Public outreach

Virtual Scientific Symposium

The CRC 1371 looks back to a fantastic Virtual Scientific Symposium with spectacular speakers. We could assemble a panel of world class scientists who are leading the field of microbiome research with experimental and bioinformatical focus on infection, inflammation and cancer. The panel was completed by presentations from junior researchers within the CRC. We enjoyed three half days of intense discussion and exciting science on July 6th, 7th and 8th. View full programm. Link to podcast.

Photo: DGIM
Erik Orberg (left) and congress president Prof. Markus Lerch (right)

For the P05 related project: "Identification of Protective, Metabolite-producing Bacterial and Viral Consortia in Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation Patients" - Junior Scientist Erik Orberg and team received the Best Poster Award in Hematology and Oncology.

Harnessing the power of phages in manipulating the human microbiome

Gut bacteria are central to human health by regulating multiple functions, producing essential metabolites, and protecting against pathogen invasion. Conversely, changes in their community composition are associated with several diseases and conditions like stunting, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colorectal cancer (CRC), graft versus host disease (GVHD), and much more. Likely, these bacteria are amenable to external perturbations. However, nonspecific changes can cause unpredicted long-term consequences. Bacteriophages or phages' high level of specificity, which reduces the risk of damaging these communities, suggest them as the right tools for safe manipulation of gut bacteria.

In contrast to the classical approaches, the Deng lab uses single-cell technologies, multi-omics, culture-independent techniques, and machine learning to isolate novel phages, develop phage-based therapeutics, and understand the underlying mechanisms of phage-host interactions and their impact on the human host (https://web.med.tum.de/en/virologie/research-groups-tum/li-deng/). They apply the knowledge gained for targeting pathogenic bacteria (https://www.helmholtz-munich.de/en/news/corona-virus-epidemic-and-helmholtz-zentrum-muenchen/fightcovidhmgu/therapeutics/index.html)and ameliorating disease severity by restoring healthy microbiota in multiple diseases or conditions like stunting, IBD, CRC, and GVHD (https://www.helmholtz-munich.de/en/aktuelles/latest-news/press-information-news/article/48128/index.html).

To facilitate the acceptance of phage therapy, which uses phages to target pathogenic bacteria, in Germany, the Deng lab has developed highly efficient phage cocktails against Acinetobacter baumanii, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, they are co-organizing the first strategic DZIF Meeting on July 11-12 (https://www.dzif.de/en/event/bacteriophages-science-and-clinical-use) to increase collaborations between scientists and physicians toward defining a roadmap for future translational phage research in Germany. We also have launched a Special Issue in Viruses entitled Phage–Host Interactions: From Communities to Single Particles (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/viruses/special_issues/phage_communities_particles). 

Life & Science Career Symposium May 6th, 2022

The CRC1371 looks back to an exciting afternoon filled with inspiring and lively talks about how to manage (family) life & a career in science. We thank all speakers for the encouraging but also honest presentations about their personal paths. It was great to see that there are so many ways!

In the podcast "Das Gastroenterologische Quartett" Prof. Dirk Haller talks about microbiome analysis in medical consultation, healthy and morbid microbiome, interactions with our brain and the state-of-the-art of microbiome functionality. PD Dr. med. Irina Blumenstein, Prof. Dr. med. Axel Dignaß and Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Schreiber question him on the role of the microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease, the effectiveness of probiotics and fecal transplantation.

Source: YouTube

The 2022 Basic Science Award goes to Sascha Göttert, for a new study looking into how microbial-derived metabolites can induce epithelial recovery through Type-I interferon and limit graft-versus-host-disease.

Prof. Dirk Haller speaks at the science center experimenta in Heilbronn about how microbes in the gut influence our life. Read more.

Picture: Astrid Ecker/TUM

Dr. Monica Yabal, research group leader at the Institute of Molecular Immunology and Postdoc in P02 discovered with her team have how inflammatory bowel disease leads to a chain reaction that upsets the gut microbiome.

Chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is becoming increasingly widespread. Until now, however, the underlying causes of the inflammation responses were unclear. Monica Yabal and team have now identified a mechanism that triggers a problematic interaction between intestinal bacteria and cells in the intestinal mucus layer in XLP2, a condition associated with IBD. The scientists believe that the results can be applied to other intestinal diseases and could offer approaches to the development of new drugs

-->Full press release.

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Prof. Dr. Hendrik Poeck, Geschäftsführender Oberarzt der Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin III des UKR. © UKR/Vincent Schmucker

Die wissenschaftliche Arbeit von Professor Dr. Hendrik Poeck wird im Rahmen des neu etablierten Exzellenzprogramms der Deutschen Krebshilfe (DKH) gefördert. Insgesamt stehen 1,5 Millionen Euro für das Forschungsprojekt zum Thema „Gezielte Beeinflussung von Krebsimmuntherapien durch mikrobielle Metabolite“ zur Verfügung.

Darm- und Tumor-Mikrobiota entscheidend für Wirksamkeit von Immuntherapien

„Wir wissen, dass bestimmte von der Mikrobiota abstammende Botenstoffe, sogenannte mikrobielle Metabolite, die Aktivität unseres Immunsystems beeinflussen, und das wollen wir uns zu Nutze machen. So können diese Metabolite über bisher unzureichend verstandene Mechanismen das Wachstum maligner Krebszellen hemmen. Darüber hinaus wissen wir nun auch, dass die Antibiotika-Gabe die Wirksamkeit der CAR T-Zell-Therapie herabsetzen kann“, so der Spezialist für Akute Leukämien, Stammzelltransplantation und Tumorimmunologie weiter. Ziel der Forschungsarbeit von Professor Poeck und seines Teams ist es nun herauszufinden, wie aus dem Darm abstammende mikrobielle Metabolite CAR T-Zellen in ihrer Funktion beeinflussen und welche zelleigenen Signalwege für die beobachteten Effekte verantwortlich sind. 

„Durch unsere Integration in das Bayerische Zentrum für Krebsforschung (BZKF), das Comprehensive Cancer Center Ostbayern (CCCO), das Nationale Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen WERA sowie in die Sonderforschungsbereiche (SFB) zu Mikrobiom (SFB 1371), zu Immunsignalen bei Krebserkrankungen (SFB 1335), zur Metastasierung (SFB TRR305) und zur allogenen Stammzelltransplantation (SFB TRR221), können wir auf ein umfangreiches klinisches und wissenschaftliches Netzwerk zurückgreifen. Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass unsere Ergebnisse zu gezielten mikrobiellen Interventionen führen können. Damit sollte die Anti-Tumor-Antwort durch CAR-T-Zellen synergetisch verbessert werden, was die Krebsimmuntherapie einen weiteren, vielleicht entscheidenden Schritt voranbringen kann“, resümiert Professor Poeck.

Text: UKP Pressestelle

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Erik Thiele Orberg, MD, PhD received the ASH Abstract Achievement Award

Picture: Fotoagentur argum, Falk Heller

The CRC1371 Junior Scientist received the ASH Abstract Achievement Award for: "Longitudinal Analysis of Gut Bacteriome, Mycobiome, Virome and Metabolome in Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation Reveals Susceptibility for Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease"

The following interview took place at the 63rd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition congress in Atlanta, GA:

www.vjhemonc.com/video/hqhqhxsmr5s-the-role-of-the-gut-microbiome-and-metabolome-in-gvhd-susceptibility/

Bacteriophages - promising candidates for the effective treatment of bacterial infections

The press is currently dominated by articles about viruses that turn our everyday lives upside down. However, the new Pharmakon of the German Pharmaceutical Society (Deutsche Pharmazeutische Gesellschaft) is dedicated to a very special group of viruses, the bacteriophages (phages), which are promising candidates for the effective treatment of bacterial infections. Phages can eliminate bacteria through targeted lysis and are potential assistants in the fight against the growing antibiotic multiresistance crisis. We are delighted that, in addition to representatives from BfArM, Fraunhofer Institute, and DZIF, our Junior Scientist Dr. Silvia Würstle also contributed to this Pharmakon on phages in research and application.

Read more here.

Exploring bacterial interactions - or how to become a bacteria whisperer

Bacterial ecology literally changes our lifes everyday. To understand how our bacteria influence our bodies, we need to dissect the social dynamics of these large bacterial communities. We used a bacterial model system to learn more about how gut bacteria behave and interact with each other.

Read the blogpost of PhD student Anna Weiß here.

Picture: Anna Weiss

The microbiome: Battle of the bugs

Picture: Alexandra von Strempel

In a new study, Bärbel Stecher and her team from LMU have shown that, depending on the composition of the microbiome, E. coli bacteria can prevent infections by Salmonella strains.

Read full article here

Nature and nurture: researchers identify new pathway critical for the development and prevention of intestinal inflammation

Small intestinal crypts of IBD patients with unchanged (left) and mutated (right) XIAP gene. Paneth cells are labeled in red and nuclei of all cells in a crypt are labeled in blue. The patients with mutated XIAP gene have smaller number of Paneth cells. © Anne Strigli

Researchers from Dresden identify a pathway critical for preventing intestinal inflammation that responds to therapeutic intervention.

Read full press release here

DGE Symposium - Nutrition and Microbiome, September 2021

Picture: Haller

Prof. Dirk Haller and Prof. Thomas Bosch (CRC1182) moderated the DFG Symposium on September 29th
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Dr. Amira Metwaly speaks on fingerprinting the gut microbiome for the diagnosis and prognosis of inflammatory bowel disease in her presentation (Picture: TUM)

Pint of Science is an international organization that brings brilliant scientists to their local pub to discuss their latest research and findings with interested people. The audience doesn't need any previous knowledge, because the lectures from the world of science at a Pint of Science event are generally understandable. For young and old, the talks offer a great chance to meet (and have a "pint" with) the people responsible for the future of science. The festival runs over a couple of days in May each year. This year, due to the Corona pandemic, the events, which run in various cities, are being held online for the second time.

Picture: TUM | Small intestinal crypts of Crohn´s disease patients

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the intestine that, in most cases, relapses episodically. As of now, there is no cure for this disease. The research group of Prof. Haller has discovered a marker at a microscopic level, which can be used to identify patients that show a high probability of suffering from an inflammation recurrence in the immediate future. With this insight, therapeutic counter-measures may be employed at an earlier stage

Prof. Dirk Haller and Dr. Amira Metwaly (Picture: Andreas Heddergott / TUM)

Complex networks of bacteria and metabolites - substances converted in biological metabolism - represent biochemical fingerprints of the interactions between host and gut microbiota. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have shown that these interactions trigger aberrant immune responses in Crohn's disease patients and cause functional changes in the gut during the onset of a disease flare.