Since 1998 Professor for Rheumatology at the Charite - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Since 1996 Scientific Director of the Deutsches Rheumaforschungszentrum Berlin
A biologist by education, Andreas Radbruch works on the immune system, and the way it provides immunity or participates in immunopathology. In particular, his work aims at a molecular understanding of the control of immune reactions and immunological memory in vaccination, and autoimmune and allergic inflammation. In early work on the regulation of antibody class switching in B lymphocytes, he demonstrated antibody class switch recombination in human memory B lymphocytes and murine antibody secreting plasma cells, demonstrating the role of switch recombination in vivo. He could show that switch recombination is controlled by cytokines from T lymphocytes. Consequently he then focussed on how expression of those cytokines is controlled in T lymphocytes. In recent and ongoing work, his group analyses the molecular basis of expression control of interleukin-4, -10 and interferon-gamma. They have identified a genetic element controlling the imprinting of the interleukin-4 gene for memory expression (Tykocinski et al. Biol Chem. 2005;280(31):28177). Currently, the group is analysing the mechanism of imprinting of cytokine genes in molecular detail. In a broader approach towards a molecular understanding of memory T lymphocytes, the group has identified by transcriptome analysis genes expressed in repeatedly activated T cells, which allow these cells to survive and resist physiological regulation in chronic inflammation. Likewise, the group is working on the biology of plasma cells which confer the humoral immunological memory, i.e. the protection provided by serum antibodies specific for antigens encountered in the past, but also pathogenic antibodies in autoimmunity and allergy. The group developed a new concept of conditional survival of longlived plasma cells (Radbruch et al., Nat Rev Immunol. 2006;(10):741). Both lines of research aim at developing "Cell Therapies" for the targeted elimination of memory T cells and memory plasma cells driving chronic inflammation, allergy and rheumatic diseases, and being resistant to physiological regulation. This strategy is also reflected in the technological developments originating from the group. This group has developed high-gradient magnetic cell sorting (MACS), with Miltenyi Biotech being a spin-off company. Another Biotech company originating from this group is AMAXA, which is developing technologies for the efficient introduction of nucleic acids into primary eukaryotic cells.