Bachelor Thesis


The Research Group Immune Regulation offers a Bachelor Thesis for students in the fields of Immunology, Biology, Biotechnology or Biochemistry. Topic: Pre-clinical investigations on the therapeutic effects of the plant hormone abscisic acid on neutrophils from COPD patients.


Project background

COPD is a complex chronic lung ailment that is characterized by chronic airflow obstruction, small airway and vascular remodelling and mucus over-production. The pathogenesis of COPD is mostly mediated by neutrophils that results in the loss of alveolar integrity and alveolar space enlargement. To obtain improved lung function, COPD is still managed by two main classes of drugs (ß agonists and glucocorticoids) for relaxing airway smooth muscle cells and suppressing the ongoing chronic state of inflammation. We propose to evaluate the therapeutic potential of the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) as a new therapeutic option for the treatment of COPD.  

ABA is an isoprenoid phytohormone that is evolutionarily conserved between plants and mammals. Interestingly, in mammals ABA was shown to be produced by some immune cell subsets like activated granulocytes and monocytes and has been recognized to exert a significant role in modulating various immune responses.

Aims of the thesis

The overall aim of the thesis is to investigate the therapeutic potential of ABA in the treatment of COPD. Here, we intend to focus on one particular cell type, specifically neutrophils, which is one among the key inflammatory cells involved in the sustained COPD pathogenesis. In order to gain knowledge on ABA-mediated therapeutic potential in COPD, we intend to study the functional activities of ABA on neutrophils. In this project, we will address the in vitro effects of ABA on functional aspects of primary neutrophils including (a) changes in the cell surface markers; (b) degranulation capacity; (c) production of neutrophil-associated mediators; (d) production of reactive oxygen species, (e) chemotaxis. For this study, blood samples from 5-10 COPD patients and 5-10 normal controls will be investigated. 


(1) Isolation and culturing of primary human blood neutrophils; 

(2) Flow cytometry (FACS) for phenotyping of blood neutrophils and production of ROS from COPD patients and controls; 

(3) Enzyme linked Immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detecting pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines; 

(4) Transwell Assay for analyzing neutrophil migration


Hauptsitz Braunschweig



as soon as possible



If you are interested to work on this project please contact Dr. Priya Sakthivel via email: priya.sakthivel@helmholtz-hzi.de