Teaching/Research Area #3: Clinical Allergology

The area ‘Clinical Allergology’ comprises aspects of the development of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies for allergy and clinical research in patients. Within the area clinical allergology we have made the attempt to include the most relevant target organs of allergic diseases, i.e., the respiratory tract, the eye, the skin, the gastrointestinal tract (i.e., food allergy) and systemic reactions (i.e., hematology) in adults and children.
The consortium of Faculty Members includes internationally renowned clinicians representing different medical specialties (Otorhinolaryngology, Pediatrics, Dermatology, Specific Prophylaxis and Hematology). These Faculty members have long lasting experience in respect to the conduction of specific immunological interventions, allergen-specific immunotherapy trials and the clinical evaluation of treatment strategies for IgE-associated allergies. PhD-projects of the respective Faculty Members will be centered on the characterization of tolerance induction mechanisms and how neonatal colonization with distinct bacteria might help prevent polysensitization (# 13). Moreover, mechanisms of induction of clinical tolerance will be studied on the basis of birch pollen allergic individuals with and without associated food allergy (project # 14). Another goal will be to characterize novel predictive markers for monitoring clinical manifestations of asthma comparing children with clinically active asthma versus IgE-sensitized children during and out of their allergen season (project #10). In addition to these studies, the mechanisms involved in allergic immune responses of the respiratory epithelium and factors influencing allergen penetration will be investigated in project # 06. Events following allergen contact with the respiratory epithelium might teach us how to interfere with the sensitizing agents in the future. Another aspect of this area will be the detailed investigation of human skin diseases related to IgE-associated allergies (project # 02). Along those lines, it will be asked how immune surveillance in the skin is influenced by alterations in the barrier function of the skin and how that impacts on allergen uptake and presentation. Moreover, in project # 16 the skin immune system will be further investigated by phenotypically and functionally characterizing the T cell reservoir present within this organ in certain diseases. These investigations are aimed at providing new information regarding the factors inducing and maintaining skin inflammation and should open new avenues for selective therapy. Projects # 04, 10 and 14 will study various aspects of allergic manifestations in the gut and of food allergy.

Faculty Members – Research Groups: