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Nina Pilat-Michalek
Assoc.-Prof. Priv.Doz. Dr. Nina Pilat-Michalek

Center for Biomedical Research, Department of Cardiac Surgery
Position: Associate Professor

ORCID: 0000-0003-4071-9397
T +43 1 40400 52120

Further Information


Costimulatory and Inhibitory T-Cell Receptors; Flow Cytometry; T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory; Translational Medical Research; Transplantation; Transplantation Chimera; Transplantation Immunology; Transplantation Tolerance

Research group(s)

Research interests

Our research combines basic science with clinical research to understand the basis of immunological tolerance and cellular/humoral immunity with special focus on transplantation immunology.

Transplantation Immunology

The main research interest of my lab is the role and potency of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the induction and maintenance of transplantation tolerance to improve patient and graft survival in (heart) transplant patients. In particular we are investigating the potency of therapeutic Treg treatment for tolerance induction in murine models of skin and heart transplantation.

Heart transplantation

In a clinical-translational approach we aim to examine primary cardiac graft quality via tissue and circulating biomarker analyses in different preservation technologies in human heart transplant patients. We seeks to improve current preservation strategies by assessing the effects of hypo- and normothermic pulsatile machine perfusion on donor heart function.


In the area of tumor immunology we aim to characterize immune-cell infiltrates on a phenotypical and functional level with the goal to develop novel concepts in immunotherapy of cancer. We are particularly interested in the role of γδ T cells in CRC microenviroment. Moreover, we are investigating the mechanisms and potency of autologous tumor vaccines for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

  • Preclinical animal models in transplantation: heterotopic cardiac transplantation, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, skin transplantation, tolerance approaches (mixed chimerism, adoptive Treg cellular therapy, IL-2 based immunomodulation)
  • Multicolor flow cytometry for immune monitoring, leucocyte subset analysis and cytokine detection, flow crossmatch
  • State- of-the-art molecular and cellular biology techniques, human and murine cell culture, magnetic cell sorting, intracellular cytokine detection
  • Regulatory T cells (in vivo expansion via IL- 2 complexes, in vitro expansion culture, retroviral gene transfer, TGFß induction): cell therapy, in vitro suppression assays
  •  Mouse model of orthotopic renal cell carcinoma and heterotopic flank models, autologous tumor vaccines
  • γδ T cells in tumor microenviroment


Selected publications

  1. Pilat, N., Steiner, R. and Sprent, J. (2023) ‘Treg Therapy for the Induction of Immune Tolerance in Transplantation—Not Lost in Translation?’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24(2), p. 1752. Available at:
  2. Pilat, N. et al. (2019) ‘Treg-mediated prolonged survival of skin allografts without immunosuppression’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(27), pp. 13508–13516. Available at:
  3. Pilat, N. et al. (2016) ‘Incomplete clonal deletion as prerequisite for tissue-specific minor antigen tolerization’, JCI Insight, 1(7). Available at:
  4. Pilat, N. et al. (2014) ‘T-regulatory cell treatment prevents chronic rejection of heart allografts in a murine mixed chimerism model’, The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 33(4), pp. 429–437. Available at:
  5. Pilat, N. et al. (2010) ‘Treg-Therapy Allows Mixed Chimerism and Transplantation Tolerance Without Cytoreductive Conditioning’, American Journal of Transplantation, 10(4), pp. 751–762. Available at: