Cellular Innate Immunity

Cellular Innate Immunity2023-12-05T09:11:06+01:00

Professor Philipp Henneke, MD

Professor for Infection Immunity and Control
E: philipp.henneke@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Brigitte Weber (Assistant)
E: brigitte.weber@uniklinik-freiburg.de
T: +49 (0)761 270-82051
F: +49 (0)761 270-9682030

Medical Center– University of Freiburg
Institute for Infection Prevention and Control
Gebäude E3
Breisacher Str. 115B
79106 Freiburg

The core scientific interest of the Henneke group is the development of cellular innate immunity at interfaces. Of particular interest are cellular programs and microenvironmental signals in site-specific differentiation and adaptation of tissue macrophages throughout life, i.e. starting in utero, and extending from bone-marrow to critical body sites (e.g. skin, lung, intestine).

We combine experimental infection models in mice and in vitro, high resolution imaging, multi-color flow cytometry, single cell transcriptomics and metabolic analysis to break new ground in understanding and modulating limits of cellular plasticity. Our research is of particular importance for understanding postnatal development of natural immunity, and ultimately enables the design of intervention strategies to combat infectious diseases and promote tissue repair from early on.

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If you are interested in joining our research team as an MD or PhD student or as a post-doc, please contact Philipp Henneke (philipp.henneke@uniklinik-freiburg.de) with a short description of your research experience and interests.

For more information about individual team members, please click on their names.

Group Leader: Philipp Henneke

Junior Group Immunity in Barrier Tissues

Postnatal Macrophage Development – Focus Skin and Nervous System

Mycobacterial Immunity

Macrophage reprogramming by CMV

Intestinal Macrophages and Microbiota

Human Neonatal Microbiome and Immune Development

  • Martin Kuntz (post doc, neonatologist)
  • Timmy Ngyuen (physician scientist)


  • Anita Imm
  • Reem Alsumati


Major topics of the laboratory are:

  • Macrophage differentiation in tissue immunity against mycobacteria. Multinuclear macrophages (MGC) are the hallmark of mycobacterial granulomas. We investigate the cellular and metabolic basis of MGC formation in granulomas as potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets in mycobacterial infections. A specific focus lies on lipid biosynthesis and macrophage progenitors.
  • Development and environmental adaptation of sub-mucocutaneous and CNS macrophages at the beginning of life. Key questions: Are microanatomical niches imprinting differentiation programs on macrophages ? How does origin and self renewal impact on these processes? How does niche driven macrophage adaptation impact on tissue defense against staphylococci and streptococci and on tissue repair?
  • Impact of early cytomegalovirus infections on macrophage/ monocyte programming. Key questions: What is the influence of cytomegalovirus infections on intestinal macrophage development? How does early cytomegalovirus infection affect the immune response to bacterial infections later in life?
  • Role of macrophages in intestinal homeostasis. Key questions: Which signaling events guide regulatory properties of lamina propria macrophages? Can synthetic macrophages be engineered as cell therapy for intestinal inflammation?
  • Monogenetic defects in cellular innate immunity. Key questions: Which genes in myeloid and epithelial cells are essential for anti-microbial defense in children? How do aberrations in these genes drive immunopathology?


Complete list of publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=henneke+p



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