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Helmholtz Munich / Matthias Tunger

Priv.-Doz. Dr. rer. nat. Caspar Ohnmacht

Principal Investigator at Institute of Allergy Research – Mucosal Immunology
+49 89 3187 2556Email meBuilding/Room: 57/105

“ Our work focuses on basic immune mechanisms protecting barrier organs such as the lung and the gut. A particular focus of his work lies on the regulation of immune tolerance towards both towards self- and foreign antigens.”

“ Our work focuses on basic immune mechanisms protecting barrier organs such as the lung and the gut. A particular focus of his work lies on the regulation of immune tolerance towards both towards self- and foreign antigens.”

Academic Pathway & Research Area

Caspar Ohnmacht obtained his PhD 2009 from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München where he focused on innate type 2 immune effector cells such as dendritic cells, basophils and eosinophils in the lab of Prof. Daivd Voehringer. In 2010, he joined the lab of Prof. Gérard Eberl at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, where he discovered a novel type of regulatory T cells that is now accepted as a major cell type for the tolerization of intestinal bacteria. In 2013, he joined the Institute of Allergy Research at Helmholtz Munich where he became principal investigator of the Mucosal Immunology group. With the help of an ERC Starting grant, his current work focus on the cellular networks, the molecular networks and microbial factors that control the size and the function of this microbiome-induced regulatory T cell population and how this knowledge can be exploited for therapeutic approaches in inflammatory bowel diseases and allergic disorders. The Ohnmacht lab also seeks to identify the role of mesenchymal cells such as intestinal stromal cells to define the intestinal tract as an overall highly tolerogenic organ.

In an additional project, the Ohnmacht lab is also interested in the so-called ‘red meat allergy’ and the role of the environment, e.g. the intestinal microbiome, in the tolerization of the sugar epitope alpha-Gal. Indeed, by generation of a novel anti-alpha-Gal antibody, the work of his group has recently challenged the hypothesis that the intestinal microbiome is a major alpha-Gal source.

Together with Dietmar Zehn from the Life Sciences department at the TUM, he also uses gnotobiology as a highly controllable system and the LCMV infection model to study whether and how the intestinal microbiome influences anti-viral immunity and immunopathology.

Lastly, the Ohnmacht lab also investigates the role of the environmental sensor Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in the context of allergic airway inflammation. For instance, the group could recently show together with Francesca Alessandrini that the absence of the AhR and some of its immediate downstream target enzymes of the CYP1 family results in aggravated lung inflammation.

Fields of Work and Expertise

Mucosal ImmunologyRegulatory T CellsIntestinal MicrobiotaLCMV Virus InfectionAlternative NF-kB PathwayDendritic CellsAlpha-Gal AllergyAryl Hydrocarbon ReceptorAllergic Airway Inflammation

Professional Background


Habilitation at the Faculty of Medicine, TUM, in Molecular Immunology

Since 2013

Principal Investigator Mucosal Immunology Group at Helmholtz Munich


Postdoctoral Fellow at Institut Pasteur, Paris, France


PhD student, Institute of Immunology, LMU Munich

Honors and Awards

  • 2019
    Member of Collaborative Research Center CRC1371 – Microbial Signatures

  • 2018
    Member of National Research Network FOR2599 – Tissue Type 2 Immunity

  • 2016
    ERC starting grant

  • 2010
    EMBO longterm postdoctoral fellowship


Read more

2022 Scientific Article in Frontiers in Immunology

Kreft, L. ; Schepers, A. ; Hils, M. ; Swiontek, K. ; Flatley, A. ; Janowski, R. ; Mirzaei, M.K. ; Dittmar, M. ; Chakrapani, N. ; Desai, M.S. ; Eyerich, S. ; Deng, L. ; Niessing, D. ; Fischer, K. ; Feederle, R. ; Blank, S. ; Schmidt-Weber, C.B. ; Hilger, C. ; Biedermann, T. ; Ohnmacht, C.

A novel monoclonal IgG1 antibody specific for Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose questions alpha-Gal epitope expression by bacteria.

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Networks and Affiliations

Associated to Faculty of Medicine, Technical University of Munich

Member of CRC1371 – Microbiome signatures

Member of FOR2599 – Tissue type 2 Immunity

Member of TR355 – Heterogeneity and functional specialization of regulatory T cells in distinct microenvironments, evaluation by DFG ongoing