Dr. Oktay Kirak

E: oktay.kirak@uniklinik-freiburg.de
T: +49 (0)761 270-43000 or +49 (0)761 270-63960

Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Center for Pediatrics
Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
Mathildenstraße 1
79106 Freiburg

The goal of the Kirak lab is to gain new insights into the role of T and B cells in cancer, autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiencies.


Kerstin Bruder,  Darius Halm, Dr. Sarina Halm, Jessica Heinze, Jan-Luca Penner, Natascha Roser.

We work closely with Manching Ku’s group (Epigenetic Regulation of Stem cells and Cancer).


Autoimmune Diabetes

Autoimmune diabetes, also known as type-1 diabetes (T1D), is caused by the destruction of insulin-secreting beta-cells in the pancreas by the patient’s own immune system.

The non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model develops T1D spontaneously and closely resembles the pathology found in human patients. Using Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT or NT), the Kirak lab is at the forefront in developing novel T and B cell mouse model on pure NOD background not only to better understand the development of T1D, but also to find new therapeutic approaches.

Tumor Immunology

Our immune system has the capability to eliminate cancer cells, and thus protect us from cancer. However, two major problems are limiting efficient elimination of cancer cells through our immune system: i) anti-tumor CD8 T cells might become exhausted or not kill sufficiently well, and ii) regulatory CD4 T cells might suppress potential protective immune responses. In order to better understand these problems, the Kirak lab is developing novel T cell models by using Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT or NT).

Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cells

Embryonic stem (ES) cells are pluripotent and have the capacity to differentiate into any cell type of the body. Thus, ES cells are powerful tools to better understand the development of cells and organs, and for potential future therapeutic applications. In the Kirak lab, we are mainly interested in the development of fully functional pancreatic beta-cells and their interaction with immune cells.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT or NT) is a powerful tool to epigenetically reprogram somatic cells. Dr. Kirak has pioneered the use of SCNT to develop novel T and B cell mouse models that express their antigen receptors from their physiological TCR and BCR regions, respectively.


1 shared corresponding authorship, 2 equal contribution

ORCID page for Oktay Kirak: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6524-4685