Participation in the Cluster of Excellence
Gerty Cori Junior Research Group "Mechanisms of Macrophage Plasticity"
My lab focuses on the molecular adaptations of macrophages during development and in the resolution phase of inflammation. During their ontogeny, macrophages and their precursors show pronounced plastic capacities that will determine their enormous heterogeneity as tissue-resident macrophages in the adult. Macrophage plasticity is as well crucial for tissue-specific immune responses and for the switch from acute to chronic inflammation. Despite the many evidences of macrophage adaptations in development and inflammation, the molecular (e.g. transcriptional regulation and epigenetics) and cellular (e.g. cell phagocytosis) mechanisms that regulate this plasticity are not completely understood. A special emphasis of my lab is to explore the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells as a mechanism of plasticity in macrophages. This complex process requires numerous modifications in the macrophage to ensure cell homeostasis. For example, to recognize, internalize and process cell material from different origins, many signaling pathways are specifically regulated. In addition, macrophages exert diverse immune responses upon phagocytosis, including cell interactions with the adaptive immune system, e.g., through lymphocyte priming. To explore those mechanisms of plasticity, we combine diverse animal models with high-throughput sequencing techniques and imaging strategies. Within the CiM, my lab aims to delineate a multidimensional view of macrophage immunomodulation, grounded on multidisciplinary approaches, with a strong focus on cell imaging and immune cell interactions.