The Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Dr. Luis Almeida for a successful application for third party funding, together with Prof. Tim Sparwasser. The Wilhelm Sander Foundation approved the project proposal “Immunosuppresion-resistant, tumor-specific T cells as a therapeutic strategy against established tumors – a preclinical study” for a funding period of two years. Dr. Luis Almeida will start his own research group in the IMMH and will investigate if manipulating specific intracellular pathways from T cells could alter the profiles of immunosuppressive regulatory T cells into pro-inflammatory cells that can work together with anti-tumor effector T cells towards a more efficient and synergistic anti-tumor response.
Prof. Luciana Berod (Institute of Molecular Medicine), close collaborator of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, has been recently appointed as spokesperson (with Dr. Bart Everts, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands) of a new study group from the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS-IL). The aim of the European Immunometabolism Network (ImmunoMetEurope) is to advance and promote research in the field of immune metabolism, by bringing together basic and clinical researchers and fostering collaborative networks. The overall research interest of this study group is to investigate immune cell metabolic pathways involved in health and disease, and to identify new potential therapeutic targets of in immune diseases. We congratulate Prof. Berod warmly!
The second funding phase of the SFB subproject B08N "Modulation of inflammatory skin disease by blocking metabolic checkpoints" headed by Prof. Tim Sparwasser has been approved. In this new funding phase, Prof. Sara Vieira-Silva will be a collaborator within the subproject, and will contribute with her microbiome expertise. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates both warmly. The SFB 156 "The Skin as Sensor and Effector Organ Orchestrating Local and Systemic Immune Responses" established in 2015 is in its third funding phase by the German Research Foundation, and will receive about 12 million Euros for the next four years.
Prof. Vieira-Silva, leader of the Mucosal Microbiology and Immunology research group, became a partner of the "Cluster for Atherothrombosis and Individualized Medicine (curATime)", one of the clusters4future funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research). Besides the University Medical Center of the Johannes-Gutenberg-University of Mainz, other curATime core partners include TRON gGmbH also in Mainz and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern. The main goal of the cluster is to identify biomarkers and risk factors and develop individually tailored treatments and prevention concepts for atherothrombosis-related cardiovascular diseases. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratules Prof. Vieira-Silva warmly.
Prof. Sparwasser was awarded the Leloir Prize in a ceremony that took place on the 16th of March, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Leloir Prize, named after the Argentinian Biochemist and Nobel laureate Luis Frederico Leloir, is awarded by the Argentinian Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation to foreign scientists and researchers that have extensively contributed to the strengthening and internationalization of science and technology in Argentina. Prof. Sparwasser has been committed, over a period of more than ten years, to establish and advance collaborative research projects with Argentinian scientists, and foster the academic development of early career researchers. These collaborations have resulted in joint scientific publications, technological exchange between German and Argentinian groups and institutions, and in the recognition of Argentinian scientists that became successful group leaders in Argentina and abroad. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Prof. Sparwasser warmly!
Prof. Sparwasser was appointed as a member of the scientific advisory board of NextImmune2 (Next Generation Immunoscience - Doctoral Training Unit) as an expert in immunometabolism. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly. NextImmune2 is a research-funding program that aims to link research in immunometabolism with systems immunology and to support young scientists. The grant is mainly supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and the Luxembourg Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR).
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Prof. Sparwasser on his re-election as German representative at the IUIS Council. IUIS is the international umbrella organization of immunologists, whose goal is to promote international cooperation, organize international collaborations, and bring together the different disciplines of the Immunology field. The activities of the IUIS are overseen by the council, which is elected every three years during the IUIS General Assembly.
The Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Prof. Sparwasser for a successful application for third party funding, together with his collaborator Prof. Alves-Filho from the Medical School of Ribeirao Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in partnership with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) fund bi-national research projects with the goal to promote the scientific exchange between international research groups. The collaborative research project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate the Th17 and regulatory T cells in infection and autoimmune diseases.
The Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Gloria Janet Godoy on her recent publication in the European Journal of Immunology.In the last years, due to the low abundance of in vivo Dendritic cells (DCs) in tissues, most research articles interrogating their metabolic adaptation to microbial stimuli or environmental cues made use of in vitro differentiated DCs derived from bone marrow progenitors stimulated with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Previous studies have shown that GM-CSF cultures consist of a mixture of subpopulations based on the expression of MHCII and CD11b, a MHCII-high-CD11b-int population resembling DCs (GM-DCs) and a MHCII-low-CD11b-high population more closely related to macrophages (GM-Macs). Minarrieta et al. demonstrated in their publication “Regulation of DC metabolism by nitric oxide in murine GM-CSF cultures” that, in bulk GM-CSF cultures, there are indeed two cell populations which respond to LPS treatment with different metabolic profiles. Sorted GM-Mac fraction upregulates iNOS and produces nitric oxide (NO) upon LPS activation inhibiting mitochondrial respiration (OXPHOS) while promoting glycolytic metabolism in GM-DCs, which naturally do not express iNOS. These results caution that the use of bulk GM-CSF cultures is not suitable to study the impact of DC metabolism on their cell function highlighting the need to implement models that resemble bona fide DC found in vivo.
Prof. Dr. Vieira-Silva is a newly appointed W2 Professor at the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene. Through her research area in the field of "Microbiome and Metabolome", the research spectrum of the University Medicine of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is extended by the highly relevant topic of microbiome research. The focus of Prof. Vieira-Silva's work is the investigation of the variability of the healthy human gut microbiome and the role of dysbiosis in various diseases. Microbiome research will not only be an essential building block for the ReALity (Resilience, Adaptation, Longevity) excellence initiative and the EM-Thera cluster of excellence, it will also be an important bridge to the Department of Biology (Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH), various clinical areas, and the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS) at UM. We warmly welcome Prof. Vieira-Silva to IMMH and look forward to scientific collaboration.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates the University Medical Center Mainz on the approval of the Collaborative Research Center/ Transregio (SFB/TRR) 355 "Heterogeneity and functional specialization of regulatory T cells in distinct microenvironments". Within the SFB, the influence of regulatory T cells (Tregs) on immunological and tissue-specific diseases will be investigated with the aim to develop new Treg-based immunotherapies. Prof. Sparwasser is involved with a project on the influence of energy metabolism on the function of regulatory T cells. In addition to the University Medicine Mainz, the Ludwigs-Maximilians-University Munich and the Technical University Munich are involved in the transregional SFB. The first funding period with a duration of 4 years is supported with about 13 million euros.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Dr. Janet Godoy on a method protocol recently published in the European Journal of Immunology. The article "Guidelines for mouse and human DC generation" provides an important contribution to the purification and analysis of dendritic cells.
Dr. Luís Ferreira de Almeida was recently awarded the HBRS Prize of the Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS). The graduate school of the Hannover Medical School honors the best PhD thesis of the graduates in the year 2022 with 1000 Euro. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.
Dr. Sara Vieira-Silva, new research group leader (Mucosal Infection Immunology) at the IMMH and Dr. Gwen Falony, future scientist at the IMMH, together with their colleagues from the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) Leuven and the University of Antwerp, were awarded the Antoine Faes Prize. The Antoine Faes Foundation honors with this prize, their 10 years of research on host-microbiome interaction and its impact on health and disease development. The prestigious prize, which honors outstanding achievements in biomedical research, is endowed with 75.000 euros. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates them warmly and looks forward to future collaborations.
Dr. Luís Ferreira de Almeida will be awarded the TransMed Scientist Award (PhD) 2022 for his publication "Ribosome-targeting antibiotics impair T cell effector function and ameliorate autoimmunity by blocking mitochondrial protein synthesis" in Immunity.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly. The prize, which is presented by the University Medical Center Mainz, honors pioneering publications that have been prepared as part of a scientific dissertation. The prize is endowed with 2.500 euros and will be awarded on September 14 during the TransMed Science Day.
Prof. Sparwasser was recently appointed to the advisory board of the Center for Research in Inflammatory Diseases (CRID) in São Paulo. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly. The CRID is supported by the Ribeirão Preto Faculty of Medicine at the University of São Paulo and the Foundation for Research Funding in the State of São Paulo (FAPESP).
Dr. med. Moritz Brandstetter has recently passed his specialist examination at the Bezirksärztekammer Rheinhessen in the subject "Microbiology, Virology and Infectious Disease Epidemiology". The Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Francesca Rampoldi on her recent publication in Cell Reports. Until now, it was unclear, via which signals the immature, autoreactive B cells in healthy individuals mature into antibody-producing cells. In their article "γδ T cells license immature B cells to produce a broad range of polyreactive antibodies," Rampoldi et al. were able to show that γδ T cells provide an initial help to immature transitional B cells in the spleen and thereby license their differentiation into polyreactive antibody-secreting cells with a broad range of specificities. B cell maturation is mediated by IL-4 -and co-stimulatory signaling, with concomitant induction of the mTORC1 signaling pathway in immature B cells. The absence of γδ T cells lead also to reduced levels of serum anti-nuclear autoantibodies, making γδ T cells an attractive target to treat autoimmunity.
The Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation) has appointed Prof. Tim Sparwasser as personal tutor in April 2022. He already held this position during his time at the TU Munich. The Studienstiftung, first established in 1925, is the oldest and largest foundation for the promotion of talented students in Germany.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.
The second funding phase of the SFB subproject 18 "Inhibition of tumor-associated regulatory T cells by microbial metabolites". headed by Prof. Tim Sparwasser has been approved. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene warmly congratulates him. The SFB 1292 "Targeting converging mechanisms of inefficient immunity in tumor diseases and chronic infections", established in 2018 will be funded by the German Research Foundation for another 4 years with about 13 million Euros.
Dr. med. Martin Dennebaum recently passed the examination at the Bezirksärztekammer Rheinhessen and is now allowed to use the additional title "Infectiologist". The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Luís Almeida and Ayesha Dhillon-La Brooy on their recently published review article "CD4+ T cell differentiation and function: unifying glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation, polyamines NAD mitochondria." (Almeida et al. 2021, JACI). In this work, the scientists emphasize the importance of mitochondrial metabolism in T cell development, activation, and effector function, and how nutrient requirements can be adapted to specific tissue conditions. The authors discuss recent findings on the mitochondrion and how glycolysis, amino acid catabolism, and fatty acid oxidation interact together with the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Integration of these metabolic pathways generates not only energy but also intermediates that can regulate epigenetic programs, leading to changes in T cell phenotype. Therefore, this review also highlights key enzymes, accessory metabolic pathways, and post-translational protein modifications that regulate T cell function in particular ways and may represent potential targets for therapeutic purposes.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene warmly congratulates Ayesha Dhillon-LaBrooy for have being granted with the Dagmar Eißner Sponsorship Prize. The Dagmar Eißner Award, named after the former director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Nuclear Medicine and first vice president of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Prof. Dr. Dagmar Eißner, is endowed with 3000 Euros and is awarded to young female scientists of the University Medicine Mainz under the age of 35 for outstanding scientific achievements. The prize is awarded for the paper "Ribosome-Targeting Antibiotics Impair T Cell Effector Function and Ameliorate Autoimmunity by Blocking Mitochondrial Protein Synthesis" published in Immunity (Almeida et al, 2021).
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Lis Velasquez and her colleagues on their recently published review article "Dendritic cell metabolism: moving beyond in vitro culture-generated paradigms" (Minarrieta et al. 2020, Curr. Opin. Biotechnol.). The article discusses the important role of metabolism during dendritic cell activation and differentiation. The researchers provide an overview of current in vitro models for analyzing metabolic processes and discuss new techniques and models with higher physiological relevance.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene is going to cooperate with the Department of Anaesthesiology at Renji Hospital of the Medical Faculty of Shanghai Jiaotong University. The cooperation is financially supported by the Sino-German Mobility Program of the Chinese-German Center for Science Funding. The project, initiated by Prof. Peiying Li and Prof. Tim Sparwasser, investigates to what extent a dietary restriction can maintain the homeostasis of mitochondrial CD4+ T cells and reduce immunosuppressive mechanisms. The study focuses on the purine metabolism, whose regulatory influence on immunosuppression after stroke is to be deciphered. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene is looking forward to a successful collaboration.
With reference to the status of Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi (Kiel) as "Emeritus" of the Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) we would like to point out that since the 1st of September 1978, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate has not granted emeritus positions to its professors. Therefore, Prof. Bhakdi is a retired professor and was not granted membership rights to the JGU and its University Medical School upon his retirement. His views regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, which we consider misleading, if not wrong, are not in accordance with the views of the University Medical Centre Mainz and the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene. Thus we distance ourselves on crucial points from the views held by Prof. Bhakdi. If further questions arise, we would thank you to contact the Corporate Communication Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Guilhermina Carriche on her publication in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Carriche et al, J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020, Regulating T-cell differentiation through the polyamine spermidine. The study showed that polyamines modulate CD4+ T-cell differentiation in vitro and promote the differentiation of CD4+ T-cells into a regulatory phenotype with anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been confirmed in a mouse model that supplementation with polyamines promotes immunological balance and reduces the pathology of inflammatory colitis.
Dr. rer. nat. Luciana Berod was appointed Professor for Immunomodulation at the University of Mainz on July 24th, 2020. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates her very warmly. Her research group, which is affiliated to the Institute of Molecular Medicine, will work closely with our institute, so we are looking forward to a good cooperation.
On July 22nd, 2020 we received a visit from the Argentinean ambassador, Mr. Pedro Villagra Delgado, who informed himself about the German-Argentinean activities of the IMMH in the field of research and teaching. We felt very honored about his visit.
Martin Dennebaum, M.D., was appointed as senior physician on 01.04.2020. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.
Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Tim Sparwasser was elected as member of the "Senate Committee on Internationalization" by the Senate of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz during its meeting in May 2020. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly on this appointment.
We congratulate Panagiota Mamareli on her recent publication: Mamareli et al. Mucosal Immunol. 2020. Targeting cellular fatty acid synthesis limits T helper and innate lymphoid cell function during intestinal inflammation and infection.
The study proposes pharmacological targeting of ACC1, a key enzyme that controls fatty acid synthesis (FAS) within cells, as an effective approach to minimize infection-mediated intestinal inflammation by interfering with the early expansion of pro-inflammatory Th1 and Th17 lymphocytes. Furthermore, her data gives an insight in the metabolic regulation of innate type 3 lymphocytes, which produce the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-22, revealing an important role of ACC1-mediated lipogenesis for their function. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Mucosal Immunology.
On April 14, 2020, subproject 18 "Inhibition of tumor-associated regulatory T cells by microbial metabolites" under the direction of Prof. Dr. med. Tim Sparwasser was approved within the framework of the SFB 1292 "Targeted influence of converging mechanisms of inefficient immunity in tumor diseases and chronic infections". The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.
Statement on videos of the retired professor of the IMMH circulating on the Internet:
Mr. Bhakdi retired in 2012. In Germany, there are numerous active, proven experts in infection epidemiology, such as at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). As a citizen, Mr. Bhakdi has of course the right to express his own opinion. However, this opinion is in no way, and we attach great importance to this, coordinated with the University Medical Center Mainz.
Prof. Dr. med. Sparwasser was elected as German representative of the IUIS Council at the 17th International Congress of Immunology in Beijing, organized by the IUIS https://iuis2019.org/general-information/about-iuis/ (International Umbrella Organization of Immunologists). The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.
On 31.05.2019 the project B08N "Modulation of inflammatory skin disease by blocking metabolic checkpoints" under the leadership of Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Tim Sparwasser was approved as part of the Collaborative Research Center Transregio 156 "The Skin as Sensor and Effector Organ Orchestrating Local and Systemic Immune Responses". The Medical Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.