Research Interests

It is the goal of the immunology group to gain a better understanding of agerelated changes within the immune system in order to find new ways to prevent the loss of immune function with age. Age-related changes in T-lymphocytes, immune cells responsible for eliminating virus-infected cells and cancer cells from the body, are most detrimental. This is due to early degenerative changes that take place in the thymus, the organ in which T cells mature. As the thymus gradually loses its ability to replenish, the naïve T cells decrease while memory and effector T cells increase in number and dominate the repertoire. This can lead to the loss of certain T cell specificities and changes in the composition of the T cell repertoire. Of practical relevance is the question how vaccination can be optimized for the elderly.