The Dept. of Immunology focuses on lymphatic and myeloid differentiation, immune regulation and inflammation. Chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease are leading causes of morbidity, psycho-siocal burden and economic loss in Western societies. In view of the central role of innate and adaptive immunity in these diseases, detailed insight into immune regulation is a requirement for elucidation of the immune pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune processes and the rational development of diagnostics and immune therapy. The Postgraduate School Molecular Medicine has an extensive and active program in immune regulation and autoimmunity, consisting of a close collaboration between clinical and pre-clinical departments. Chronic inflammatory diseases of interest are type I diabetes, thyroiditis, affective disorders and schizophrenia (all having a major immuno-neuro-endocrine component), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the related disorder Sjögren s disease, psoriasis, and the demyelinating diseases multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). The general premise is that the immune mechanisms driving the multi-factorial pathological processes in these different diseases of interest are highly analogous. Our overall aims within the frame of aforementioned diseases are to unravel: The immune (dys-)regulations in inflammatory capacity and antigen-presentation and the set point changes in monocytes, dendritic cells and macrophages underlying these diseases The numerical and functional abnormalities in T and B lymphocyte subsets underlying these diseases The influences of the neuro-endocrine system on leukocyte-target organ interaction The microbial and neuro-endocrine compounds driving the immune dys-regulations and the chronic inflammations The molecular mimicry and cross-reactivity for auto-antibody neurotoxicity The development of innovative animal models including conditional and cell type-specific transgenesis. Research topics include basic immune pathogenic mechanisms (e.g. molecular mimicry in GBS and MS); immune-endocrine interactions (e.g. in the pathogenesis of postpartum thyroiditis and psychosis and in the linked amelioration of MS, thyroiditis and RA during pregnancy); molecular signaling pathways in chronic autoimmune inflammation (e.g. transcription factors in psoriasis and major psychiatric diseases, inflammatory gene signature expression in monocytes in major psychiatric and autoimmune diseases, epi-genetic regulation of these various genes); experimental immune therapy (e.g. antibodies against co-stimulatory molecules and cytokines); immune regulation by external factors (e.g. UV irradiation and skin inflammation, infection and MS activity); immune function and disease activity in MS; and immune dysregulation by aberrant development and activity of antigen presenting cells (e.g. in diabetes, Sjögren s syndrome, thyroiditis, atherosclerosis, affective disorders, schizophrenia and histiocytosis).