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Transplantation Virology and Immunomonitoring

The group around Prof. Babel pursues a predominantly translational approach. The focus is mainly on the analysis of adaptive (acquired) immune responses in patients with impaired immunity (for example after transplantation, in autoimmune and tumor diseases) as well as in healthy and elderly individuals. Another focus lies in the study of the role of T cells in protection against infections and virus-associated tumors. Viral diseases are usually associated with reduced immunity. Multi-parameter flow cytometry as well as other modern molecular biology high-throughput techniques (among others Next Generation Sequencing) provide basic data on the quality and quantity of protective T cell responses against e.g. BK virus, CMV and EBV infections, and in immunosuppressed or elderly patients.

The group also established a new technology for the analysis of the T and B cell receptor repertoire, which for the first time was successfully used for differential diagnosis, i.e. to distinguish between viral infection and transplant rejection.

In addition, the cellular and molecular basis of the development of protective immune responses, taking age-specific differences and immunosuppressive medication into account, is analyzed in vaccination studies after hepatitis and influenza vaccination. Studies on regulatory T cell populations aim to understand how unwanted immune responses are controlled by regulatory T cells, particularly in patients with autoimmune disease or after transplantation, and to what extent regulatory T cells prevent effective pathogen or tumor control.

A system-medical approach and the establishment of personalized therapy regimens play an important role in many national and international collaborative projects. As an important partner, the group participates in many of these consortia or, moreover, plays a leading role as coordinator.

The proven expertise in multi-parameter flow cytometry as well as the newly established technology for the investigation of the T and B cell receptor repertoire by next-generation sequencing enables the transfer of innovative diagnostic methods into everyday clinical practice. This know-how is also crucial for numerous collaborations with clinical and basic research-oriented groups from different areas of immunological diseases in Germany and abroad.


Current research projects

Individual Projects 

  • Bone Metabolism and Vascular Calcification: Understanding of Immunological Regulatory Network of the Bi-Directional Interplay
  • Influence of double-negative regulatory T lymphocytes on the functional activity of antigen-specific effector T cells
  • Monitoring, characterization and isolation of allo-specific and virus-specific regulatory and effector T cells in patients after renal transplantation
  • Establishment of new assays for the analysis of allo-specific effector T cells and production of allo-specific regulatory T cells
  • Investigation of cellular and molecular mechanisms of the allo-specific immune response in patients after renal transplantation
  • Effect of virus-specific and regulatory T-lymphocytes on the development of a chronic viral infection (Polyoma, CMV) in kidney transplant patients
  • Generation and characterization of BKV-specific T cells for the diagnosis and treatment of polyomavirus reactivation in kidney transplant patients
  • Cellular immunomonitoring by means of molecular genetic analysis of the T cell receptor repertoire
  • Influence of immunosuppressive therapy on the development of humoral and cellular HBV-specific immunity: investigation of individual cell populations
  • Evaluation of influenza-specific immunity as a function of the aging process
  • Role of inflammatory and protective immune responses for the development of Delayed Graft Function
  • Phenotypic and functional characterization of TCR repertoire in patients with lupus erythematosus
  • Establishment of in vitro assays for the analysis and characterization of pro-inflammatory and regulatory effects on renal cells

Joint Projects

  • OsteoSys: Osteoporosis - a common disease in the context of cardiovascular complications and chronic inflammation: system-medical approach to personalized therapy (Marien Hospital Herne, Essen University Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT), St. Anna Hospital Herne, Beckman Coulter GmbH)
  • e: KID - Systems Medicine Approach to Personalized Immunosuppressive Treatment at Early Stage After Kidney Transplantation (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Humboldt University, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT), Epiontis GmbH, MicroDiscovery GmbH) (
  • SepsisDataNet.NRW - Digitized pattern recognition for the personalized treatment of sepsis patients (Ruhr University Bochum, University Hospital Münster, University of Witten / Herdecke, Clinics of the City of Cologne, Clinic Herford, MedEcon Ruhr, KAIROS GmbH, AYOXXA Biosystems GmbH)
  • mTDM-immune: mobile Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Immunosuppression (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, MicroDiscovery GmbH)
  • The Role of IL-17 in Delayed Graft Function and Alloimmunity in Patients After Kidney Transplantation (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
  • Active Polyomavirus Infection in Renal Allograft Patients; multi-center study (in Germany)
  • Cellular Immune Monitoring by Molecular-Genetic Analysis of T-Cell Receptor Repertoire in Kidney Transplant Patients (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Max Planck Society)
  • Evaluation of the Therapeutic Potential of Regulatory T Cells in Human and Murine Lupus (Subproject in SFB 650)
  • Protective Immunity in Aging (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, German Rheumatism Research Center, Humboldt University, GA Generic Assays GmbH, Epiontis GmbH)
  • Analysis of Virus - Immune System Interaction (Charité University Medicine Berlin, Max Planck Society, Humboldt University)
  • Development of Peptide-Based Immunoassay for Predicting Post-Transplant Complications (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Humboldt University, Fraunhofer Institute, Medipan GmbH, Biosynthan GmbH, PolyAn GmbH)


National Partners

  • Medical Clinic I, Marien Hospital Herne: Prof. Dr. med. T. Westhoff, Dr. F. Bauer
  • Rheumatism Center Herne: Prof. Dr. med. Braun, PD X. Baraliakos
  • Knappschaftskrankenhaus Bochum, Ruhr-Universität Bochum: Prof. Dr. med. R. Viebahn, Prof. Dr. M. Adamzik
  • Proteomcenter, Ruhr-University Bochum: Prof. Dr. med. K. Marcus, Dr. C. May
  • Institute for Bioinformatics, University Hospital Essen: Prof. Dr. med. S. Rahman
  • Institute of Virology, University Hospital Essen: Prof. Dr. med. U. Dittmer, Prof. Dr. med. S. Ciesek
  • Department of Infectiology, University Hospital Essen: Prof. Dr. med. O. Witzke
  • Department of Nephrology, University Hospital of the TU Dresden: Prof. Dr. med. C. Hugo
  • Institute of Virology, Ruhr-University Bochum: Prof. Dr. med. E. Steinmann
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT): Prof. Dr. med. H. Mathis, Dr. C. Goretzky
  • Hematological-Oncological Competence Center, DIAKO, Bremen: Prof. Dr. med. R. Trappe
  • Institute for Medical Immunology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Prof. Dr. med. H.-D. People, Prof. Dr. B. Sawitzki, Dr. R. Sabat, Dr. K. Wolk
  • Department of Nephrology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Prof. Dr. med. P. Reinke, PD Dr. P. Nickel, Dr. L. Liefeldt
  • Department of Hematology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Prof. Dr. med. I.-K. N / A
  • Department of Transfusion Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Dr. med. N. Lachmann
  • Department of Dermatology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Dr. med. C. Ulrich, Dr. R. Sabat, Dr. K. Wolk
  • Berlin Center for Regenerative Therapies, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Prof. Dr. med. A. Thiel, Prof. Dr. S. Geissler
  • Institute for Med. Genetics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Prof. Dr. med. S. Mundlos, Prof. Dr. U. Kornak
  • Department of Infectiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Dr. med. D. Schürmann
  • Institute of Theoretical Biology, Humboldt University Berlin: M. Or-Guil
  • Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin: Dr. med. B. Timmermann
  • German Rheumatism Research Center, Berlin: Prof. Dr. med. C. Romagnani, Prof. Dr. A. Scheffold
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI): H. Seitz, Dr. C. Schröder, Dr. O. Gros
  • Epiontis GmbH: Dr. med. S. Olek, Dr. U. Baron
  • GA Generic Assays GmbH: Dr. med. D. Roggenbuck
  • Miltenyi GmbH: Dr. med. S. Wild
  • Beckman Coulter GmbH: Dr. med. M. Kaymer, Dr. R. Gödde, Dr. M. Kapinsky

International Partners

  • Experimental Hematology, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA: Prof. J. Maciejewski
  • Department of Immunology, Brighton and Sussex Medical School; F. Kern
  • Department of Pediatrics and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas; C. Rooney
  • Med. Clinic for Nephrology, University of Prague, CZE: Prof. Dr. med. O. Viclicky
  • Department of Immunology, Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris, FRA: Prof. Dr. med. G. Gorochov
  • Department of Mathematics, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv, ISR: Prof. Dr. med. Y Louzoun
  • Department of Bioinformatics, Center National de la Recherche Scientifique, FRA: Prof. Dr. med. T. Morra
  • Institute and Clinic of Immunology, Academy of Science, Novosibirsk, RUS: Prof. Dr. med. V. Kozlov, Dr. E. Gavrilova
  • Department of Immunology, University of Milano, ITA: Prof. Dr. med. J. Geginat
  • Center for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, ESP: Dr. med. J. Hecht
  • Clinic for Nephrology, University of Barcelona: F. Diekmann


Dr. Toralf Roch
Scientific Assistent

Dr. Ulrik Stervbo-Kristensen
Scientific Assistent

Dr. Tina Kornprobst
Scientific Assistent

Wera Pustlauk
PhD Student

Arturo Blázquez Navarro
PhD Student
E-Mail: arturo.blá

Annemarie Müskes
PhD Student
E-Mail: annemarie.mü

Constantin Thieme
PhD Student

Alexander Binder
Master Student

Patrizia Wehler

2nd working group at the Center for Translational Medicine at the Marien Hospital Herne of the Ruhr University Bochum.