Andreas Radbruch - Biography#

A biologist by education, Andreas Radbruch has focused his scientific curiosity on the immune system, and in particular immunological memory, and the way it provides immunity and generates immunopathology.

Andreas Radbruch obtained his PhD from the Genetics Institute of the Cologne University, Germany, with Klaus Rajewsky in 1980. He later became Associate Professor there and was a visiting scientist with Max Cooper and John Kearney at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. In 1996, he became Director of the German Rheumatism Research Center in Berlin, now a Leibniz Institute, and in 1998, Professor of Rheumatology at the Charité Medical Center and Humboldt University of Berlin.

Andreas Radbruch has developed a line of research aiming at a cellular and molecular understanding of immune reactions and immunological memory. His research approach is based on the analysis of individual cells, developing and using cutting-edge technologies for cytometry and cell sorting. His lab developed the MACS technology, cytokine cytometry, the cytometric secretion assay, magnetofluorescent liposomes and other tools to analyze fate decisions and imprinting of lymphocytes. He initially focused on the transcriptional regulation of antibody class switch recombination, the shaping of antibody specificity by somatic mutation in B lymphocytes, and the epigenetic imprinting of cytokine gene expression in T lymphocytes. The discovery of long-lived (memory) plasma cells in 1997 initiated a line of research that so far has generated a new understanding of immunological memory, as maintained by functionally imprinted memory plasma cells, and memory B and T lymphocytes, which, as this group has shown, individually reside, rest and survive in niches provided by mesenchymal stromal cells, mostly in the bone marrow, but also in other tissues. Of clinical relevance, memory plasma cells secreting pathogenic antibodies have been recognized as being refractory to conventional therapies and a critical and so far unmet therapeutic target in antibody-mediated diseases. The same is true for memory T lymphocytes driving chronic inflammation, for which the group has identified molecular adaptations and novel therapeutic targets, like the transcription factor Twist1, which dampens pathogenicity and promotes persistence of Th lymphocytes in chronic inflammation.

Andreas Radbruch has received various scientific awards and honors, the Carol Nachman Prize for Rheumatology (2011), an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (ERC, 2011), and the Avery Landsteiner Award (2014). He is a member of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences. He has been president of the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC; 2014 - 2016), the German Societies for Immunology (2009 - 2010) and for Rheumatology (2007 - 2008), and of the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) (2019 - 2021).

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