Welcome to IAF

About IAF

  • The research of The Institute of Allergy Research (IAF) is focused on the understanding of mechanisms involved in the development of allergies and allergen tolerance in the context of genetic predisposition, immune system and environmental factors. As part of the Center of Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) the IAF conducts applied, clinical and basic research. The aim of the research is to understand the mechanisms of allergic diseases, to assess risks for the onset of allergy as well as to develop novel strategies for prevention und therapy. 

    The Center for Allergy & Environment (ZAUM) in Munich is a hybrid institution build by the IAF at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich and the chair of Molecular Allergology of the School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich. This link of governmental research and university medicine, which is unique in the German research landscape, serves the interdisciplinary basic research and builds a link to the clinic and clinical studies. This translational approach enables new insights into molecular mechanisms of allergies and their translation into new strategies for their prevention and patient-tailored therapy.


New article on the regulation of immune tolerance published in the Journal of Immunology

Regulatory T cells constitute a major T cell population that is necessary to prevent unwanted immune reactivity to both self- and foreign antigens including allergens. In collaboration with colleagues from Jena, the research group lead by Caspar Ohnmacht (shared first authors: Maria Potthast and Anna-Lena Geiselhöringer) could now show that the NF-kB family member RelB in dendritic cells regulates this regulatory T cell pool both in a qualitative and quantitative manner. Noteworthy, mice lacking RelB in dendritic cells were almost completely protected from a murine form of multiple sclerosis at the cost of impaired oral tolerance. Disentangling the underlying molecular network might therefore provide novel strategies to treat autoimmune diseases and allergic disorders in the future.

DGAKI Award for Dr. Dennis Rußkamp

Prof. Dr. Thomas Werfel (DGAKI president), PD Dr. Simon Blank (ZAUM), Ina Neumann (Sanofi Aventis)

Dr. Dennis Russkamp from the research group Molecular and Translational Allergology of PD Dr. Simon Blank (ZAUM) received the award “Novel Immunological Therapies of Allergic diseases” of the German Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI). This annual award is sponsored by Sanofi Aventis and endowed with 5000 Euros. The award ceremony took place during the German Allergy Congress in Hannover on 27th September 2018 and the award was taken over by PD Dr. Blank (Photo).  

The DGAKI award is granted for outstanding work in the field of allergology and clinical immunology. Dr. Rußkamp received the award due to his research on enhancing allergen-specific immunotherapy by the use of immunomodulatory molecules and was based on a recent publication entitled: IL -4 receptor α blockade prevents sensitization and alters acute and long-lasting effects of allergen-specific immunotherapy of murine allergic asthma (Russkamp et al., Allergy 74(8):1549-1560, 2019).

Link to publication

Bavarian ePIN pollen measurement system

Today the Bavarian Minister of Health Dr Huml officially started the "ePIN" pollen measurement system in Bavaria. The world wide unique system generates now online pollen data to support allergy sufferers during the pollen season. Prof. Dr. J. Buters from Poing was the initiator and head of the preliminary studies leading to this network. The LGL has built the network and will operate it long term.

Pollen flight




New article on experimental allergen-specific immunotherapy published in Allergy

Allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT) is the only causal treatment for allergy. However, success rates vary depending on the type of allergy and disease background of the patient. Hence, strategies targeting an increased therapeutic efficacy are urgently needed. The research group of Simon Blank in collaboration with the German Mouse Clinic at the Helmholtz Center Munich (first authors: Dennis Russkamp and Antonio Aguilar-Pimentel) used an recombinantly produced IL-4 and IL-13 antagonist (IL-4 Mutein) to block IL-4 and Il-13 signaling during experimental AIT of murine allergic asthma. Using this strategy, they were able to demonstrate that IL-4 and IL-13 blockade during AIT shows beneficial effects on immunological key parameters such as IgE, IgG and Th2 cytokine secretion as well as significantly decreases the number of potentially disease-triggering Th2-biased Tregs (ST2+FOXP3+GATA3intermediate). Hence, Th2 cytokine-inhibiting strategies might be suitable to support allergen-specific immunotherapy in a therapy success-favoring manner.

IL-4 receptor α blockade prevents sensitization and alters acute and long-lasting effects of allergen-specific immunotherapy of murine allergic asthma

D. Russkamp, A. Aguilar-Pimentel, F. Alessandrini, V. Gailus-Durner, H. Fuchs, C. Ohnmacht, A. Chaker, M. Hrabe de Angelis, M. Ollert, C. B. Schmidt-Weber, S. Blank

Allergy 2019, Epub ahead pf print.