Systems-oriented immunology and inflammation research

The idea that death can save lives is indeed a truism, but for complex organisms there is a significant protective mechanism in the background. Apoptosis is the name for the “suicide programme”, with which injured, old, mutated or dangerous cells can be deactivated in human tissue. But this suicide program can be misused by pathogens – or it can get out of control. You can read here how scientists are seeking to understand and make use of programmed cellular death in a cooperative research group within the Institute for Molecular and Clinical Immunology at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg and the HZI.

Prof Dr Ingo Schmitz

“My research concentrates on molecular signaling mechanisms, with which immune cells can decide between life and death.”

Ingo Schmitz has been leading the working group “System-Orientated Immunology and Infection Research” at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research since 2009. His chair evolved out of a mutual appointment from both the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research Braunschweig.

Ingo Schmitz studied biochemistry in Hannover and completed his graduate thesis in a molecular-immunological area at the Centre for Molecular Biology Heidelberg (ZMBH). For his doctoral thesis he changed to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), where he began investigating apoptosis – programmed cell death. After receiving his doctorate, he went to the well-known Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, USA, as a German Research Foundation Emmy-Noether Scholarship recipient. Upon his return to Germany, he founded his own working group at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf and was promoted to professor in molecular medicine.

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Audio Podcast

  • Gas und Bremse für Immunantworten
    Unser Immunsystem ist geprägt durch ein kompliziertes Wechselspiel unterschiedlicher Immunzellen, das Wissenschaftler stückchenweise verstehen lernen. Um das Immunsystem daran zu hindern, dass es sich gegen uns selbst richtet oder um ihm auch mal einen Schubs geben zu können, müssen sie die molekularen Stellknöpfe finden – und beeinflussen. Einen dieser Stellknöpfe haben Ingo Schmitz und Marc Schuster entdeckt. Folgen Sie den beiden ins Labor...