Structure of the Talks

As last years structure for the talks was well received, we decided to use that formula once again. To enable the students to follow the topics more easily, each talk will be structured into two parts. One part will be given by a PI and the other by one of their students. The first part will give you a broader introduction into the basics of a certain research field and maybe also give a brief overview of the methods which were used. Afterwards the second part of each long scientific talk will cover a discrete research topic, which might even still be ongoing, so you’ll be able to get a sneak peek into future papers. As usual you will also have a short time for posing your own questions to the researchers after each talk, be it for basic understanding or to pry and pose critical questions.

Apart from the old structure we are also excited to announce that we found many speakers who were interested to become a part of our event! To accommodate everyone and to change things up a bit we are excited to announce that we will also have a Short-Talk Shotgun session. That’s a very fancy name for a round of rapidfire scientific talks, which will happen back to back. Several scientists will present a research project to you. No long introductions, so buckle up and hold on tight, it’ll be a wild ride!

This more accurately depicts the often limited timeframes which researchers have at conferences etc. You’ll of course have the opportunity to pose questions after each talk, however you’ll also have ample opportunity to approach anyone and strike up a conversation during a long break right after the session.

Long Talks

RNA G-quadruplex structures and their consequences within cells

Prof. Dr. Kathrin Paeschke & Philipp Simons

Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital Bonn

RNA molecules can form in cells different alternative confirmations. Among them are G-quadruplexes. These structures are very stable and they impact protein binding, the processivity of molecular machines and consequently affect multiple RNA driven processes. We have identified proteins that regulate the formation and unfolding of RNA G-quadruplexes and by this can modulate RNA processes. How and which function RNA G-quadruplexes have during stress conditions, for example during viral infection, we will discuss in this talk

The role of microglia in depression - genetics, stress and neuroinflammation

Dr. Eva Beins

Insititute of Human Genetics, University Hospital Bonn

Depression is a common psychiatric disorder affecting more than 250 million people worldwide and yet, the underlying biological mechanisms still remain poorly understood. Both genetic and environmental factors (e.g. stress) contribute to disease liability, likely via gene-environment interactions. Clinical observations as well as genetic findings suggest that inflammatory processes are involved in the pathophysiology of depression. One cell type implicated are microglia - the resident immune cells of the brain.

The first part of the talk will provide an overview about depression and its genetic architecture as well as introduce the so-called inflammatory hypothesis of depression. Particularly, evidence linking microglia to stress and depression will be presented. Due to the obvious challenge of accessing human microglia, most of the data in this context is based on either animal models or human post-mortem analyses.

In the second part of the talk, I will therefore present our ongoing project in which we use human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived microglia (iMG) to study the influence of genetic risk for depression on microglial function and their responses to relevant environmental stimuli.

CCL17: A chemokine regulating immune responses and neuronal activity

Prof. Dr. Irmgard Förster & Judith Eberhard

Immunology and Environment, Life and Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute, University of Bonn

The chemokines CCL17 and CCL22 facilitate dendritic cell – T cell interactions and induce chemotaxis of activated T cells. They serve as biomarkers for skin-related allergies in human but have also been associated with autism spectrum diseases. Following experimental ablation of CCL17-expressing cells, mice displayed stress symptoms, such as increased locomotion. We demonstrated that CCL17-expressing neurons locate to the pyramidal cell layer of the hippocampus and currently investigate the time course and consequences of neuroinflammation observed after ablation of CCL17-expressing neurons.

Dietary and life style impacts on immune sex differences and female immunity

Dr. Tal Pecht &

Molecular Immune and Cell Biology, Life and Medical Sciences Institute, University of Bonn

Shotgun Session

Diverse macrophage subset under challenge

Dr. Nelli Blank Stein & Katharina Mauel

Developmental Biology of the Immune System, Life and Medical Sciences(LIMES) Institute, University of Bonn

hPSC-based disease modelling in the context of major depressive disorder

Dr. Polina Oberst

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA

Human immune variation, aging and the effects of environmental factors (exposome)

Dr. Lorenzo Bonaguro

Molecular Immune and Cell Biology, Life and Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute, University of Bonn

Sphingomyelin 14:0 - the link between obesity and neuroinflammation

Dr. Róisín McManus

German Centre for Neurodegenerative diseases (DZNE)