The immune response to infections or to cancer depends strongly on individual genetic and environmental determinants, resulting in highly variable disease courses as well as variable responses to vaccinations or immune therapies. This striking variability is underscored by the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, highlighting the complexity of the human immune system. Synthetic immunology is an emerging research area that aims at promoting the understanding and manipulation of the immune system on the cellular and molecular level applying cutting edge molecular systems engineering, material sciences, biomedicine and mathematical modelling. The spotlight project “Synthetic Immunology” combines basic research on immune cell responses and their modulation with engineered small molecules, (macro-) molecular systems and synthetic matrices. It brings together researchers from various disciplines involved in molecular systems engineering at Heidelberg University and its non-university partners (DKFZ, MPImR), including physics, chemistry, molecular biology, computational modelling, materials science and medicine to collaborate in this interdisciplinary project and develop new diagnostic tools and therapies. The spotlight project is headed by Prof. Dr. Christine Selhuber-Unkel and Prof. Dr. Michael Platten and consists of eight subprojects.
Prof. Dr. Christine Selhuber-UnkelProf. Dr. Michael Platten