The immune system protects the body among other things against infections and is influenced by a variety of sensors for pathogens and pollutants. The IUF investigates the mechanisms through which noxious agents cause immunotoxic effects and e.g. are involved in the pathogenesis of misdirected immune reactions like autoimmune or allergic diseases. We are particularly interested in environmentally-induced aging processes of the immune system and in the role of particular components of the innate immune system in environmentally-induced organ aging. One main focus is on the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) as a universal sensor in environmentally-induced stress responses.
The following working groups contribute to research field 4: