Innate Immunity and Translational Dermatology

PD Dr. med. Luise Erpenbeck

Welcome to our innate immunity lab! We love neutrophils, neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and dermatology and have a strong focus on (live cell) imaging, intercellular communication and biophysical aspects of cellular behaviour.

Time-lapse images of a neutrophil undergoing NET formation (chromatin in blue, cell membrane in red); images by Elsa Neubert, formerly Erpenbeck Lab, modified by Daniel Meyer
Time-lapse images of a neutrophil undergoing NET formation (chromatin in blue, cell membrane in red); images by Elsa Neubert, formerly Erpenbeck Lab, modified by Daniel Meyer

Current projects of the lab

Molecular mechanisms of NET formation and biophysical aspects:

Neutrophils are able to produce neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) as an immune defence mechanism to immobilize an eliminate pathogens. During NET formation, neutrophil chromatin is citrullinated and decondensed within the cell. Finally, the neutrophil cell membrane bursts and the NET is released into the extracellular space. During NET formation, neutrophils undergo dynamic and dramatic alterations of their cellular as well as sub-cellular morphology whose biophysical basis is poorly understood. We are interested in understanding these changes and the biophysical aspects governing NET formation.  We also want to find out how external influences like shear stress or confinement influence neutrophil behaviour.


Intercellular communication:

We are highly interested in the intercellular communication of neutrophils with each other as well as with other cells of the immune system. In particular, we are investigating which signalling molecules play a role in neutrophil recruitment and activation and use mathematical models to understand collective cell behaviour.


Inflammatory dermatological diseases: 

Dysregulated NET-formation and neutrophil activation plays an important role in a multitude of chronic and acute inflammatory diseases, including malignant, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. We would like to find out which role NETs play in chronic inflammatory dermatological diseases such as psoriasis and lupus erythematosus.

Have we caught your interest? Follow us on twitter @ErpenbeckLab

Or contact us directly for more information!

Team

  • Luise Erpenbeck (Lab Head)
  • Antonia Gruhn (medical student)
  • Moritz Maximillian Hollstein (physician scientist)
  • Thea Husar (medical student)
  • Lukas Mrowietz (medical student)
  • Louisa Rusch (medical student)
  • Meike Schaffrinski (Lab technician)
  • Anne Schmitz (PhD student)

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