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Prof. Dr. Manolis Pasparakis is the Head of Research Area and Principal Investigator at Institute for Genetics, Cologne, Germany. Her group's long-term goal is to understand the mechanisms that regulate immune homeostasis and control inflammation. The group's current work focuses on the mechanisms regulating cell death and particularly necroptosis and how this pathway of regulated necrosis contributes to inflammation. Using genetic mouse models they aim to identify basic mechanisms regulating cell death and inflammation. In addition, they aim to assess the potential role of necroptosis in the pathogenesis of human diseases and explore the possible therapeutic application of necroptosis inhibitors in chronic human inflammatory diseases.
The group's recent studies contributed to the identification of new mechanisms causing inflammation in epithelial tissues, which may lead to the development of new treatments for inflammatory diseases. Their experiments showed that death of epithelial cells triggers severe chronic inflammation in barrier tissues such as the gut and the skin. In particular, their results revealed that necroptosis, a newly identified pathway or regulated necrotic cell death, of intestinal epithelial cells triggered severe colon inflammation resembling human colitis. In addition, the experiments showed that necroptosis of epidermal keratinocytes also triggered severe skin inflammation. Furthermore, the most recent studies revealed novel functions of RIP kinase 1 that are important for the regulation of epithelial cell survival and the maintenance of immune homeostasis in barrier tissues.
Research Article: J Pulm Respir Med 2013, 3: 142
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