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Immune Disorders & Inflammatory Diseases

Humans have evolved highly complex immune systems that are composed of specialized immune cells that protect the host from infection and damage. But an uncontrolled immune response such as chronic inflammation can itself inflict damage. And when the immune system is compromised by genetic mutation, individuals become more susceptible to diseases such as autoimmune disease.

One group also performs clinical work in affiliation with the Medical University of Vienna:

  • CeMM Adjunct Principal Investigator Kaan Boztug is studying the mutations underlying immuno deficiency disorders.

Intestinal immune homeostasis

The mammalian gut harbors trillions of bacteria that extensively modify diet and host-derived molecules, generating a number of biologically active substances with direct nutritional value and signaling capabilities. Although the overall impact of microbial colonization on the host has been characterized, the effects of dynamic changes in bacterial metabolism on intestinal physiology and mucosal immunity are currently unknown.

  • Clarissa Campbell's group at CeMM studies how feeding-induced changes in microbial metabolism dynamically regulate host physiology at the intestinal mucosa by using a curated list of bacterial molecules in a candidate-based approach, combined with unbiased, metabolomics-based profiling of bacterial metabolism in fed and fasted animals. By performing in vitro screens on immune cells and intestinal organoids, they aim at identifying host targets that integrate microbial-derived cues produced in distinct absorptive states

Genomics approaches for studying immunodeficiency disorders

Patients with so-called immunodeficiency disorders inherit genetic mutations that cause defective immune systems with a reduced infection-fighting capacity. These disorders are also linked with autoimmunity, but the underlying mechanisms that cause these phenotypes are generally unclear.

  • Kaan Boztug’s group analyses patients with immunodeficiency disorders using state-of-the-art genomic approaches available at CeMM including exome sequencing, in order to identify the underlying genetic mutations, and then go on to analyse their molecular functions.