AG Hübner

Filarial parasites can cause debilitating diseases such as lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) and onchocerciasis (river blindness), but they also modulate the immune system of their hosts to prevent the development of pathology and to enable their long-term survival within the host. Up to date there is no short-term treatment regimen available that mediates a macrofilaricidal efficacy (kills the adult filariae) nor a vaccine that prevents the infection with filariae.   

My lab focuses on three different aspects of filariasis:

1) Protective immune responses against filariae and especially the protective role of eosinophils and neutrophils and the contribution of extracellular DNA traps (ETosis). In addition, we aim to improve vaccination regimens and understand the involved immune responses. For these investigations we use the Litomosoides sigmodontis mouse model, immunodeficient mice, as well as in vitro cultures of murine and human cells.

2) Filarial immunomodulation and its beneficial impact on life-style diseases such as diet-induced insulin resistance in both the L. sigmodontis animal model as well as a human study with filariasis patients in Cameroon.   

3) Preclinical testing of drug candidates for filariasis in order to identify novel drugs that mediate a macrofilaricidal efficacy. This is done in close collaboration with partners from industry (AbbVie, Bayer Animal Health, Celgene, etc.).