Sarina Ravens, PhD
Institute of Immunology, OE 5240
Phone: +49 511 532 9730
Unlike other cells of our body, immune cells are not static, but are in constant mutual exchange, adapt flexibly to their environment and respond to infectious agents. Especially αβ T cells, γδ T cells and B cells are characterized by expression of individual immune cell receptors, which recognize antigens and mount immune responses. Although distinct T cell subsets clearly differ by their expressed immune cell receptors, they can have similar functional phenotypes and complement each other. We assume that the contribution and efficiency of different T cell subsets during an immune response can be very individual between humans and is influenced by age, environment and genetic factors.
We are interested to understand the development and functional adaptation of human T-cells in early childhood and adults at clonal and molecular level. In close cooperation with MHH-internal as well as external cooperation partners (for example from Ghana), we investigate and compare the complexity of T-cell repertoires in newborns, healthy and malaria-affected children, or immunosuppressed patients. We apply complex flow cytometry, high throughput sequencing technologies, and bioinformatics data analysis to study expressed T cell receptors and gene expression patterns at single cell level.