International Symposium on the Immune System – Research at the Micro- and Nanoscale

9 April 2011
A symposium of the Collaborative Research Centre 841 took place for the first time on 7-9 April 2011 in the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. The title of the symposium was “Liver Inflammation: Infection, Immune Regulation and Consequences”(CRC 841). 130 scientists from Germany, Canada, the United States, Australia, England and Switzerland were invited by the CRC 841 to discuss the immunological basis of infection, inflammatory reactions and autoimmune diseases.
The regulation of the immune response plays a major role in the defence against viruses, bacteria and malaria-causing parasites. Regulatory processes of the immune defence system are also crucial in the development of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatism and in inflammation caused by metabolic disorders (e.g. elevated blood lipid levels). “Dietary fat can trigger inflammatory processes in the liver and in certain cases can lead to chronic diseases and even to the development of cancer,” said Professor Jörg Heeren, head of a CRC 841 subproject in the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).
The immune system is thus affected by external influences, but also by local factors such as tissue type and blood flow. The involved cells communicate with the aid of messenger substances. To obtain a basic understanding of the development of the disease, it is essential to analyse the interaction of cellular communication and the regulation of inflammatory processes in tissue at the micro- and even at the nanoscale. At the CRC 841 symposium, scientists from top universities like Harvard, Yale, Montreal and Zurich discussed the progress made in this research area together with their research partners in the CRC.
“The CRC 841 is characterised by its combination of basic and clinical research and its international orientation. Top research transcends national boundaries. We collaborate very closely with our international partners,” said Professor Ansgar Lohse, director of Medical Clinic I of the UKE and speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre.
The CRC 841 has been funded since 2010 by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The Collaborative Research Centre is comprised of 20 subprojects that focus on different aspects of liver inflammation.