Burgstaller Lab

Scientific Focus

Immunotherapeutic Technologies (Burgstaller Lab)

For chronic lung diseases, the current approved pharmacological therapies mostly slow down, but do not stop disease progression. Therefore, the identification of novel therapeutic targets as well as the development of highly effective pharmacotherapeutics is a major clinical need. 

In the group of Immunotherapeutic Technologies we have a strong focus on establishing and applying advanced tools leading to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics, and thereby efficiently tackling chronic lung diseases. For this, we work highly multi- and interdisciplinary, and our applied technologies include phenotypic high-throughput drug-screening, artificial intelligence methods, medicinal chemistry, advanced multidimensional imaging techniques and imageomics, human in vitro and ex vivo lung disease models, mouse disease models, bioengineering and 3D bioprinting, and system biology approaches.

With these wide range of advanced technological tools our goal is to therapeutically interfere with newly identified intracellular as well as intercellular signaling and communication routes, especially between immune and lung cells. Finally, in close collaboration with clinicians, preclinically developed innovative therapeutics will be translated into the clinics to impede fatal disease progression and secure survival of the patients.  

Figure 1: Alterations and cues within the extracellular matrix of the lung can instruct cells to modify their cellular behaviour. (Burgstaller G, et al. The instructive extracellular matrix of the lung: basic composition and alterations in chronic lung disease. Eur Respir J 2017.):

Figure 2: High-throughput screening of inhibitors of ECM deposition and their validation with precision cut lung slices:

Figure 3: Advanced 4D imaging of precision cut lung slices. (Source: Gerald Burgstaller, HMGU // Adapted according to Burgstaller G, et al. Multidimensional immunolabeling and 4D time-lapse imaging of vital ex vivo lung tissue. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2015):