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Integrative biology of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases

Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) rank among the leading causes of death and disability, and their management represents a significant challenge for today’s healthcare.

IMIDs develop in an intricate interaction of tissue-resident stromal cells with cells of the immune system. Our research group explores the underlying causes of stromal cell plasticity in IMIDs that influences the tissue composition and behaviour of immune cells. We deconvolute the dynamics of immuno-stromal cell networks in shaping disease variability and therapeutic response and utilize the created knowledge to construct 3D cell-based models of disease for research and drug screens. Our goals are to identify novel drug targets and understand the mechanisms of drug resistance for the accelerated development of targeted therapies and precision medicine in IMIDs. We nurture innovative, collaborative and multidisciplinary research integrating technologies and ideas from molecular biologists, data scientists, engineers and clinicians. 

Our IMID models include inflammatory arthritis, autoimmune fibrosis and vasculitis, enabling discoveries about the unique and shared immunostromal cell features across organs and inflammatory pathologies. We analyze patient samples and experiment on explanted human tissues, 3D cell-based models and primary human cells applying methodologies of molecular biology, flow cytometry, microscopy, epigenomics, metabolomics, single-cell omics and spatial transcriptomics.

Key areas

  • Tissue resident stromal cells and immuno-stromal cell networks in lung and skin fibrosis, vasculitis, arthritis
  • Drug target discovery, drug resistance, biomarkers, precision medicine, 3D organ models of human disease

Research projects

  • Arterial wall remodelling at the immuno-stromal cell interface in giant cell arteritis
  • Serum and skin small RNA biomarkers in IgA vasculitis
  • Metabolic perturbations in stromal cells that drive autoimmune fibrosis
  • Understanding synovial immuno-stromal cell interactions for precision medicine in arthritis
  • Joint-specific effects of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in arthritis – clinical trials and basic science

Group Members

Sam Edalat

PhD Student, Klinik für Rheumatologie

Tel. +41 44 255 26 87

Reto Gerber, MSc

Bioinformatician, Klinik für Rheumatologie