Barbara Schraml leads an Emmy-Noether-Research-Group and is associated with the SFB914 ‘Trafficking of Immune Cells in Inflammation, Development and Disease’ (http://www.sfb914.med.uni-muenchen.de/index.html). Her research focuses on understanding the precise organ-specific functions of dendritic cells in immunity. Dendritic cells, along with monocytes and macrophages, comprise a family of cells called mononuclear phagocytes. They are versatile controllers of the immune system with crucial roles in immune regulation and tissue homeostasis. An important question is to what extent the functions of these mononuclear phagocytes are dictated by their unique ontogeny versus the environmental cues they receive from their surroundings. These questions are in part addressed using mouse models that allow for the definition and visualization of dendritic cells based on their ontogenetic descendence from committed precursors (Schraml et al., Cell 2013). The major challenges in the design of future therapies are to target specific components of the immune response in the absence of general immunosuppression. Understanding the unique functions of dendritic cells in the context of their microenvironment will help determine their potential for targeted immunotherapy.
Schraml Group 2019