Group Leader

Dr. Thomas Boehm
Dr. Thomas Boehm
Senior Group Leader & Managing Director
Phone:+49 761 5108-328
Email:boehm@...

Lab Thomas Boehm

Assistant: Julia Rösner Phone: +49 761 5108 329 Email: roesner@ie-freiburg.mpg.de

Laboratory Thomas Boehm

Evolution of adaptive immune systems

Most species in the animal kingdom lack an adaptive immune system and instead rely on innate immune functions for immune defense. By contrast, vertebrates additionally employ an adaptive immune system. Based on a broad-ranging analysis of chordate species, we are examining the structure, function and evolutionary trajectories of genetic networks underlying the emergence of mechanistic and morphological features of adaptive immune systems.

A histological section of thymus tissue of a young shark shows that the organ structure is essentially unchanged since about 500 million years. Zoom Image
A histological section of thymus tissue of a young shark shows that the organ structure is essentially unchanged since about 500 million years.

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This work encompasses the development of gene inventories for species occupying key phylogenetic positions, such as cephalochordates, lamprey and shark, and the functional probing of gene functions in genetically tractable animals such as teleosts and mouse, with a particular focus on the thymus.

 
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