Joint Doctoral Retreat on “Immunity in Allergy and Infection” in Obergurgl 29.11.-03.12.2018

Five members of the IRGT 1911 were invited to join the doctoral retreat of the FWF-funded Doctoral Program HOROS (HOst Response to Opportunistic infectionS), headed by the University of Innsbruck in Obergurgl (Austria). For 4 days we enjoyed an excellent scientific program, which was perfectly mixed with social events fostering new collaborations. 

After our arrival at the University Center Obergurgl, the scientific session started in the evening with a warm welcome by Reinhard Würzner, the organizer of the retreat and program speaker of HOROS. We had the pleasure to start the scientific program with a whole session on complement receptors. First, Jörg Köhl presented an update on C5a receptors as a target in inflammation. Yves Laumonnier continued and presented new data on the role of C5a receptor 1 (C5aR1) in the activation of inflammatory eosinophils and their role in allergic asthma. Next, the IRTG-student Konstantina Antoniou (Project A7) presented her work on the role of the C5a/C5aR1 axis in controlling pulmonary tolerance at the level of CD11b+ conventional dendritic cells.  Next, Christian Karsten presented new insights into the regulation of natural killer cell function by the C5a/C5a receptor 2 axis. The session was concluded by the talk of Katharina Quell (Project A1), another IRTG-student, who presented data on the role of C3a receptor in the of macrophage-derived multinucleated cell formation in allergic asthma. 

The following days we listened to many interesting presentations that were given by HOROS-students and invited group-leaders, as well as students from other doctoral programs such as  MOLIN (Molecular Fundamentals in Inflammation) from Graz. The highlights included an update on the complement lectin pathway by Peter Garred (Copenhagen), the immune system of the gut by Seppo Meri (Helsinki), and the role of thrombin as a non-canonical activator of C5 under physiological conditions by Tom Eirik Mollnes (Oslo). Another highlight was the presentation from Doris Wilflingseder (MCBO, Innsbruck), who presented novel human 3D cell models to study cell-cell interactions at pathogen entry sites of the lung and the gut. Interestingly, her data suggest that such model can be run under serum free conditions. Finally, Dorothea Orth-Höller (Innsbruck) gave an update on the pathogenesis of Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and the toxicity of the Shiga Toxins produced by the bacteria. 

In summary, we enjoyed wonderful five days in the high alpine University Center Obergurgl with outstanding science, food, social and sports activities. We were particularly impressed by the warm and friendly atmosphere resulting in vivid discussions between students and faculty, both at the scientific sessions and the social activities. We are very much looking forward to meet again in Obergurgl for the joint retreat of the IRTG 1911 and HOROS in January 2020.