The immune system functions continuously and plays a significant role in the proper functioning of human tissues. It is critical not only in defense against infections and tumors and many inflammatory diseases but also in the growth of the body, the establishment and maintenance of health, and healing processes. The balance of the immune system, including the activation and regulation of immune cells and their interaction with the organism, is ultimately key to the treatment of many diseases and cancer research. Systems immunology seeks to understand the complex interplay between the immune system and the body, utilizing interdisciplinary approaches to study the immune system's function across all scales. Using cutting-edge technologies, such as high-resolution imaging and sequencing techniques, systems immunology aims to uncover the underlying mechanisms that govern immune system function and dysfunction, with the ultimate goal of improving human health.
These are the central research questions of the Max Planck Research Group for Systems Immunology:
- How do cellular networks emerge and communicate in the lymph nodes and tissues, and how do they coordinate successful immune responses?
- What are the spatial and temporal dynamics of cellular networks during the development of immunological memory, for example, through vaccination and infection?
- How do these networks change in disease, and how can these findings be utilized therapeutically?
- How do immune cells permanently settle in various tissues of the body, and how do they specialize in their respective environments?
- How do immune cells coordinate their swarming and migratory behavior to effectively eliminate pathogens and tumors?
- How can immune cells be artificially activated when the body ignores well-camouflaged tumor cells?
- What influence do microbiome, nutrition, and metabolites have on the development and function of the immune system?