The Laboratory for Comparative Immunology analyzes basic mechanisms of the innate immune response against bacterial or viral pathogens in different animal models (rainbow trout, rabbit, and swine) in comparative approach with a special focus on the interaction of epithelial cells with different leukocytes in the initial immune response and in the regulation of resistance mechanisms. Using modern methods (flow cytometry, gene expression analysis), we investigate the functional role of different leukocyte populations in the kinetic of immune responses. To identify functional leukocyte populations we develop monoclonal antibodies against differentiation markers especially for rainbow trout.
Moreover, we perform basis research to develop new vaccination approaches (oral vaccination of fish with bacterial “outer membrane vesicles; OMV” recombinant dual vaccine against RHDV1 and RHDV2 of rabbits). Here we aim to characterize the vaccination-induced immune response especially in juveniles and the possible influence of maternal antibodies and/or juvenile resistance on the development of a protective immune response.