The Neuro-Immune-Network Hamburg

The Neuro-Immune-Network Hamburg (NINHH) of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) supports innovative and collaborative research projects at the interface between neuroscience, psychology and immunology. NINHH builds on cutting-edge research and scientific excellence at the UKE, Universität Hamburg and associated Leibniz institutions. It amalgamates two established research centers, the Center for Inflammation, Infection and Immunity (C3i) and the Hamburg Center of Neuroscience (HCNS). Collaborative research within NINHH goes beyond traditional single-system-focused approaches and classic neuro-immunology, as the NINHH takes a fully interdisciplinary approach at identifying and mechanistically describing the shared molecular pathways and common principles that determine how the immune and nervous systems function. These mechanisms of interactions between the immune and nervous systems are investigated in health and disease.

Collaborative research within NINHH has led to recent medical breakthroughs in the recent past. This includes the recognition that some forms of acute psychosis are caused by antibodies against transmitter receptors in the brain (Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis). Another NINHH discovery is the detection of several human genes that play a central role in both, immune cell and neuron function, and that mutations within these genes can lead to combined neurological and immunological deficits.

The NINHH brings together researchers with different expertise and career paths from medical and fundamental research fields. These researchers use specialized techniques and methods including transcriptomics, metabolomics, functional magnetic resonance imaging, cryo-electron tomography, optogenetics and two-photon microscopy to gain a more complete picture of diseases of the immune system and the brain. Members of NINHH share scientific knowledge and ideas and convert them into collaborative research projects to further our understanding of the most complex adaptive systems in the human body. This highly integrated approach has enabled the NINHH to fill an important gap in recent biomedical sciences, enabling interdisciplinary research and translation of novel insights into innovative treatment strategies for human diseases.

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