Team TDA

Regulatory T Cell Dysfunction in Autoimmunity and Inflammaging

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial for maintaining self-tolerance and preventing autoimmune disease. During aging, cellular senescence of Tregs and their dysfunctional state may contribute to age-related diseases fueled by chronic inflammation in the elderly – also called “inflammaging”. The T cell-intrinsic factors, as well as factors released from dysfunctional cells that could lead to alteration of the metabolic state of recipient T cells during aging, are currently ill-defined. In autoimmune disease patients, Tregs display metabolic changes, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress signatures similar to cellular senescence, linking T cell aging and autoimmunity. The main objective of team TDA is to understand the molecular mechanisms governing immune senescence and metabolic dysfunction in Tregs and other T cell subsets that are shared in autoimmunity and aging. This project will conceive novel in vitro models that combine proteomics and single-cell transcriptomics with gene-editing techniques to identify and validate robust molecular signatures during disease development. Team TDA’s final goal is to improve patient outcomes by delivering new targets and novel therapeutic approaches for autoimmune disease treatment and for balancing immune responses in the elderly.

  • Dr. Angelika Schmidt
    Senior Scientist, Biopharma, TIP Immunology at Merck (Industry mentor)
  • Dr. Daigen Xu
    Director Preclinical Pharmacology, TIP Immunology at Merck (Industry mentor)
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Merck.

Our Team Members

Dr. Gorjana Rackov

Group Leader

 Short Bio
  • 2019-2021: Postdoc in extracellular vesicle-mediated cell-to-cell communication and the role of mitochondrial ROS in innate and adaptive responses during inflammation and autoimmunity. HM Hospitals Research Foundation and Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC)
  • 2016-2018: Postdoc in cancer stem cell targeting for glioblastoma immunotherapy. Supervisor: Dr. Angel Ayuso Sacido, IMDEA Nanoscience Institute, Madrid, Spain
  • 2011-2015: PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biomedicine and Biotechnology. Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. Supervisor: Dr. Dimitrios Balomenos at Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), Madrid, Spain

Dr. Arindam Dey

Postdoctoral Researcher

 Short Bio
  • January 2021 – June 2021: Postdoctoral researcher at Institute for Advanced Biosciences, France
    • Development of mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 using cationic lipid nanoparticles
    • Evaluating the effect of charge on cationic lipid nanoparticles on antigen presentation using a co-culture system of dendritic cells and T cells
  • December 2016 – December 2020: Doctoral student at the Institute for Advanced Biosciences, UGA, France. Thesis title: “Study of the effects of nanoparticles on the immune system, supervision: Dr. Patrice Marche
    • NEWDEAL project: New siRNA nano therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases, targeting Janus kinase
    • NANOGLIO project: Nanotechnology-based immunotherapy for glioblastoma.
  • February 2016 – July 2016: Master thesis at the Institute for Advanced Biosciences, UGA, France. Thesis title: “Study of Antigen Presenting Cell functions after exposure to nanoparticles”, supervision: Dr. Patrice Marche
    • Immunotoxicological effect of gold nanoparticles and neutral-lipid nanoparticles on the redox, metabolic, and cytokine profile of macrophages

Dr. Marcel Hahn

Postdoctoral Researcher

 Short Bio
  • 2016-2021: Ph.D. in Biochemistry under the supervision of Prof. Ivan Dikic, Institute of Biochemistry II, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
  • 2013-2015: Master of Science, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany and UCL London, UK  (Supervisor Prof. Henning Walczak)
  • 2010-2013: Bachelor of Science, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, German

Iris Potakowskyj

PhD Student

 Short Bio
  • 2020 – 2021: Master’s degree in Experimental and Medical Biosciences and Master thesis investigating cellular interactions in the gut of Crohn’s Disease patients (Immunofluorescence and Light Microscopy), Linköping University, Sweden
  • 2019 – 2021: Master’s degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria
  • 2016 – 2019: Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Analytics, University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Austria
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