The Institute of Experimental Immunology (IEI) was founded in 2002. It is situated on the medical Campus of the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn. The scientific mission of IEI is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling the immune response in a local fashion to develop either into immunity or immune tolerance. Comprehensive knowledge of the physiological regulation of immune tolerance is required to understand the immuno-pathology of chronic inflammation after infection, autoimmunity and perhaps even failure of the immune response to eliminate tumors. Research groups at IEI also join forces to develop novel methods to modulate cell function within tissue using laser-assisted nanoparticle-mediated strategies. Ultimately, we intend to develop new strategies to modulate local immune responses for therapeutic purposes.
Currently, five research groups are working in the institute. The research groups are independent in their research and fund-raising activity. A common infra-structure centered around the Core Facility for Flow cytometry is shared by all research groups and facilitates both scientific work and exchange of ideas and techniques between research groups. Scientists at IEI have set up close and successful collaborations with scientists from the natural science faculty and also integrate clinically oriented research groups from the medical faculty, thus forming a lively scientific platform fostering not only basic research but also translational medicine.
The IEI is located in the direct vicinity of the departments of surgery and internal medicine. This allows for efficient interaction with clinical scientists and clinicians. Two Max-Eder-Junior Research Groups cooperate with IEI in studying molecular mechanisms of tumor-specific immune responses and novel treatment strategies in hepatocellular carcinoma. Supported by BONFOR grants a neuro-immunology young research group has been established in close cooperation with the department of neurology.
The IEI actively contributes to the research topics "Immunology and Infectiology", "Neuro-Sciences" and "Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease", which are established as research focuses at the Medical Faculty of Bonn. Scientists from IEI participate in collaborative research projects funded by the DFG: SFB 704 "Molecular Mechanisms and chemical modulation of local immune regulation", KFO 115 "Intestinal pathophysiology", GRK 804 "Analysis of cell function by combinatorial chemistry", SFB 670 "Cell-autonomous immunity" and most recently KFO 177 "Innate immunity in chronic neurodegeneration". In close collaboration with the department of opththalmology a BMBF-granted initiative was established that seeks to develop novel treatment options for macula-degeneration using nanobiotechnology.
Research group leaders at the IEI join forces not only in pursuing common research projects but collaborate to develop novel cooperative teaching activities. The IMMEI is involved in teaching programs for Medical Students such as lecture series, seminars, tutorials and elective periods in the laboratory. The Core facility Flow Cytometry at IEI provides extensive state of the art teaching for postgraduates in the latest developments of flow cytometry. The Institute further participates in the novel interdisciplinary study program "Molecular BioMedicine". This program not only entails lectures, seminars and tutorials but also aims at providing students with comprehensive training on well-established and cutting-edge technologies in the laboratory. Since 2006, IEI also participates in the Harvard summer school program where students from Harvard spend an elective period in the Institute.