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Detail

Thomas Weichhart
Assoc. Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dr. Thomas WeichhartPrincipal Investigator

Center for Pathobiochemistry and Genetics (Institute of Medical Genetics )
Position: Associate Professor

ORCID: 0000-0002-4349-0797
T +43 1 40160 56515
thomas.weichhart@meduniwien.ac.at

Further Information

Keywords

Cholesterol, HDL; Dendritic Cells; Granuloma; Innate Immunity; Macrophages; Metabolism; Translational Medical Research

Research interests

Regulation of innate immunity by mTOR

The innate immune system protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells, but it is also implicated in homeostatic mechanisms like tissue remodeling and wound healing. Macrophages and dendritic cells are at the basis of controlling these immune responses in all tissues of the body. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a conserved serine/threonine kinase and crucially implicated in many basic cellular functions.

The main focus of our group is to study how the mTOR pathway influences innate immune activation in macrophages and dendritic cells. We examine how inhibition of mTOR, which is an established therapy in basic organ transplantation and cancer, modulates the inflammatory response and how the mTOR pathway incorporates environmental and nutritional signals to regulate host immunity and tissue homeostasis. These processes are studied by biochemical and molecular approaches in vitro and in genetically-modified mouse models in vivo. We integrate our experimental research with clinical data to corroborate the human relevance of our findings.

We are also working on basic cellular processes that drive granuloma formation in macrophages. Granulomatous diseases such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis are a global health problem with still insufficient treatment options.

Selected publications

  1. Linke, M. et al., 2017. Chronic signaling via the metabolic checkpoint kinase mTORC1 induces macrophage granuloma formation and marks sarcoidosis progression. Nature Immunology, 18(3), pp.293-302. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ni.3655.
  2. Weichhart, T., Hengstschläger, M. & Linke, M., 2015. Regulation of innate immune cell function by mTOR. Nature Reviews Immunology, 15(10), pp.599-614. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nri3901.
  3. Linke, M. et al., 2017. mTORC1 and mTORC2 as regulators of cell metabolism in immunity. FEBS Letters. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.12711.
  4. Üstün, S. et al., 2015. Effects of the mTOR inhibitor everolimus and the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 in murine acute lung injury models. Transplant Immunology, 33(1), pp.45-50. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trim.2015.06.001.
  5. Kopecky, C. et al., 2017. Pro- versus Anti-inflammatory Actions of HDLs in Innate Immunity. Cell Metabolism, 26(1), pp.2-3. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2017.04.007.