HDACs as regulators of immunity

Our research group focuses on the role of T cells in skin. Special focus will be on the role of epigenetic regulators, HDACs, in regulatory T cells. The project will be performed in the context of a multi-group consortium (an FWF-funded SFB) focused on HDAC biology in T cells. In collaboration with the SFB groups our work will enable the integration of murine and human datasets and provide a rationale for the use of new-generation HDAC inhibitors for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. More information on the consortium can be found at  http://www.meduniwien.ac.at/HIT/ .

Regulation of cutaneous tissue-repair by a specialized population of CD4+ T cells

Consortium: Daniel J. Campbell (Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason) und Iris Gratz (PLUS). R01 National Institute of Health (NIH) grant R01AI127726 (Role: PI). In healthy individuals T cells in the skin not only combat infection but also work in concert to help maintainnormal tissue homeostasis and promote sterile tissue repair. We have identified a novel population of CLA+CD4+ T cells in the peripheral blood and skin of healthy subjects, and we hypothesize that this is a regulatory population of skin-tropic T cells that participates in the host-protective antimicrobial andwound healing responses following tissue damage. In this proposal, we will use in vitro analyses and innovative humanized mouse models to test this hypothesis, assessing the developmental origins of CLA+CD103+ cells and their relationship to other populations of skin T cells, and assessing their function during cutaneous inflammation and wound healing.

Immunity in Cancer and Allergy

(FWF Project DK-Plus W1213;  http://ica.sbg.ac.at)
The mammalian immune system acts as a complex surveillance system ensuring to distinguish between self and non-self, and between harmless and dangerous events approaching from outside or inside of the organism. Moreover, it interacts with growth, differentiation and death of cells and tissues, and thus maintains the homeostasis and the integrity of our body. The doctoral college is focused on two pathologies of the immune system, i.e. the overwhelming allergic immune response and the inefficient immune response against certain tumors. Both diseases are a growing concern and there is an urgent medical need to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for the development of new therapies. Unraveling the cellular and molecular immunological mechanisms and pathways enables to develop rational and molecule-based strategies for the treatment of these diseases. The aim of the doctoral college is to attract and select excellent graduate students from all over the world, to provide an intellectually stimulating environment, an excellent instrumental and methodological infrastructure and ambitious scientific projects, and to prepare for a successful career in basic as well as translational and applied science. The college comprises ten research groups. Their track records, experience with national and international programs, and their excellent infrastructure guarantees high quality research and training. Furthermore, the college structure ensures that students benefit from the collective experience of the researchers.

Iris Gratz is member of the following programs: