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I2@DKFZ: Guest Lecture: Thursday 16.05.24 at 04.00 PM. ATV Building (A0.106)


Welcome Franziska Blaeschke

Franziska Blaeschke

© Michael Short/Gladstone Institutes

We welcome Franziska Blaeschke, who started on March 1 as Leibniz research Group Leader. Her group, Pediatric Immuno-Oncology,  will use advanced genetic engineering and high-throughput CRISPR screens to improve immunotherapy of pediatric solid tumors, particularly brain malignancies.

Immunology and Infection@DKFZ SEMINAR SERIES


Thursday 16.05.24 04.00 P.M. DKFZ ATV A0.106

Guest Lecture:

Carolyn King (Group leader at University of Basel)

HIF or miss: CD4 T cells and the lung immune network

 Stay up to date with FSP-D news by following us on X (twitter): @DKFZImmunology

New Frontiers in Immunology, Infection and Cancer 5/6 June 2024



Guillaume Wassmer (D400): Antibodies armed with viral epitopes as a weapon to fight acute myeloid leukemia

Rafael Carretero Coca (D220): CEACAM6: Learning from clinic to optimize drugs

Patrick Schmidt (D120) Billions to a single cell and back; a novel CAR-T selection approach using optofluidics.

Tim Waterboer (F020) So, you think you have a biomarker? ;-)


Sven Truxa (D260) Spatial mapping of single cell metabolic states across human tumors and tumor model systems using multiplexed ion beam imaging

Kathrin Wellach (F130) HPV epitope characterization - Development of a life-cell microscopy-based cytotoxicity assay for low-frequency T cells

Stefan Eichmüller (D210) Multiple myeloma reactive TCRs determined on a chip and paths to therapy

Matthias Kloor (F210) Cancer immune prevention in high-risk populations

Stefan Zens and Aline Konrad (D200) Examination of tumor subtypes and new therapeutic strategies in an autochthonous model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Veronika Frehtman (F010) Biopharmaceutical Processing & Development Unit - Key Factors for Drug Formulation

Julia Ludwig (D130)

Development of a next-generation anti-malaria vaccine candidate

Chun-Shan Liu (F240)

From genotype to phenotype: a novel organoid-based model to understand tumor microenvironment alterations with different co-mutations in Idh1-mutated cholangiocarcinoma

Discovering signatures of response to immunotherapy in the omics era.
Daniel Postrach (D110)

Visualizing fate decisions in vivo by optical epitope barcoding and multiplexed imaging.

Xin Li (F180)

ER-stress triggered ATF6 drives gylcolysis and carcinogenesis through education of an immunosuppressive environment.

Elias Amro (D150)

Preserving cellular identity: APOBEC2 safeguards cell-fate integrity throughout differentiation.

Marco Binder (F170)

High-resolution kinetic characterization of the RIG-I_signaling pathway and the antiviral response.

The smallest unit: Deciphering immune responses to infection and malignancy by fate mapping of single lymphocytes.
Annkathrin Teschner (D121)

TCR-antibody fusion proteins as bispecific agents for NK and T cell-mediated immunotherapy

Richard Harbottle (F160)

From Stem-Cells to T-Cells: DNA NanoVectors an Alternative Non-Integrating DNA Vector Platform for Regenerative Medicine and Immunotherapy

Publishing Oncology Research in Nature Medicine
Investigating the Impact of Allergic inflammation on Glioblastoma progression in a Mouse Model.
Niels Halama (D240): Modulation of innate immunity in translation: SDF1α, IL-1 and CCR5

Ingrid Hoffmann (F045): The cell cycle on the crossroad of tumorigenesis and cancer

Erec Stebbins (D160): Mapping the Antigenic Space of a Pathological Liar

Timo Bund (F200): Implications of Bovine Meat and Milk FActor Protein Expression on Colorectal Cancer - and Beyond

Edward Green (D170) OMG Assembly: A New Technique Enabling High-Throughput, Low-Cost Manufacture of (Complex) DNA Constructs

Susanne Pfrommer & Johannes Morschl (F171) Full Spectrum Flow Cytometry - A Hitchhiker's Guide to Immunophenotyping

CD28 signaling controls differentiation of PD-1+ CD8 T cells

Dr. Alice O. Kamphorst, who is an Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences at the Precision Immunology Institute of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a member of the Cancer Immunology Research Program at the Tisch Cancer Institute.
Alice obtained her PhD at the Rockefeller University and worked on antigen processing and presentation under the supervision of Dr. Michel Nussenzweig. In her post-doctoral studies, she moved to Emory University where she worked on T cells and PD-1 immunotherapy with Dr. Rafi Ahmed.
Her current research focuses on T cell differentiation with a specific interest in situations of chronic persistent antigen stimulation, such as cancer and chronic infections. Her lab studies the effects of costimulation, inflammation and other factors in the microenvironment on CD8 T cell differentiation, dysfunction and response to immunotherapy, in particular PD-1 targeted therapies.

Investigating mechanisms for maintaining fuctional immune responses in developing tumors.
Targeting regulatory T-cells in cancer: From mechanisms to new therapies.



Deciphering the functions of dendritic cell types and their molecular regulation in antiviral and antitumor immunity.

Sensing DNA as a danger signal inside cells. 

She has extensive experience in the field of innate immunity and Pattern Recognition Receptor(PRRs) systems. The research of her lab focuses on studying the cGAS-STING signaling pathway in innate DNA sensing with a special emphasis on defining its function in physiological contexts that fall outside its classical, infection-associated realm. She has been the recipient of the German Cancer Prize and the Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award.

Molecular programs defining T-cell differentiation and dysfunction in tumors.

Dr. Andrea Schietinger, Group Leader at the Sloan Kettering Institute in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Her lab has extensive experience in studying T-cell responses and how they detect cancer cells over the course of tumor development. A primary focus of her team is on understanding the dynamics of how immune cells become unresponsive to tumors and mechanisms that regulate T-cell differentiation.


Single-Cell Proteoics and Multiplexed Imaging reveal the Metabolic Regulation of Anti-Tumor Immunity

Dr. Felix Hartmann, who is currently a Postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.
We are very happy to inform you that he will join the DKFZ in October as a Junior PI. We would like to use this seminar as an opportunity for the DKFZ fraternity to get to know him and his research and stem potential collaborations.
His research combines novel single-cell and imaging proteomic technologies to study interactions of immune cells with the local environment in human cancer. His recent publication outlined a method to characterize the metabolic regulome of single cells together with their phenotypic identity – scMEP (


Cytosolic DNA sensing s a driver of autoimmunity 
Prof. Dr. med Axel Roers, Director of the Institute of Immunology at TU, Dresden.

His team has extensive experience in studying mechanisms of uncontrolled autoimmune and Type-II immune responses. In his talk, he will discuss their work on how chronic innate response due to uncontrolled activation of cytosolic DNA sensor pathways leads to autoimmunity.

Hedgehog signaling in immune cells

Dr. Maike de La Roche, a Group Leader at the CRUK-CI, Uni. of Cambridge.

Her team studies differentiation, migration and function of CD8 T cells during the adaptive anti-tumor response. In her talk, she will provide an overview of the different avenues in her laboratory engaged towards defining the roles of Hedgehog signaling in immune cells which may enable novel therapeutic opportunities.

Rapid selection, characterization and clinical development of fully-human antibodies against emerging infectious diseases.
How Pandemics change us | What history has taught us | How we can profit from it today
Clinical aspects of SARS-CoV-2 infection and patient management.
Studies of SARS-CoV-2 - host cell interactions
SARS-COV-2 - immune system interaction and status quo on immunological research on COVID-19.


Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Dirk Jäger, recipient of the 2020 Team Science Award of SITC, which recognizes teams of scientists that have made a long-standing contribution to the field to cancer immunotherapy over the past 35 years. Dirk Jäger received the award as part of The Lloyd J. Old Lab Family.


Congratulations to Dr. Guoliang Cui who received the Georges-Köhler Prize from the German Society for immunology e.V.


Congratulations to Dr Riccardo Pecori, recipient of 2019 Young Scientist in IO Award by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation for Immuno-oncology.
The work awarded was presented at the German Cancer Congress (DKK) in February 2020, where the award ceremony took place. (
We congratulate Dr. Lukas Bunse, who received the Swiss Bridge Award (250.000 CHF) to develop immunotherapies for brain cancer patients.

More information (in German only) can be found here:

Dr. Rajagopal Murugan received the Werner-Müller-Award (2000 €) - Congratulations!

The price was awarded for Dr. Murugans work on immune responses to Plasmodium falciparum (causative agent of malaria) antigens. 

Details can be found under (in German only)


in Murugan, Buchauer et al., Science Immunology 2018 as well was Scally, Murugan et al., Journal of Experimental Medicine 2018.

Congratulations to Dr. Theresa Bunse, who received the Herbert-Fischer-Award for Neuroimmunologie (1.500 €).
The price was awarded for Dr. Bunses research about how brain tumors are recognized by the immune system. She could show that a mutation in the IDH1 protein represents a promising therapeutic target for glioblastoma.

More information can be found under (in German only) and

in Schumacher, Bunse et al., Nature 2014 and Bunse, Pusch, Bunse et al., Nature Medicine 2018.


The weekly Journal Club organized by S. Eichmüller, focuses on "Cancer Immunotherapy" and takes place on Mondays at 9.00 a.m. with participants from different departments and research programs of the DKFZ and NCT.

For more information please visit:


Immunoretreat 2023

From 25-27 of September 2023, great talks, posters, chain reaction ..... in a relaxing environment.


© J. Zeelen

From 13-15 of May 2019, FSD scientists gathered at the Castle of Rothenfels for our annual retreat.

Many thanks to Thorsten Feyerabend for the fantastic organization!

© T. Feyerabend



Lasse Neukirch defended his PhD thesis entitled "Evaluation of antigen-displaying adeno-associated virus-like particles (AAVLPs) as future candidates for personalized cancer vaccination" on the 17th of June 2021.

In his thesis, L. Neukirch tested a novel vaccination strategy to induce CD8+ T cell responses by displaying antigen peptides on the capsid of adeno-associated virus-like particles (AAVLPs). 
Vaccination of mice induced CD8+ T cell responses against the displayed antigen that were long-term protective in a B16F10 melanoma model. Generation of these CD8+ T cell responses was promoted by the presence of T helper epitopes in the AAVLP capsid, indicating a distinct advantage of the AAVLP strategy. Vaccination with neoepitope-displaying particles lead to a reduced tumor growth of B16F10 melanomas, which was not achieved by a corresponding peptide vaccination.

- AAVLP vaccines induce long-lasting CD8+ T cell responses against displayed antigens
- CD8+ T cell responses are promoted by T helper epitopes in the AAVLP capsid
- AAVLP-display of neoepitopes reduced tumor growth more efficiently than peptide vaccination

Congratulations on this great work!


Kevin Bode defended his PhD thesis entitled "Molecular analysis of annexin receptor-induced immunosuppression in autoimmunity and tumor growth" on the 13th of March 2020.

In his thesis and in a paper published in Cell Reports, K.Bode and colleagues identify Dectin-1 on dendritic cells as a novel receptor for apoptotic cell-bound annexins, responsible for induction of peripheral immune tolerance. Tolerogenic signaling depends on selective SYK-phosphorylation and production of reactive oxygen species via NADPH oxidase-2. Dectin-1-deficient mice generate stronger immune responses against apoptotic cells and develop autoimmunity.

-  Dectin-1 is a tolerogenic receptor for annexins on the surface of apoptotic cells

- Annexin-binding to Dectin-1 induces selective SYK-phosphorylation

- SYK-dependent ROS-production via NOX-2 is critical for tolerogenic signaling

- Dectin-1 deficiency causes autoimmunity

Congratulations Dr. Bode!

FSP-D PhD Graduates - 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Sicong Ma, who defended his PhD thesis entitled "Metabolic synchronization of effector and regulatory T cell responses" in October 2019!

Thesis Abstract: Our study revealed that SPTLC2 underpins the adaptive protective immunity by translating extracellular stimuli into intracellular anabolic signals and reducing the cellular stress in maintaining metabolic reprogramming sustainability. In addition, SPTLC2 is required to maintain the suppressive activity of Treg cells to keep the immune tolerance and restrict the anti-tumor responses. Collectively, we address that the SPTLC2-mediated sphingolipid de novo synthetic pathway synchronizes metabolic reprogramming and the immune reaction of regulatory and effector T cells in infection and cancer.

On the 10th of September 2019, Stefanie Dünnbier defended her doctoral thesis entitled "The role of Thioredoxin-interacting protein in T cell receptor signalling".

Abstract: T cell receptor (TCR) engagement and subsequent signalling are a prerequisite to initiate a T cell immune response. This study examined the role of Thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) in TCR signalling and shows that TXNIP acts as transcriptional inhibitor. Hence, TXNIP might be considered as a potential therapeutic target to shape T cell responses e.g. in autoimmune or tumour diseases.

Congratulations on this excellent work!

On the 10th of Mai 2019, Csilla Kongsaysak-Lengyel defended her PhD. The title of her thesis is "Importance of Notch1 PEST domain mutations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia".

Abstract: My PhD work was focusing on the characteristic frameshift mutations of the Notch1 PEST domain, leading to the expression of a truncated, hyperactive Notch1 protein. These mutations are found with very high frequencies in human T-ALL, and also in our spontaneous T-ALL mouse model. To investigate the importance of such frameshift mutations in leukemia pathogenesis, we developed a modified Notch1 allele, where frameshift mutations are non-functional. Interestingly, mice bearing such a modified Notch1 allele overcome frameshift disability by specifically acquiring direct STOP mutations leading to a truncated PEST domain. Overall, our results reveal an enormous selection pressure for mutations leading to a hyperactive Notch signaling in T-ALL pathogenesis.

Congratulations Dr. Kongsaysak-Lengyel!

On the 29th of April 2019, Ann-Kathrin Fanti defended her PhD thesis entitled "Fate Mapping of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Activity under Challenges".

Abstract: In my PhD project I investigated the regulation of the hematopoietic system, and in particular HSC, under stress conditions. To enable HSC fate mapping, I employed a Cre knock-in reporter mouse and performed time-resolved analysis of hematopoietic compartment sizes and label propagation. Our findings show that the activation of HSC, in terms of differentiation, depends strongly on the nature of the challenge, giving important insights on the hematopoietic response to severe insults such as sepsis and irradiation.

Congratulations on this great work!


J.P. Lorenzo, L. Molla, E.M. Amro, I.L. Ibarra, S. Ruf, C. Neber, C. Gkougkousis, J. Ridani, P.G. Subramani, J. Boulais, D. Harjanto, A. Vonica, J.M. Di Noia, C. Dieterich, J.B.Zaugg, F.N. Papavasiliou
APOBEC2 safeguards skeletal muscle cell fate through binding chromatin and regulating transcription of non-muscle genes during myoblast differentiation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2024

R. Pecori, I. Chillón, C. Lo Giudice, A. Arnold, S. Wüst, M. Binder, M. Marcia, E. Picardi and F.N. Papavasiliou
ADAR RNA editing on antisense RNAs results in apparent U-to-C base changes on overlapping sense transcripts.
Front. Cell Dev. Biol., 06 January 2023

R. Pecori , S. Di Giorgio , J.P. Lorenzo and F.N. Papavasiliou
Functions and consequences of AID/APOBEC-mediated DNA and RNA deamination.
Nature Reviews Genetics volume 23, pages 505–518 (2022)

B. Casati, J.P. Verdi, A. Hempelmann, M. Kittel, A.G. Klaebisch, B. Meister, S. Welker, S. Asthana, S. Di Giorgio, P. Boskovic, K.H. Man, M. Schopp, P.A. Ginno, B. Radlwimmer, C.E. Stebbins, T. Miethke, F. N. Papavasiliou & R. Pecori
Rapid, adaptable and sensitive Cas13-based COVID-19 diagnostics using ADESSO.
Nature Communications volume 13, Article number: 3308 (2022)

Gross-Cohen M, Yanku Y, Kessler O, Barash U, Boyango I, Cid-Arregui A, Neufeld G, Ilan N, Vlodavsky I

Heparanase 2 (Hpa2) attenuates tumor growth by inducing Sox2 expression.

Matrix Biology, Volume 99, May 2021, Pages 58-71


Poorebrahim M, Mohammadkhani, N, Mahmoudi, R, Gohlizadeh, Fakhr, E and Cid-Arregui, A.

TCR-like CARs and TCR-CARs targeting neoepitopes: an emerging potential.

Cancer Gene Ther 28, pages 581–589 (2021),


Zeelen, J, van Straaten, M, Verdi, J, Hempelmann, A, Hashemi, H, Perez,K, Jeffrey, PD, Hälg, S, Wiedemar, N, Mäser, P, Papavasiliou, FN, Stebbins CE

Structure of trypanosome coat protein VSGsur and function in suramin resistance

Nature Microbiology volume 6, pages392–400(2021) 

Poorebrahim M, Melief J, Pico de Coaña Y, L Wickström S, Cid-Arregui A, Kiessling R.

Counteracting CAR T cell dysfunction

Oncogene 40, 421–435 (2021).

Fakhr, E, Modic, Z and Cid-Arregui, A.

Recent developments in immunotherapy of cancers caused by human papillomaviruses.

Immunology 2020.

Wu J, Weisshaar N, Hotz-Wagenblatt A, Madi A, Ma S, Mieg A, Hering M, Mohr K, Schlimbach T, Borgers H, Cui G

Skeletal muscle antagonizes antiviral CD8+ T cell exhaustion.

Science Advances (2020) 6:eaba3458

Murugan R, Scally SW, Costa G, Mustafa G, Thai E, Decker T, Bosch A, Prieto K, Levashina EA, Julien J-P & Wardemann H

Evolution of protective human antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein repeat motifs

Nat Med (2020)

Aslan K, Turco V, Blobner J, Sonner JK, Liuzzi AR, Núñez NG, De Feo D, Kickingereder P, Fischer M, Green E, Sadik A, Friedrich M, Sanghvi K, Kilian M, Cichon F, Wolf L, Jähne K, von Landenberg A, Bunse L, Sahm F, Schrimpf D, Meyer J, Alexander A, Brugnara G, Röth R, Pfleiderer K, Niesler B, von Deimling A, Opitz C, Breckwoldt MO, Heiland S, Bendszus M, Wick W, Becher B & Platten M

Heterogeneity of response to immune checkpoint blockade in hypermutated experimental gliomas

Nat Commun 11, 931 (2020).

Bode K, Bujupi F, Link C, Hein T, Zimmermann S, Peiris D, Jaquet V, Lepenies B, Weyd H and Krammer PH

Dectin-1 binding to annexins on apoptotic cells induces peripheral immune tolerance via NADPH oxidase-2

Cell Reports. Volume 29, Dec 2019, Pages 4435-4446.e9

Buchauer L, Wardemann H

Calculating germinal centre reactions

Current Opinion in Systems Biology (Dec 2019)

Dorshkind K, Höfer T, Montecino-Rodriguez E, Pioli PD, Rodewald HR

Do haematopoietic stem cells age?

Nature Reviews Immunology (Nov 2019); PMID 31740804

Julien JP, Wardemann H.
Antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum malaria at the molecular level
Nature Reviews Immunology (Aug. 2019); PMID 31462718

Sonner JK, Keil M, Falk-Paulsen M, Mishra N, Rehman A, Kramer M, Deumelandt K, Röwe J, Sanghvi K, Wolf L, von Landenberg A, Wolff H, Bharti R, Oezen I, Lanz TV, Wanke F, Tang Y, Brandao I, Mohapatra SR, Epping L, Grill A, Röth R, Niesler B, Meuth SG, Opitz CA, Okun JG, Reinhardt C, Kurschus FC, Wick W, Bode HB, Rosenstiel P, Platten M
Dietary Tryptophan links encephalogenicity of autoreactive T cells with gut microbial ecology
Nature Communications (Oct 2019); PMID: 31653831

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