The Applied Microbiology Research Lab is located at the Department Biomedicine, University of Basel.

  • Research Focus

Approximately 500’000 people get infected with influenza viruses in Switzerland every year. Worldwide, almost 1/5 of the population is infected. Therefore, the annual influenza epidemic is associated with substantial health-care costs, high morbidity and mortality on a global scale. At highest risk for reduced clinical outcomes are young children, elderly people, pregnant women, and patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes or with prolonged immunosuppression. The primary strategy to prevent infection is through vaccination. However, the vaccine efficacy is poor in high-risk groups (O’ Shea et al. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2014).

We aim to improve our understanding of the host-pathogen interaction in the context of vaccination in more detail to (i) improve vaccines strategies and (ii) develop novel adjuvants.

In our research, we focus on interferons such as the Type I and III. IFNs have been associated with modulation of the adaptive immune functions, which is also highly crucial in the humoral immune response. IFN release is a rather early event in the immune response, following the recognition via so call Toll-like receptors. We believe that modulation of the signalling cascade at this early stage has an impact on the whole vaccine outcome.

  • Humoral vaccine response in the context of IFN lambda

Mohammedyaseen Syedbasha, Janina Linnik, Julia Hartmann, Kathrin Ullrich

In this SNSF supported project, we explore how IFN lambda impacts on the humoral immune response. The project aims in explore mechanistical aspects in particular the signalling cascades affected by IFN lambda in various immune subsets and links this with B-cell functions and maturation.

We currently recruit stem cell transplant recipients routinely vaccinated with a trivalent Influenza vaccine and measure the vaccine induced cellular and humoral immune response (cytokines, and antibodies). The activity of INF lambda signalling is determined and genetic polymorphisms are analyzed in the context of the immune response.

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  • Computational modelling of the IFN lambda signalling

Janina Linnik, Mohammedyaseen Syedbasha

In this SystemsX supported project, we try to develop a system biological computational model of the IFN lambda signalling cascade in immune cells. We aim to link the IFN lambda signalling with the induced immune response upon vaccination. The impact of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the signalling cascade is further explored.