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Mapping inflammatory triggers

To destroy invading pathogens as quickly as possible, they must first be recognized as such. A portion of the human immune system is able to do so at birth, because many pathogens have immutable characteristics.

The innate immune system as a first line of immune defense is directed at these immutable characteristics and surface structures. Highly specialized sensors, receptors of the immune system, recognize the characteristics of the microorganisms and identify them as “foreign” and "dangerous". In response, antibacterial substances and messengers are released, through which other cells of the immune system are activated and summoned. It results in inflammation.

To understand how the immune system identifies microorganisms, but also why some of the intruders escape destruction by the immune system, scietists analyze the surface structures and characteristics of pathogens. In addition, previously unknown highly active anti-bacterial substances from humans and various animal species will be researched in order to understand their structure and function and to develop possible new antibacterial therapies.

Understanding key molecules of the immune system

The inflammatory response is a complex process in which chemical messengers play a role that can both trigger an inflammation (pro-inflammatory) as well as diminish an inflammatory response and prevent it (ani-inflammatory). One goal is to understand these key molecules in order to be able to influence their role in chronic inflammation.

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