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Institute of Immunology (IfI)

Laboratory for Cellular Stress Response and Immune Regulation

Pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs) are crucial for initiating innate immune responses by specifically sensing diverse pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). In addition, pathogen-derived virulence determinants interfere with homeostasis of the host to establish successful infection. Although these factors are diverse, their modes of action converge to selected common patterns, i.e. cytoskeleton disruption, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, mitochondrial stress, endosomal/lysosomal membrane damage and DNA damage. To counteract the dysfunction of cellular homeostasis during infection, cells initiate specific stress responses for cytoprotection. Such cellular stress responses are also intertwined with host defense against pathogens and inflammation. The impact of cellular stress responses on disease pathogenesis in livestock and reservoir hosts remains unknown.

To achieve a dynamic and comprehensive overview on the crosstalk between cellular stress responses and innate immunity during infections, our laboratory employs a multidisciplinary approach that combines conventional techniques of immunology, cell biology and biochemistry with multi-omics methods and live cell imaging.

  • elucidating novel pathways of cellular stress responses and their link with innate immunity to provide novel insights on immune sensing and activation;
  • investigating how pathogens/non-pathogens differentially trigger cellular stress responses and how pathogens manipulate cellular stress responses to drive immunopathology in livestock (i.e. swine, cattle and poultry);
  • investigating the differences of cellular stress responses in livestock and reservoir hosts (i.e. bats) to understand the immune determinants in disease carriers.