Research objectives and content
The immunological mechanisms to distinguish self from nonself (tolerance) are a major topic in current immunology. Currently dominating views explain this phenomenon with mechanisms based on the physical and/or functional inactivation of autoreactive cells. However, these views fail in the attempt to explain certain observations like curing diseases through the transfer of cells from a healthy donor or the existence of functionally active, autoreactive T cells in vivo. In addition, there exists a large body of evidence for the existence of regulatory T cells which are responsible for the maintenance of tolerance in a normal animal, but so far these cells have not been fully characterized. In the proposed project it will be tried to characterise regulatory T cells with regard to their development inside the thymus and their behaviour in maintaining tolerance to peripheral selfantigens.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The nature of the topic includes the application of almost all different methods available in cellular immunology, including standard methods as well as specialized techniques set up by the Pasteur Institute. Therefore, this project contains not only a very good education itself, but allows also the possibility for a broad application afterwards. The work will be carried out in the frame of a doctoral thesis.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
In investigating important basic mechanisms of tolerance the expected results will strongly support solutions for problems in the field of transplantation medecine and the treatment of autoimmune diseases.