Third Day of Immune Research 2021
On November 12, 2021, the third Immune Research Day of the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Immune-Mediated Diseases CIMD took place. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the event was again held digitally this year. The specially in Microsoft Teams established team »Fraunhofer CIMD Immune Research Day 2021« and the associated meeting channel attracted 187 participants. The field of participants consisted of employees from 29 Fraunhofer institutes as well as participants from universities, university hospitals and industry.
The event was opened by Prof. Dr. Dr. Gerd Geisslinger, head of Fraunhofer ITMP and spokesperson of Fraunhofer CIMD, with an overview of the cluster's goals, tasks and work. PD Dr. Frank Behrens, Deputy Director of Fraunhofer ITMP and Science Coordinator of Fraunhofer CIMD, took over the role of moderator and guided the audience through the event. In the first part of the event, Dr. Wim Noel, EMEA Medical Affairs Director Autoimmunity of Janssen, started with an exciting presentation on therapeutic perspectives in the field of immunology. Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Thum, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM, Director of the Institute for Molecular and Translational Therapy Strategies at the Hannover Medical School and founder and CSO of Cardior Pharmaceuticals GmbH, then took the floor and talked about RNA therapies for immune and cardiovascular diseases. Prof. Dr. Maria Vehreschild, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University Hospital Frankfurt, shared her clinical experience on harnessing the microbiome for the prevention and therapy of immune diseases.
Research at Fraunhofer CIMD was presented through 3 selected project presentations: Dr. Jörg Lehmann, Head of Department Preclinical Development and Validation at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, presented his Fraunhofer CIMD project on »New Therapeutic Approaches« for CED. This was followed by a presentation of a project by Hannah Kratz, Project Manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Translational Medicine and Pharmacology, with the aim of developing an intelligent algorithm to assist in the early diagnosis of immune diseases. At the end of the session »Research at Fraunhofer CIMD«, Dr. Christina Hesse and Valerie Beneke presented their project on »Restoration of immune tolerance by antibody-mediated microbiome correction«.
Before all participants went into the lunch break, posters from various Fraunhofer institutes on diverse topics were presented in 3-minute short presentations each.
After the break, the new research sites at Fraunhofer ITMP had the opportunity to present themselves and their work: Prof. Dr. Marcus Maurer, Research Director of the Clinic for Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology at Charitè Berlin, presented his work on mast cells and how mast cells make us sick. Prof. Dr. Stefan Jakobs, research group leader at the Department of Neurology at the University Medical Center Göttingen and research group leader Structure and Dynamics of Mitochondria at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, presented his work on »Nanoscopy of Cells«. At the end of this session, Prof. Dr. Michael Hölscher, Director of the Tropical Institute (Department of Infection and Tropical Medicine) at LMU Hospital München, presented his work on »Use of the immune response against tuberculosis for diagnosis and monitoring of treatment success«.
In the following session, »Innovative Technologies for Immune Research«, Dr. Christian Münzenmayer, head of the Image Processing and Medical Technology department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, presented Fraunhofer IIS' work on »Smart Sensors and AI for Medical Care and Research«. After another digital poster session as well as a coffee break, Prof. Dr. Peter Liggesmeyer, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE, presented the work of Fraunhofer IESE in the area of »Digital Solutions in Healthcare« and highlighted opportunities and risks in his talk.
In the last session of the day, efforts in research in the area of new drug classes for immune diseases were presented. PD Dr. Aimo Kannt, head of the Drug Discovery research area at Fraunhofer ITMP, presented research on the new drug class »ProxiDrugs«. Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrike Köhl, Director of the Fraunhofer IZI, then presented work in the field of cell therapies for immune diseases.
The third virtual Immune Research Day was, despite the once again digital format, a successful continuation of networking, collaboration and cooperation opportunities along the 4D within the entire Fraunhofer-Society and beyond. Despite all this, we hope to welcome our participants in person again next year.