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Rudolf Oehler
Assoc. Prof. Rudolf Oehler, PhDSenior PI; Vice-Head, Surgical Research Laboratories

Department of General Surgery (Division of Visceral Surgery)
Position: Associate Professor

ORCID: 0000-0003-2891-7155
T +43 1 40400 73513

Further Information


Allergy and Immunology; Biotechnology; Cell Biology; Cell Culture Techniques; Granulocyte Immunology; Molecular Biology; Oncology

Research group(s)

Research interests

Our basic research interest is the immune response to cell death with special focus on cancer. We investigate which types of cell death (apoptosis, necroptosis, necrosis etc.) are induced by anti-cancer therapies, which molecular structures on dying cells are recognized by immune cells (DAMPs, mitochondria etc.), which receptors are involved, and what is the response of the different parts of the immune system (e.g. monocytes/macrophages, neutrophils, and the complement system). Many studies (including from our group) strongly suggest that the clearance of dying cells initiates anti-inflammatory, pro-resolving mechanisms. We hope to find ways to overcome this inhibition of an anti-cancer immune response.

In the area of tumor immunology we characterize the immune cell infiltrate in primary human colorectal cancers on a phenotypical and functional level. The immunology of a healthy colon differs strongly from other organs. It is constantly exposed to huge amounts of microbial molecules and the immune system is therefore strongly anti-inflammatory. We compare the activation status and function of many different immune cell types in healthy colon with colon cancer and try to understand how the tumor evades an anti-cancer immune response.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

Standard molecular biology assays including qPCR, Western, ELISA, cell culture, flow cytometry. Qantitative immunohistochemistry, functional cell assays, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, ptoteomics, CRC clinical data, CRC Tumorbank

Selected publications

  1. Strasser, K. et al., 2018. Immunological differences between colorectal cancer and normal mucosa uncover a prognostically relevant immune cell profile. OncoImmunology, 8(2), p.e1537693. Available at:
  2. Liang, Y.Y. et al., 2014. Serum-dependent processing of late apoptotic cells for enhanced efferocytosis. Cell Death and Disease, 5(5), p.e1264. Available at:
  3. Kepp, O. et al., 2014. Consensus guidelines for the detection of immunogenic cell death. OncoImmunology, 3(9), p.e955691. Available at:
  4. Exner, R. et al., 2016. Prognostic value of HMGB1 in early breast cancer patients under neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Cancer Medicine, 5(9), pp.2350-2358. Available at:
  5. Liang, Y.Y. et al., 2015. Serum-dependent processing of late apoptotic cells and their immunogenicity. Apoptosis, 20(11), pp.1444-1456. Available at: