ERC Grant ImmProDynamics

Research in the field of Health, Pharmaceutics, Infection Research, Immune System


European Collaborative Research funded by HORIZON 2020, Excellent Science, ERC Starting Grant
Term: 01.03.2017 to 28.02.2022
Project costs: 1,499,525 €, of which OVGU 1,499,525 €
Coordinator: Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany

Infections live and in colour

Some pathogens can penetrate cells and hide themselves from the defence mechanisms of the immune system. Some even live and reproduce in the very immune cells whose task it is to “disarm” them. Until now, it has scarcely been possible to trace how the reproductive behaviour of pathogens and the immune response interact with one another.

Professor Andreas Müller has now developed an innovative method of visualising the growth of pathogens in living tissue in order to research unresolved questions regarding the interaction of the immune system and infections. It is, for example, not known which molecular mechanism enables the immune response to differentiate between the different germs on a cellular level and with regard to the risk that they pose. The pathogen growth rate might be one way of gauging the danger, enabling the immune system to more accurately rate the threat posed by infections. Whether or not this is the case, and which immune cell molecular mechanisms could be used to specifically detect pathogen growth is a question that is yet to be answered. As well as possibly influencing the behaviour of immune cells, the growth rate of germs also influences their ability to withstand antibiotic treatments and the defence mechanisms of the immune response. This is important for our understanding of how pathogens survive in chronic infections and become resistant to antibiotics.

The method devised by Professor Müller is now making it possible for the first time - using two photon microscopy - to simultaneously measure both the behaviour of cells in the immune system and the growth pattern of germs in a skin infection. ImmProDynamics will therefore for the first time be able to discover information about how cells in the immune system react to the different growth rates of pathogens. This will considerably extend our knowledge of host-pathogen interactions, which are critical for developing efficient vaccines and antimicrobial therapies.


The project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Grant Agreement No. 714233).

Last Modification: 04.07.2017 - Contact Person:

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