Prof. Dr. Dirk Baumjohann
Medical Clinic III for Oncology, Hematology, Immuno-Oncology and Rheumatology
University Hospital Bonn
BMZ I (Building 13), Room 2G024
Venusberg-Campus 1, 53127 Bonn, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)228 287 51185
Fax: +49 (0)228 287 9051185
CD4-positive T helper cells orchestrate the cellular and humoral immune response to various pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Different subsets of T helper cells have been characterized based on their functional properties. Among these, T follicular helper (Tfh) cells provide help to B cells for efficient antibody production. In contrast, dysregulated Tfh cells can also cause autoimmunity and allergies. Interestingly, depending on the context, Tfh cell frequencies have been correlated with either positive or negative outcomes for various tumor entities. Recently, Tfh cells have emerged as central intermediaries of other T helper cell-mediated immune responses that involve the generation of certain effector and memory T helper cell populations. Nevertheless, the precise relationship between Tfh and other T helper cell subsets remains unknown.
We are combining cellular and molecular immunology techniques and state-of-the-art genomic approaches to answer fundamental questions about T helper cell differentiation and plasticity and their impact on adaptive immune responses. It is anticipated that a better understanding of how Tfh cells are regulated on the molecular level and how Tfh cells contribute to T helper cell fate decisions will yield important insights into the rational design of drugs and therapies that target Tfh cells in autoimmune diseases and allergies or boost their function during infection, vaccination and cancer.
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