Our group investigates how the immune system distinguishes between friend and foe. We focus on dynamic immune cell interactions after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, an often curative but also risk-associated therapy for many malignancies. In preclinical models we explore anti-tumor mechanisms, graft-versus-host disease and graft-versus-infection mechanisms exerted by allogeneic immune cell subpopulations. To gain better insights into these complex immune processes we employ state-of-the-art imaging techniques with the ultimate goal to translate our findings into improved diagnostics and therapies.
The Research Group for Experimental Stem Cell Transplantation of the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF) Würzburg
In 2012 the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF) of the Medical Faculty of the Würzburg University Clinics awarded a Research Group to Prof. Andreas Beilhack, MD. The Research Group is embedded in the Departments of Medicine II (Director: Prof. Hermann Einsele, MD) and Pediatrics (Director: Prof. Christian P. Speer, MD; Chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology: Prof. Paul-Gerhardt Schlegel, MD). The IZKF Research Group focuses on the function of the immune system in cancer, infections and transplantation.
To elucidate complex immune reactions the group advances imaging and microscopy techniques in close collaboration with the DFG Rudolf-Virchow-Center (Head of Bioimaging Center: Prof. Katrin Heinze, PhD), the Department of Biotechnology and Biophysics (Chair: Prof. Markus Sauer, PhD) and the Department of Experimental Physics 5 (Chair: Prof. Peter Jakob, PhD). The IZKF Research Group aims to develop, establish and validate novel concepts in immuno- and anti-cancer therapies.
The IZKF Research Group for Experimental Stem Cell Transplantation actively participates in local research networks such as the DFG Clinical Research Unit 216 on signaling pathways in multiple myeloma of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Center for Infectious Diseases (ZINF) at Würzburg University. Additionally, the group forms close collaborations with external laboratories, both nationally and internationally such as the DFG SPP 2084 µbone research network, the FortiTher Consortium of the Bayerische Forschungsstiftung on immune cell interactions and novel therapeutic concepts in multiple myeloma, the DFG FOR 2314 on pancreatic cancer, the DFG Transregio Research Network TRR124 FungiNet on immune cell interactions with pathogenic fungi, the DFG TRR221 GvH-GvL on allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation and the DFG TRR225 Biofabrication.
The IZKF Research Group participates in the University of Würzburg Graduate School of Life Sciences funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments and in the graduate college Immunomodulation and the DFG graduate training program 3D Infect. Furthermore, it is actively involved in the Else-Kröner-Forschungskolleg for Interdisciplinary Translational Immunology Würzburg, a physician-scientist training program that had been initiated by Prof. Beilhack.
The group’s research focus is allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. This central topic spans three research areas:
– Acute Graft-versus-Host disease and inflammation
– Immune responses to infections