University Clinic Düsseldorf
Our group is interested in the development as well as the phenotypic and functional characterization of human ILC subsets. We have established protocols for exploring the differentiation potential of hematopoietic stem cells towards ILC using novel human co-culture models that exploit the supporting function of human mesenchymal stem cells as stem cell niche. Within the DFG Priority Program „Innate Lymphoid Cells“ we are currently analyzing the molecular basis for ILC function by analyzing ILC subsets that were generated in vitro as well as ILC isolated ex vivo from various tissues using a combination of flow cytometric sorting and RNAseq analysis. Besides increasing basic knowledge about the regulation of human ILC development, the study will provide defined conditions for in vitro differentiation and expansion of human ILC from hematopoietic progenitors without xenogeneic feeder cells. In this way, the project will help to develop suitable protocols for production of clinical-grade products, for example from cord blood, for the future use of ILC as cellular therapeutics.