Alexander Betz

The initiation of immune responses
Personal group site

The decision whether to launch an adaptive immune response or not is predominantly made through the interaction of three types of cells: antigen presenting cells (dendritic cells and possibly B cells); pro-inflammatory TH cells; and TR cells. We would like to understand the molecular processes that govern the interactions of cells during the initiation of immune responses.

Furthermore, we would like to understand the molecular difference between TR cells and pro-inflammatory TH cells. Key to the latter line of inquiry is to elucidate how the interactions between the various cells alter their lineage commitment and how this in turn affects the outcome of the immune response.

To this end we have developed inducible lineage factors that allow us to change the lineage commitment of T cells on demand and thereby to modulate immune responses. We have established a variety of in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro systems which will allow us to examine the molecular processes of interest from many different angles and to confirm their biological relevance. The generation of genetically modified primary cells using a retroviral delivery system is promising to become a key tool in our studies.

We are currently developing a microfluidic system that will allow us to study the interaction of individual cells. Whilst our clear priority is to gain insight into mechanisms of general importance, we would like to dedicate a certain amount of our efforts to translational aspects of our findings.

Selected Papers

Group Members

  • Remi Fiancette
  • Xin Xie
  • Lurdes Duarte