Welcome to IAF

About IAF

  • The research of The Institute of Allergy Research (IAF) is focused on the understanding of mechanisms involved in the development of allergies and allergen tolerance in the context of genetic predisposition, immune system and environmental factors. As part of the Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) the IAF conducts applied, clinical and basic research. The aim of the research is to understand the mechanisms of allergic diseases, to assess risks for the onset of allergy as well as to develop novel strategies for prevention und therapy. 

    The Center for Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) in Munich is a hybrid institution build by the IAF at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich and the chair of Molecular Allergology of the School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich. This link of governmental research and university medicine, which is unique in the German research landscape, serves the interdisciplinary basic research and builds a link to the clinic and clinical studies. This translational approach enables new insights into molecular mechanisms of allergies and their translation into new strategies for their prevention and patient-tailored therapy.


Förderpreis „Neue Immunologische Therapien“ of the DGAKI awarded to Julia Esser-von Bieren

© Sebastian Semmer, Berlin / wikonect GmbH

The German Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) presents an annual award in the field of "novel immunological therapies", which is sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis GmbH and endowed with 5000 euros. This year, the recipient of the award was PD Dr. Julia Esser-von Bieren, head of the Helmholtz Young Investigator group “Innate Immunomodulation” at ZAUM. The award ceremony took place during the German Allergy Congress in Wiesbaden on September 26 2020. The award is granted for outstanding papers in the field of new immunological therapies against allergic/ atopic diseases and is intended to support promising young scientists. The award was due to a recent publication of the group entitled: “An anti-inflammatory eicosanoid switch mediates the suppression of type-2 inflammation by helminth larval products”:




New article on "Inflammatory macrophage memory" published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

A team of researchers led by Dr. Julia Esser-von-Bieren, Institute of Allergy Research, was able to show for the first time that immune cells of patients with severe chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract have an inflammatory memory. Their results, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, could explain why infections often lead to an acute worsening of asthma.

The group with first author Pascal Haimerl examined macrophages differentiated from blood monocytes of patients with respiratory symptoms such as asthma and nasal polyps, which are summarized under the name "N-ERD”. The cells of N-ERD patients showed an altered fatty acid metabolism and increased reactions to immunological stimulation, e.g. by bacterial toxins, which is referred to as "trained immunity". So far, trained immunity was only known in connection with arteriosclerosis and acute infections. The inflammatory memory of macrophages could explain why infections often lead to an acute worsening of asthma.

Publication: P. Haimerl et al.: Inflammatory macrophage memory in NSAID-exacerbated respiratory disease. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.04.064

New article on anti-inflammatory effects of helminth products published in Science Translational Medicine

Lipid mediators and macrophages play key roles in type 2 inflammation, e.g. in allergic asthma. A team led by Julia Esser-von Bieren (shared first authors: Marta de los Reyes Jiménez and Antonie Lechner) could now show that an extract of the helminth H. polygyrus bakeri (Hpb) and its active component Hpb glutamate dehydrogenase can induce anti-inflammatory lipid mediators and regulate macrophage function. When the extract or recombinant Hpb glutamate dehydrogenase was applied to the airways of house dust mite sensitized mice, allergic airway inflammation was efficiently inhibited. In addition, the helminth products prevented the activation of inflammatory granulocytes from patients suffering from chronic type-2 airway inflammation. The researchers thus identify a potential new therapeutic protein for the treatment of chronic airway inflammation, e.g. in asthma:


The study was also highlighted as a Research Highlight by Nature:


New article on the regulation of immune tolerance published in the Journal of Immunology

Regulatory T cells constitute a major T cell population that is necessary to prevent unwanted immune reactivity to both self- and foreign antigens including allergens. In collaboration with colleagues from Jena, the research group lead by Caspar Ohnmacht (shared first authors: Maria Potthast and Anna-Lena Geiselhöringer) could now show that the NF-kB family member RelB in dendritic cells regulates this regulatory T cell pool both in a qualitative and quantitative manner. Noteworthy, mice lacking RelB in dendritic cells were almost completely protected from a murine form of multiple sclerosis at the cost of impaired oral tolerance. Disentangling the underlying molecular network might therefore provide novel strategies to treat autoimmune diseases and allergic disorders in the future.

DGAKI Award for Dr. Dennis Rußkamp

Prof. Dr. Thomas Werfel (DGAKI president), PD Dr. Simon Blank (ZAUM), Ina Neumann (Sanofi Aventis)

Dr. Dennis Russkamp from the research group Molecular and Translational Allergology of PD Dr. Simon Blank (ZAUM) received the award “Novel Immunological Therapies of Allergic diseases” of the German Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI). This annual award is sponsored by Sanofi Aventis and endowed with 5000 Euros. The award ceremony took place during the German Allergy Congress in Hannover on 27th September 2018 and the award was taken over by PD Dr. Blank (Photo).  

The DGAKI award is granted for outstanding work in the field of allergology and clinical immunology. Dr. Rußkamp received the award due to his research on enhancing allergen-specific immunotherapy by the use of immunomodulatory molecules and was based on a recent publication entitled: IL -4 receptor α blockade prevents sensitization and alters acute and long-lasting effects of allergen-specific immunotherapy of murine allergic asthma (Russkamp et al., Allergy 74(8):1549-1560, 2019).

Link to publication

Bavarian ePIN pollen measurement system

Today the Bavarian Minister of Health Dr Huml officially started the "ePIN" pollen measurement system in Bavaria. The world wide unique system generates now online pollen data to support allergy sufferers during the pollen season. Prof. Dr. J. Buters from Poing was the initiator and head of the preliminary studies leading to this network. The LGL has built the network and will operate it long term.

Pollen flight