Research Group Burkhard Becher


Cytokines, Lymphocytes, Immunotherapy, preclinical models, CyTOF, FACS

Summary & Mission statement

Inflammation Research: From an evolutionary perspective, the complex mammalian immune system developed to combat microbial threats. The flip side of this protective system is however that aberrant and deregulated immune responses can lead to immune-mediated pathologies as seen in chronic inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. Cancer represents largely the lack of ‘attention’ by the immune system.


Fundamentally, deregulated communication between immune cells is the reason for unwanted immune responses. For the complex immune system to work, the individual cell types have not only specialized functions, but also a complex communication network. Cytokines are soluble factors with the capacity to serve as signals for the communication (or words in the complex language) between immune cells. Our goal is to uncover this communication network and to translate the language of the immune system. Related to our studies of autoimmunity (an undesired process) we expanded our interest to apply our tool-set and expertise to study the impact of immunity to combat cancer (a desired process).

Our main research interests can be categorized as such:

  • Cytokine networks in chronic inflammatory disease with a focus on in vivo modeling of multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, graft-versus host disease
  • Immune tolerance and lymphoid development
  • Cancer-immunotherapy: specifically the interaction of immune cells with cancer cells and therapeutic interventions to mount immune responses against tumors