Introduction

The DFG-funded Graduate College Modulation of Autoimmunity  is a program for a cooperative and structured PhD student training organized by a consortium of the Departments of Dermatology and Rheumatology as well as the Institute for Research on Systemic Inflammation (ISEF), for Chemistry and for Anatomy at the University of Lübeck and several departments at the Research Center Borstel. Its aim is postgraduate training of natural scientists in the field of immunology, immunopathology and autoimmunity with a strong translational medicine focus. In order to train future physician scientists, medical students are also elegible to join the program.

In the second funding period, the GRK will focus on the early steps in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity; i.e. loss of tolerance and autoantibody production. The projects focus in 2 areas:

A: Development of innovative therapeutic strategies to treat established autoimmune diseases
B: Identification of novel therapeutic targets in autoimmunity

Research Area A: Development of innovative therapeutic strategies to treat established autoimmune diseases

A1: B cell Metabolism in Autoimmunity
A2: Analysis of the immunomodulating effects of natural compounds in in vivo models of EBA
A3: Cell type-specific effects of IL-17 in EBA
A4: Identification and modification of pathogenic mechanisms and signal transduction pathways in an anti-laminin 332 mucous membrane pemphigoid mouse model.
A5: The relevance of the C5a/C5aR1-axis for induction of autoantibody response in EBA
A6: Effects of immune-complexes with sialysated IgG antibodies on dendritic cells and T cell differentiation

Research Area B: Identification of novel therapeutic targets in autoimmunity

B1: Pemphigus vulgaris: Expression profiling in patients and development of a novel animal model
B2: Sleep deprivation enhances the risk for autoimmunity by altering the T cell receptor repertoire recruited into immune responses
B3: Metabolic changes in autoimmunity
B4: Organotropism of anti-CXCR3/4- and anti-ETAR/-AT1R-mediated leukocyte migration in inflammatory disease
B5: Modulation of autoimmunity by CD37-specific antibodies
B6: Pathomechanisms in experimental systemic sclerosis