Institute of Transplant Immunology



Director: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christine S. Falk
Telephone: 511 532-9745

Assistance: Sonja Klein
Telephone: 511 532-6904


Welcome to the Institute of Transplant Immunology

The Institute of Transplant Immunology is primarily dedicated to the patient-oriented investigation of the innate and adaptive immune response after transplantation of solid organs or stem cells. One focus is on the investigation of mechanisms that cause so-called ischemia / reperfusion injury (IRI) during the ex vivo phase of an organ. Here, the innate immune system plays an important role, as the cell's own sensors perceive this IRI stress and trigger an inflammation signal, which in turn is directly related to the inflammatory response of the recipient and is also responsible for subsequent complications, including rejection reactions. In addition, our scientific interest in cooperation with clinical partners of the MHH and other university hospitals also applies to immunosuppression after organ transplantation and the investigation of immunological parameters that allow a more individualized adjustment of immunosuppressive drugs.

In the field of cellular immune responses, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells (NK cells) are the focus of our research, as they are important effector cells for a rejection reaction after transplantation. On the other hand, they are transplanted to the organ, especially after lung or liver transplantation as "passenger cells", migrate into the recipient's blood and thus convey a transient chimerism whose clinical significance we want to define. In addition, we continue to be interested in the regulation of immune reactions in solid tumors or infections and would like to contribute to develop immunomonitoring methods that allow statements about clinical progress and also better define the pathophysiology of the inflammatory response in the sense of a differential diagnosis.

In this clinical setting, we are exploring basic mechanisms in the complex interaction of innate and acquired immunity. An important goal is to be able to transfer the knowledge gained to the clinical situation and thus to open up a perspective for the improvement of therapy through targeted preparation of these immunological parameters. Special attention is paid to the immunological interface between rejection of solid organs after transplantation and solid tumors, which develop different mechanisms of resistance as they progress, including: to escape the immunological control. Our approach is to learn from solid tumors how a tissue can protect itself against attack by the immune system in terms of immunological tolerance. In turn, we can learn from a rejection response after organ transplantation, especially details about the kinetics, with which first the innate, followed by the adaptive immune system to the graft reacts.