Marie Curie Initial Training Network

Ralf Dressel


Recruited Fellow

Pranali Shah

Pranali Shah

Professor Ralf Dressel MD PhD
Research Group Leader
Department of Cellular and Molecular Immunology
University of Göttingen
Heinrich-Düker-Weg 12
37073 Göttingen

Ralf Dressel completed his MD thesis in 1997 in the Division of Immunogenetics at the University of Göttingen. He has worked as a Research Group Leader in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Göttingen since 2005. Since 2007 he has worked as a Consultant Immunologist (DGfI) and he was appointed as Professor in 2009.

The Research Group of Professor Dressel works in the fields of tumour immunology, transplantation immunology and more recently autoimmunity. The function and role of cytotoxic cells, i.e. cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, is in the centre of our interest. We are studying the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and especially MHC-linked genes that control the function of cytotoxic cells. To explore the medical relevance of these topics we are analysing genetic risks of Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and polymorphisms affecting the outcome of experimental cancer immunotherapy. The discovery of new pluripotent stem cell types including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has improved the perspectives of using stem cells to obtain cells and tissues that can be transplanted to treat a variety of degenerative diseases including heart failure and Parkinson's disease. We have started to determine the immunogenicity and tumorigenicity of pluripotent stem cells, progenitor cells, and differentiated cells and their susceptibility to immunological cytotoxicity. Moreover, we are studying the contribution of autoimmune reactions to the development of heart failure after increased mechanical load. Prof Dressel is PI within the “Deutsches Zentrum für Herz- Kreislaufforschung e.V. (DZHK)“.

The current projects are funded by the DFG (GRK1034, SFB 1002), BMBF (DZHK), and the EU (Marie Curie Initial Training Network).

Professor Dressel is regularly involved in the teaching programs for Immunology and Human Genetics provided for medical students as well as for biology students at the University of Göttingen. In addition, he is actively teaching in a BSc/MSc/PhD program on Molecular Medicine. He is scientific member of the Göttingen ‘Graduate College Pharmaco Genomics', ( http://www.gcpg.de/).

Research Network Team

Leslie Elsner, Technician; Carina Hamann, PhD student; Antje Iserhagen, PhD student; Hannah Johannsen, MD student; Sebastian Monecke, PhD student; Charlotte Röhrborn, MD student; Ilona Maria Schirmer, PhD student

Collaborators include

Researchers within the collaborative research projects mentioned (SFB 1002, GRK 1034, DZHK) above and Prof Lutz Walter, Head of the Primate Genetics in the German Primate Center Göttingen, who is working on the immunogenetics of non-human primates.

Recruited Fellows

Pranali Shah (India) Early Stage Researcher.

Pranali procured her Bachelors' degree in Biotechnology, in 2011. She has technical expertise in immunohistochemistry, western blotting, biochemical assays, polymerase chain reaction and ELISA. In 2012, Pranali completed a Masters Degree in Infection and Immunity, from University College London, with a dissertation thesis titled, “Investigating antigen dominance in serum antibody response in mice, to nasopharyngeal colonization”. She also is co-author of a paper published in Vaccine journal- http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.03.013. 

Project Title: Predicting acute and chronic GvHD by gene expression profiling and testing of new targets

Relevant References

1. Novota P, Zinöcker S, Norden J, Wang XN , Sviland L, Opitz L, Salinas-Riester G, Rolstad B , Dickinson AM , Walter L, Dressel R (2011) Expression profiling of major histocompatibility and natural killer complex genes reveals candidates for controlling risk of graft versus host disease. PLoS ONE , 6(1):e16582.

2. Zinöcker S, Sviland L, Dressel R , Rolstadt B (2011) Kinetics of lymphocyte development following experimental allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in the rat: Markers of acute graft-versus-host disease. J Leuk Biol 90: 177-187.

3. Dressel R (2011) Effects of histocompatibility and host immune responses on the tumorigenicity of pluripotent stem cells. Semin Immunopathol 3: 573-591.

4. Zinöcker S, Dressel R , Wang XN , Dickinson AM , Rolstad B (2012) Immune reconstitution and graft-versus-host reactions in rat models of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. Front. Immun. 3 : 355.