High-dimensional immune cell single cell profiling in systemic infections/sepsis

Infectious diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. As the Corona pandemic emphatically demonstrated once again, pandemic-causing pathogens in particular can cause significant damage to the global economy and society as a whole, as well as enormous costs to the healthcare system. However, this problem is not unique to pandemic events and has persisted for a long time. Sepsis represents the third leading cause of death in Germany. Previous efforts in the fight against sepsis have focused on optimizing antibiotic therapies against the background of growing resistance. In the sense of sustainable health research, control strategies must be developed in the future that lead to therapeutic strategies based on a sound understanding of defense processes of the immune system (focus on host). The latest pioneering breakthroughs in the field of immunotherapies have led to the currently most efficient therapies for cancer (checkpoint inhibitors, CAR-T cells). Preclinical models in the field of infections demonstrate very good success of immunotherapies and therefore require a rapid translation into the clinic.

For the often fatal invasive fungal infections, for which Leibniz-HKI has a worldwide unique expertise, new anti-infectives are continuously characterized and tested on the pathogen. The interaction of these molecules with the human immune system in the context of sepsis but also in tissue-specific infections will now be intensively investigated to enable translation into the clinic.

Therefore, the aim of this project is immune monitoring in acute (sepsis) and chronic infections and in the use of immunotherapies in patients in clinical trials and preclinical models. For this purpose, the acquisition of a flow cytometry-based (FACS) cell sorter is required (Cell Sorter), which enables the multiparametric purification and characterization of cells from blood and tissue. This methodology opens up perspectives for immune monitoring at the highest technological level. In particular, the cell sorter applied for will be used for materials from the infectious disease context. In addition, FACS-based cell sorting allows detailed characterization of microbial pathogens in addition to host characterization.