Research field: Regulation of inflammation, infection and aging
The inflammatory response is a fundamentally protective, complex and well conserved mechanism. It is actively involved in the induction of immune responses, e.g. against bacterial infection. Several key molecules in inflammation are normally kept under strict control. When this control fails, cytokines such as TNF, interleukins and interferons can cause extensive damage, leading to conditions such as chronic inflammation, sepsis or shock. We are interested in understanding the biology of some of these cytokines (TNF and IFNs), their receptors and their control mechanisms, and in evaluating their therapeutic relevance. The detailed study of the major TNF receptor, TNFRp55 forms an essential focus of our studies. We also focus on the anti-inflammatory mechanism of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and how TNF is compromising the function of the GR. We are identifying other potentially protective and harmful molecules and are studying them in mice. Among these are several members of the family of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which contribute to the development of inflammation. Besides a focus on groups of molecules, we also focus our attention on specific systems, such a the liver and small intestines and the choroid plexus. We are studying these molecules and systems in the context of inflammation and infectious diseases and have plenty of relevant mouse models up and running.
Area of expertise