Team IAA: Rapid Identification of Auto-Antigens in Autoimmune Diseases

The team is seeking new platform technologies or concepts which lead to identification of antigens recognized by T-cells involved in autoimmune responses. The objective of the group is to deconvolute the autoimmune T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire functionally with respect to unknown cognate peptide: HLA complexes. We will use high-throughput screening approaches coupling sequence to specificity in order to identify critical points of attack in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.


  • Dr. Nathan Felix
    Principal Scientist, Janssen Immunosciences, Spring House, USA (Industry mentor)
  • Prof. Dr. Nina Papavasiliou
    Head of Department Immune Diversity, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany (Academic mentor)
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Janssen.

The research of this team is conducted in collaboration with Velabs.

Our Team Members

Dr. John Lindner

Group Leader

Previous work
  • 2014-2018: Post-doc in autoimmune antibody repertoires with Dr. Elisabetta Traggiai at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2008-2013: PhD (molecular immunology) in B-cell transcriptional control with Dr. Peter Nielsen in the Department of Prof. Michael Reth at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany

Dr. Yonatan Herzig

Postdoctoral Researcher

Previous work
  • 2016-2018: Postdoctoral fellow focusing on inflammasome activation in health and disease in the laboratory of Prof. Eicke Latz, The Institute for Innate Immunity, University Hospital of Bonn, Germany
  • 2011-2016: Ph.D in Biology focusing on adaptive immunity and central immune tolerance, in the laboratory of Dr. Jakub Abramson, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • 2009-2011: M.Sc in Biology focusing on establishing yeast-based high throughput systems to study cellular protein trafficking in the laboratory of Dr. Maya Schuldiner, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Dr. Jing Zhang

Postdoctoral Researcher

Previous work
  • 2010-2018: Postdoc and Research Scientist at Hematology & Oncology, Goethe-University Medical School, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 2011-2013: Research scholarship by German Jose Carreras Leukemia Foundation
  • 2001-2009: Master-PhD student, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, The Chinese Academy of Sciences

Miray Cetin

Research Assistant

Previous work
  • 2017-2019: Master of Science in Molecular Biosciences, Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University and DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2012-2016: Bachelor of Science in Honours Biology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Veronica Pinamonti

Research Assistant

Previous work
  • 2015-2018: Master of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biotechnology, CIBIO – University of Trento, Italy
  • 2017: Vienna Biocenter Summer School 2017, Vienna Austria
  • 2012-2015: Bachelor of Science in Biomolecular Science and Technology, CIBIO – University of Trento, Italy

Kieran Elias Didi


Previous work
  • Since 2018: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2018: International Biology-Olympiad, awarded a silver medal, Teheran, Iran
  • 2017-2018: Different internships in chemistry/life sciences

Constantin Diekmann


Previous work
  • Since 2018: Master of Science in Molecular Biosciences, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2019: Intern at HI-STEM/DKFZ Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2015-2018: Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at University of Constance, Germany