Our Team - NICOLAB

Principal Investigators:


Further information


I obtained considerable Research Experience in Transcription Regulation, Epigenetics and Cancer Biology after working as Post-doctoral fellow, Research assistant and Principal Investigator at Columbia University, New York, USA, at Patras University, Faculty of Medicine, Greece and at Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Al-exander Fleming” in Athens, Greece, respectively.
In AG Gagliani, I am addressing key immunological questions of CD4+ TH17 cell biology and in particular by which mechanisms the TH17 cells acquire their pathogenic functions in autoimmunity, using the mouse as a model.


I am a clinician scientist interested in the interaction of the microbiota, immune system and gastrointestinal cancers. By using in vivo and in vitro model systems, I aim to address clinically relevant problems.



Within the group, I work on bioinformatic analysis of all kinds of sequencing data. My research is focused on the plasticity of T cells and the mechanisms behind tolerance development in healthy and disease contexts.



I joined the lab in 2024 as a Postdoc. During my PhD I studied the role of marine bacteria in their environment through a combination of omics and biochemistry. Here, I am applying this background to uncover the role of the human microbiota in cancer -especially pancreatic cancer- development and tumor immunology.


My name is Johannes, I joined the lab in 2024 after completing my PhD at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine where I studied T cells in malaria. Now, my research focuses on the intricate dynamics in the developmental trajectory of Tr1 cells to better understand the plasticity of T cells.


I’m Filippo and I joined the lab in 2018, as a postdoc. I arrived after completing my PhD in immunology at San Raffaele Scientific Institute (Milan). Here my research interests include conventional and unconventional T cell plasticity and how environmental cues affect immune response


I joined the lab in 2024 after completing my previous postdoc, which focused on the interaction of Th17 cells and intestinal epithelial cells during inflammation. My current research focuses on CD4+ skin-resident memory T cells and how environmental triggers, such as pathogen infection, induce an immune response.


My name is Franziska and I joined Nicola Gagliani’s lab in 2018 after I finished my PhD at the Bernhard-Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine studying the role of CD160 regulating CD8 T cell function in malaria. Now, my research focusses on the developmental trajectory of regulatory CD4 T cells in homeostasis, intestinal inflammation and infections.


I’m Francesco, originally from Florence (Italy) but moved to Germany right after University, first in Berlin where I did my phD in cognate re-activation of Ag-specific Trm cells, then in Hamburg where I am a member of Nicola Gagliani’s lab since 2018. Here, I study how short- and long-term dietary intervention affect mucosal and systemic immunity to bacterial and blood-borne antigens, focusing on the axis diet/microbiota/immunity.

Ph.D. students:


Hi I am Tadeo Amato, a PhD candidate with a background in biotechnology, originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. My research is focused on tissue residency and adaptation of T cells.


My research is centered on tumor immunology, with a specific focus on understanding the dynamic interaction between the immune system and the tumor micro- and macroenvironment. I am particularly interested in exploring how this interplay contributes to therapeutic resistance as well as subsequent implications for immunotherapeutic interventions in pancreatic cancer.


Hi, I’m Mariana Santoz Cruz. I have a background in molecular biomedicine and have joined the lab as a PhD student in 2022. I am interested in understanding how the interplay between the microbiota and the immune system orchestrates therapy resistance in pancreatic cancer.


PhD candidate with a biotechnology background from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Working on tissue residency and adaptation of T cells.


My research is focused on immunological memory. I am particularly interested in understanding how tissue resident memory T cells are involved in diseases with an immunological component.

Clinician Scientists:


My Name is Ruba, a general surgery resident who’s next to that also working in the NICOLAB as a clinician scientist and seeking to understand the immune microenvironment of soft-tissue sarcomas. My research is focused on tumor infiltrating T cells.


I am Simone Müller, working in the AG Gagliani as a Clinician Scientist coming from the department of general surgery. Interested in tumor biology, I am investigating the immune microenvironment of sarcomas with a special focus on Tissue resident T-Cells.


I am a surgical resident at the department of general, visceral and thoracic surgery at the UKE and clinician scientist in the Gagliani lab.
I investigate tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes within the tumor-microenviroment of soft-tissue sarcomas using a sarcoma organoid model.


I'm a clinician scientist, working in the Gagliani lab since 2019. My main project aims at deciphering how T cells adapt to different organs.

MD students:


I am a MD student, with a great interest in the role of the immune system in gastrointestinal malignancies. For my MD thesis, I am trying to dissect the role of tumor infiltrating myeloid cells to control the metabolism of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).


Hi, I’m Jing Lu. I joined the lab as a MD student in 2024. My research focuses on how IBD is converted into colitis-related carcinoma, and the role of CD4+Trm in this process.


My name is Felix Schoppmeier and I am a 6th year medical student here at the UKE and joined the lab in 2022. For my MD Thesis, I investigate together with Filippo Cortesi and with support of the SFB 1328 the role of purinergic signaling in TH17 cells .



Hi, im Ayob! Im a Biological-Technical Assistant and responsible for Lab maintenance and organisation. Im also the first person you ask to do Single cell sequencing for your sample!


Hi, I’m Sabrina. For more than twenty years I have been working as a TA. In the Lab I’m supporting Theodora Agalioti with the Blimp1 project.


I am working as MTA in NICOLAB and I like solving challenging tasks.

Management & Communication:


I am a business economist (BA).
I am responsible for the administrative things in the lab.


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