Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology


We, the scientists at the Institute of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology aim to perform groundbreaking research into the interactions between microorganisms and the innate immune system, in particular at border surfaces with the environment. We are eager to open new frontiers for research and approach unresolved issues in microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology and epithelial cell biology. Barrier surfaces such as those of the skin, intestine and lungs are continuously exposed to the environment. For example, they are densely colonized by complex consortia of bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites and are in contact with a multitude of environmental factors (e.g., diets, light, UV irradiation).

We hypothesize that over millions of years of co-evolution of multicellular organisms with their environments, signaling networks involving components of the innate immune system have been selected that are believed to shield the host against continuous threats to its integrity and, thereby, improve its fitness, a process often referred to as adaptation.

We postulate that the recent dramatic increase of immune-mediated diseases (e.g., inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, multiple sclerosis, metabolic diseases) reflects unsuccessful adaptation of the immune system to the environment. The mission of the Institute is to establish a multidisciplinary center of excellence for research on host-microbe and host-environment interactions. The new insights gained should fundamentally change our scientific thinking and may substantially contribute to future medical practice to prevent infectious and immune-mediated diseases.

Find here the latest Publications

Mario Witkowski, Caroline Tizian, […] Andreas Diefenbach
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04142-6 (2021) 
Untimely TGFβ responses in COVID-19 limit antiviral functions of NK cells
Manuel O Jakob, Michael Kofoed-Branzk, Divija Deshpande, Shaira Murugan, Christoph S N Klose
Front Immunol. 2021 July 12;12:679055. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.679055.
An Integrated View on Neuronal Subsets in the Peripheral Nervous System and Their Role in Immunoregulation
Manuel O Jakob, Shaira Murugan, Christoph S N Klose 
Front Immunol. 2020 Mar 20;11:308. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.00308.
Neuro-Immune Circuits Regulate Immune Responses in Tissues and Organ Homeostasis
Guendel F, Kofoed-Branzk M, Gronke K, Tizian C, Witkowski M,…, Diefenbach A.
Immunity. 17 November 2020; Volume 53, Issue 5,  Pages 1015-1032.e8 
Group 3 Innate Lymphoid Cells Program a Distinct Subset of IL-22BP-Producing Dendritic Cells Demarcating Solitary Intestinal Lymphoid Tissues
Cosovanu C and Neumann C. 
Front.Immunol. 20 October 2020
The Many Functions of Foxp3+ Regulatory T Cells in the Intestine
Barrientos G, …, Conrad ML
Sci Rep. 2020; 10: 15243. Published online 2020 Sep 17
Changes in subclass-specific IgG Fc glycosylation associated with the postnatal maturation of the murine immune system
Schaupp L et al.
Cell. Article in press, available online 6 May 2020
Microbiota-Induced Type I Interferons Instruct a Poised Basal State of Dendritic Cells

 BIH paper of the month                       May 2020  
Diefenbach A, Gnafakis S, Shomrat O.
Immunity. 2020 Mar 17
Innate Lymphoid Cell-Epithelial Cell Modules Sustain Intestinal Homeostasis
Alhasan M, Conrad ML, Heimesaat M,
Bereswill S et al.
Allergy. Epub Feb 2020, print August 2020
Antibiotic use during pregnancy increases offspring asthma severity in a dose-dependent manner.

What we do

» Development and Function of the Innate Immune Sytem                                                        » Mucosal Immunology
» Crosstalk between the Nervous and the Immune System                  » Role of the Microbota in Health and Disease
» Gastrointestinal Microbiology                                                                                          » Reproductive Immunology
» Biofilm Formation                                                                                                                      » Molecular Mycology
» Infection Epidemiology                                                                                                                    » Host Septomics

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3 ERC Grantees
1 Emmy-Noether-Program Recipient

DFG Priority Program
“SPP 1937 on Innate Lymphoid Cells”

Web of Science
Highly Cited Researcher


and Projects

Conrad Lab

Reproductive Immunology

Diefenbach Lab

Development and function of the innate immune system

Dürr Lab

Mucosal Immunity

Gräser Lab

Molecular Mycology

Heimesaat and Bereswill Lab

Gastrointestinal Microbiology

Hamann Lab

Genetic variance within the innate immune system

Jordan Lab

Laboratory of Microbiology, Metabolism & Inflammation (LoMMI)

Klose Lab

Neuro-immune Interactions

Moter Lab


Neumann Lab

Lymphocyte Biology and Microenvironment

Stamatiades Lab

Tissue Monitoring by Macrophages

Triantafyllopoulou Lab

Innate Immunity in Rheumatic Diseases

Feldmeier Lab (affiliated)

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Schumann Lab (affiliated)

Host-Pathogen Interaction

Slevogt Lab (affiliated)

Host Septomics


Join the Virtual Seminar Series of the Berlin Centre for the Biology of Health

Seminar Program 2021

Talk: Isaac Chiu

Department of Immunology, Harvard Medical School Virtual Seminar Series of the Berlin Centre for the Biology of Health Title: “Role of nociceptor neurons in host defense and immunity at barrier[…]

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Highly Cited Researchers 2021 at the Institute

Andreas Diefenbach One of 161 top researchers worldwide identified as particularly influential in Immunology Christoph S. N. Klose Cross-field Expert Press Release Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (in German) Link to Clarivate website

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Talk: Katrin Kierdorf

Institute of Neuropathology, Faculty of Medicine, University Medical Center Freiburg Virtual Seminar Series of the Berlin Centre for the Biology of Health Title: ‘Mind the gap: Microglial network dynamics in[…]

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Our Team

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Contact us

We are always interested in applications from master and PhD students

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