Group Leader: Susanne Brix Pedersen
Deregulated inflammatory processes play a major role in non-communicable diseases such as allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and obesity-related disorders, but how these processes are geared largely depend on a diversity of factors interacting at the tissue level.
Factors that govern these interplays are host genetics, microbiome composition and exposure, as well as several lifestyle-related aspects such as diet, pollutants, exercise and cellular changes imprinted already during pregnancy and early life. These factors modify and convey alterations of the immune response and thereby differentially impact the type of the resultant immune response and the level of its activation upon triggering.
In the Disease Systems Immunology Group we perform experimental studies focusing on the involvement of microbe and immune cell interplays in these diseases and moreover examine mechanisms governing immune regulation at barrier sites such as the gut and lungs, and within peripheral tissues (adipose tissues, liver, brain) during homeostasis and upon perturbation.
We have specific expertise in isolation and cultivation of primary cells, microbe-host cell co-culture systems, multi-parametric single cell analysis by flow cytometry, cell sorting and highly sensitive multiplex assays for identification of biological mediators in various tissues and fluids.
This knowledge is combined with insight generated based on global bioinformatics-based identification of microbial-derived products within metagenome data and integrated with host health status as well as the diversity of interacting factors, such as host genetics and diet.
The group is also deeply involved in studies encompassing early-in-life programming of immune function towards later disease trajectories with specific focus on childhood allergies, asthma and eczema. These studies are run by the Danish Pediatric Asthma Center involving the two birth cohorts COpenhagen Prospective Studies of Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) 2000 and 2010 (www.copsac.com).
In this collaborative effort we perform sensitive inflammatory biomarker analyses within blood and biological exudates (nasal lining fluid, breast milk), detailing of immune cell distributions and activation profiles measured by flow cytometry, and different cellular stimulation assays.
The group is collaborating with many external partners including hospitals, universities and private companies; that also take active part in various student projects focused on immunological topics.