Research Foci

Based on challenges of high clinical and societal relevance and the special competencies of its cooperation partners, HZI has established Research Foci (RF), providing a synergistic, dynamic and flexible framework for the programme.

The Research Foci integrate know-how from different areas of HZI’s research, namely from all three Topics, and can thus address research questions using expertise on pathogens, immune systems and anti-infectives. They offer the flexibility to meet new challenges, e.g. by establishing a new Research Focus when a new urgent problem emerges. Within each Research Focus, HZI scientists pursue the transfer of knowledge from the lab to clinical or pharmaceutical application.

Currently, researchers at HZI and its partner institutions cooperate in seven Research Foci addressing the clinically relevant fields of:

Individualized immune interventions (INDI)

Effective therapies and vaccines are still missing for many pathogens. This is particularly true for vulnerable individuals that are at high risk for severe forms of infection or poor responders to interventions. Thus, the research focus INDI has established experimental and clinical activities to fill the knowledge gaps and develop immune-based approaches to prevent or treat resilient infections in high-risk patients. This research contributes to a better understanding of host responses to infections and vaccinations.

The most important questions for RF INDI are:

  • Why do individuals respond so differently to infections, vaccinations and treatments? What is the contribution of hereditary traits, and what is environmentally dependent?
  • How can studies of vulnerable individuals be used to develop novel immune-based interventions?
  • Which parameters predict the efficacy of immune responses?
  • How to design vaccines and immunotherapies to increase their efficiency of immune protection in vulnerable individuals and populations?

Speaker RF INDI: Prof Dr Jochen Hühn
Deputy Speaker RF INDI: Prof Dr Markus Cornberg

Most relevant Publications

Individualized immune interventions (INDI)

Aliabadi E, Urbanek-Quaing M, Maasoumy B, Bremer B, Grasshoff M, Li Y, Niehaus CE, Wedemeyer H, Kraft ARM, Cornberg M (2021) Impact of HBsAg and HBcrAg levels on phenotype and function of HBV-specific T cells in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Gut doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2021-324646.

Graalmann T, Borst K, Manchanda H, Vaas L, Bruhn M, Graalmann L, Koster M, Verboom M, Hallensleben M, Guzmán CA, Sutter G, Schmidt RE, Witte T, Kalinke U (2021) B cell depletion impairs vaccination-induced CD8+ T cell responses in a type I interferon-dependent manner. Ann Rheum Dis 80:1537-1544.

Chu X, Jaeger M, Beumer J, Bakker OB, Aguirre-Gamboa R, Oosting M, Smeekens SP, Moorlag S, Mourits VP, Koeken VACM, de Bree C, Jansen T, Mathews IT, Dao K, Najhawan M, Watrous JD, Joosten I, Sharma S, Koenen HJPM, Withoff S, Jonkers IH, Netea-Maier RT, Xavier RJ, Franke L, Xu CJ, Joosten LAB, Sanna S, Jain M, Kumar V, Clevers H, Wijmenga C, Netea MG, Li Y (2021) Integration of metabolomics, genomics, and immune phenotypes reveals the causal roles of metabolites in disease. Genome Biol 22:198.

Schulte-Schrepping J, Reusch N, Paclik D, Baßler K, Schlickeiser S, Zhang B, Krämer B, Krammer T, Brumhard S, Bonaguro L, De Domenico E, Wendisch D, Grasshoff M, Kapellos TS, Beckstette M, Pecht T, Saglam A, Dietrich O, Mei HE, Schulz AR, Conrad C, Kunkel D, Vafadarnejad E, Xu CJ, Horne A, Herbert M, Drews A, Thibeault C, Pfeiffer M, Hippenstiel S, Hocke A, Müller-Redetzky H, Heim KM, Machleidt F, Uhrig A, Bosquillon de Jarcy L, Jürgens L, Stegemann M, Glösenkamp CR, Volk HD, Goffinet C, Landthaler M, Wyler E, Georg P, Schneider M, Dang-Heine C, Neuwinger N, Kappert K, Tauber R, Corman V, Raabe J, Kaiser KM, Vinh MT, Rieke G, Meisel C, Ulas T, Becker M, Geffers R, Witzenrath M, Drosten C, Suttorp N, von Kalle C, Kurth F, Händler K, Schultze JL, Aschenbrenner AC, Li Y, Nattermann J, Sawitzki B, Saliba AE, Sander LE, Deutsche COVID-19 OMICS Initiative (DeCOI) (2020). Severe COVID-19 Is Marked by a Dysregulated Myeloid Cell Compartment. Cell 182:1419-1440.

Cornberg M, Pischke S, Müller T, Behrendt P, Piecha F, Benckert J, Todt D, Steinmann E, Papkalla A, von Karpowitz M, Koch A, Lohse A, Hardtke S, Manns MP, Wedemeyer H (2020) Sofosbuvir monotherapy fails to achieve HEV RNA elimination in patients with chronic hepatitis E - The HepNet SofE pilot study. J Hepatology 73:696-699.

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