The onset of cardiovascular damage features a massive response of the innate immune system. A site-directed infiltration of innate leukocytes from the circulation and local expansion is considered as a prerequisite for subsequent repair events and maintenance of the contractile myocardium. An unrestricted or prolonged persistence of immune cells, however, may harm the intact cardiovascular tissue and contribute to disease progression.
The major focus of our group is to identify and understand the contribution of locally produced factors that initiate, maintain and resolve the immune response following cardiovascular injuries. On that basis, we further aim to develop interventional strategies to modulate the immune-inflammatory response and support endogenous repair and regeneration. Our second area of interest is referred to the impact of leukocytes and their secretory products on cardiac myocytes following myocardial injury. Here, we particularly aim to identify intercellular routes and mechanisms that initiate and propagate the protective dedifferentiation of cardiomyocytes under acute ischemic conditions. As a supplementary approach, we also study aspects governing the growth of pre-existing collateral vessels into fully functioning arteries, which alleviate the ischemic burden. To this end, we combine murine models of cardiovascular diseases and knockout/transgenic mice strains with methods of flow cytometry, biochemistry, molecular biology, microscopy and adequate in vitro models.
Applications for Master and PhD student positions are welcome.
Dr. Holger Lörchner (Postdoc)
Nathalie Brachmann (Master student)
Maria Elisa Almeida Goes (PhD student)
Julia Detzer (PhD student)
Roxanne Wagner (Technical assistant)
Dr. Juan M. Adrian-Segarra (joined DKFZ)
Dr. Yunlong Hou
Jennifer Kulhei (joined Leica Microsystems)