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B4 Helminth-protozoan coinfection: redirecting host immune cells (Hartmann/Steinfelder)

Research Group: Institute of Immunology
Address: Freie Universität Berlin, Centre for Infection Medicine, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, 14163 Berlin
Supervisors: Professor Dr. Susanne Hartmann / Dr. Svenja Steinfelder
Doctoral Researcher: Norus Ahmed

Project Description 

Worm infections affect more than two thirds of the world population. An important feature of chronic worm infection is the modulation of immune responses, which on the one hand enables the survival of the worms within the host, but on the other hand affect or reactivate concurrent infections. This project focuses on consequences of co-infection with the gut-dwelling helminth Heligmosomoides polygyrus and Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite who establishes dormant stages in the brain. We aim to evaluate the influence of secreted Hp immunoregulators and their ability to induce regulatory cells upon the coinfection. In particular, we will determine how these cells affect the dissemination of the parasite and establishment of tissue cysts. Furthermore, we aim to investigate altered migratory behaviour of Tg-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells as well as Tg-harbouring immune cells.

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