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: Elimination of auto-reactive memory B cells and plasma-cells
A2: Identification of novel B cell inhibitory compounds
A3: Role of IL17A for loss-of tolerance in experimental epidermolysis bullosa acquisita
A4: Treatment of bullous pemphigoid by targeting IL17
A5: Role of C5a/C5aR for autoantibody production
A6: Effects of immune complexes with sialysated antibodies on dendritic cells and T cell differentiation
A7: Contribution of neutrophil-derrived IL16 and MIF for the induction of autoimmunity

Research Area B: Identification of novel therapeutic targets in autoimmunity

B1: Longitudional analysis of the transcriptome of  specific, auto-reactiev B cell (subsets)
B2: Function of antigen-specific T cells for the pathogenesis of experimental epidermolysis bullosa acquisita
B3: Metabolic changes in autoimmunity
B4: Autoantibody production of tissue-resident plasma calls in GPA
B5: Modulation of autoimmunity by CD37-specific antibodies
B6: Development and characterization of a novel mouse model of systemic sclerosis