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Research of the Professorship Nutrition and Immunsystem


The research group Nutrition and Immune System investigates food ingredients with regard to health-promoting and immunomodulating effects.

In addition to elucidating basic principles of health-promoting and immunomodulating properties of food ingredients, we also investigate these compounds in the context of various diseases. A particular focus is put on chronic inflammatory processes that may occur in barrier organs including the intestine. Potentially involved inflammatory and chemopreventive signaling pathways are investigated on the molecular level.

The intestinal microbiota is playing a role in the development of chronic inflammatory processes and can be effectively modulated through food. Such intestinal microbiota-modulating food ingredients may also be used for the prevention or therapy of the so-called process of inflamm-ageing, a low-grade chronic inflammation in old age, which is associated with a damage of the intestinal barrier.

The research group particularly uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism, as it offers a long list of advantages including the possibility to test a wide variety of substances within a short time for their e.g. lifespan-prolonging  and fitness-inducing effects. As basic signaling pathways of mammals are also present in the fruit fly, it provides a good model organism to study potentially involved signaling pathways and the expression of relevant genes.