Jörg Timm
Deputy: Prof. Dr. Mirko Trilling

Coordination: Dr. Eva van Well

Phone: +49 201 723 35 88