Oncology

Team IMT: Immunosuppressive Microenvironment of Tumors

Solid tumors are complex microenvironments composed of cancer and immune cells that interact through various regulatory networks. Although CD8 T-cells may recognize and kill tumor cells, their function is impaired by cells such as regulatory T-cells, tumor-associated macrophages (TAM), and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). The success of the so-called checkpoint blockade strategy and numerous clinical and preclinical studies have demonstrated that alleviating immunosuppression translates into a therapeutic benefit.

Our team is exploring new strategies to relieve immunosuppression and improve anti-tumor response. Current projects focus on the establishment of antibody-discovery platforms, the isolation of specific antibodies, and their functionalization. Furthermore, our group develops platforms that allow investigation into the development and suppressive activity of myeloid cells in both human beings and mice.

Mentors

  • Dr. Laura Helming
    Associate Director, Group Leader Cancer & Inflammation – ImmunoOncology, Merck, Darmstadt (Industry mentor)
  • Prof. Dr. Viktor Umansky
    Group Leader, Dermato-Oncology Unit, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg (Academic mentor)
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Merck.
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Merck.

Our Team Members

Dr. Lee Kim Swee

Group Leader

Previous work
  • 2010–2014: Postdoc with Prof. Hidde Ploegh, Whitehead Institute/MIT, USA
  • 2010: Scientist at Scil Technology, Munich, Germany
  • 2004–2008: PhD with Prof. Antonius Rolink, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 2004: Master of Science, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Dr. Christopher Bachran

Postdoctoral Researcher

Previous work
  • 2009–2014: Postdoc with Dr. Steve Leppla, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, USA – development of anthrax toxin fusion proteins for targeted tumor therapy
  • 2006–2009: Postdoc with Dr. Hendrik Fuchs, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany – combination therapy of anti-tumor fusion proteins and plant triterpenoids
  • 2002–2006: PhD in biochemistry with Dr. Hendrik Fuchs, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany – characterization and design of novel immunotoxins

NIH fellowship

Dr. Stefanie Dannenmann

Postdoctoral Researcher

Previous work
  • 2012–2014: Head of the flow cytometry facility, Medical Faculty Ulm
  • 2012: PhD in Oncoimmunology, ETH/University of Zurich
  • 2005: Master of Science, Jacob University Bremen

Dr. Matthias Schröder

Postdoctoral Researcher

Previous work
  • 2011–2014: Postdoctoral Researcher, University Hospital Bonn
  • 2011: PhD, University Hospital Frankfurt am Main, Immune pharmacology
  • 2008: Diploma in Biology, Technical University Kaiserslautern

Lena Conrad

Research Associate

Previous work
  • 2011–2013: Master of Science in BioSciences, Technical University of Kaiserslautern
  • 2007–2011: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, Hochschule Darmstadt

Marit Krötschel

Research Associate

Previous work
  • 2005–2015: Research Assistant, Max Planck Institute of Immunology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2011–2013: Master in Health Sciences, University of Education, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2008–2011: Bachelor in Health Sciences, University of Education, Freiburg, Germany

Simone Loos

Research Associate

Previous work
    • 2013–2015: Master of Science in Biomedical Science and Technology, University of Applied Sciences, Mannheim
    • 2009–2013: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, University of Applied Sciences, Ansbach

Franziska Schmitt

Research Assistant

Previous work
  • 2015–2016: Research Assistant at Fraunhofer IGB Würzburg, Tissue Engineering und Regenerative Medicine
  • 2013–2015: Master of Science in Biology, Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg
  • 2010–2013: Bachelor of Science in Biology, Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg

Arne Knudsen

Master‘s Thesis Student

Previous work
  • Since 2015: Master of Science in Molecular Biotechnology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2016: Internship, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA
  • 2011-2015: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biotechnology, University of Heidelberg, Germany