Proteome Analytics

Pathogenic bacteria and viruses utilize and manipulate cellular processes of our immune system. The identification of protein functions in the human immune system that decisively control the progression of infections constitutes the central aim of the research group Cellular Proteomics at the HZI.

Prof Dr Lothar Jänsch


Prof Dr Lothar Jänsch
Head of Research Group

Our Research

Proteins are the functional building blocks in infection and immunity as well as the prime target in drug research. Our research is focusing on the characterization of primary immune cell responses by proteomics. Immune cells establish highly distinct protein networks to mediate protection against pathogens. For that, immune cells constitute signaling or secretory immunological synapses (IS). These synapses orchestrate all cell contact-dependent responses including antigen-recognition and cytokine releases.

Our research aims to complement missing information of how protein networks at synapses control the activity of immune cells (NK, MAIT, Treg). In particular, projects shall discover and characterize novel immune regulatory mechanism that have translational and clinical relevance. 

Immune cell phenotyping combines modern technologies of proteomics with methods of molecular immunology and cell biology. Protein networks at synapses are mainly under the control of post-translational mechanisms (phosphorylation, ubiquitination, vesicle transport, ROS/metabolites) that we directly examine by mass spectrometry.

Central aspects of our research are:

  • Characterize primary immune cell responses in vitro & in vivo by proteomics.
  • Discover immune regulatory mechanisms at immunological synapses.
  • Microbiome-driven mucosal-associated invariant T cell (MAIT) immunity.
  • Individualized phenotyping of immune cells in infection and therapy.