Projects
Name
Influence of pregnancy hormones on the phenotype and function of immune cell populations during human and murine pregnancy
University
Germany (bvmd) - Otto-von-Guericke-Universitaet, Magdeburg
Domain
Gynaecology/Obstetrics
Departement
Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology
Head
Prof. Dr. Ana Claudia Zenclussen
Tutor
Dr. Anne Schumacher, Prof. Dr. Ana Claudia Zenclussen
Languages
Fluent English, German
Duration
4 weeks
Availability
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
yes yes yes yes yes yes No No yes yes yes No
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
The survival of the fetus in the maternal uterus is ensured by both intensive hormonal changes and mechanisms that regulate the maternal immune response towards the fetus. The interaction between the endocrine and immune system allows that the fetus is tolerated rather than rejected.

What is the aim of the project?
In this regard, the project aims to investigate the factors and mechanisms behind this interaction between pregnancy hormones and different immune cell populations during pregnancy. In particular, the influence of human chorionic gonadotropin, estrogen and progesterone on the viability, phenotype and functionality of special T cell subpopulations and Dendritic cells will be studied.

What techniques and methods will be used?
Using human and murine sample material, the following immunological as well as molecular biological methods will be applied:
Flow Cytometry, Protein isolation, -quantification and Western Blot, Tissue embedding (cryo und Paraffin, Immunohistochemistry, Immunohistology, Immunofluorescence, ELISA, Hormone Measurements, DNA Isolation (from cells and tissue), RNA Isolation (from cells and tissue), Classic PCR, Quantitative PCR, (SybrGreen and TaqMan Probe), Transduction and Transfection (Retrovirus), Isolation of cell populations (Treg, DCs, CD4+ cells), Cell culture (cell lines and primary cultures), Proliferation assays, Migration assays, siRNA transfection, Murine models for miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, pseudo-pregnancy, In vivo experiments (mouse): i.p., i.v. injections, immunization, cell transfer, blood pressure measurement, measurement of physiological parameters, gene therapy, in vitro fertilization (IVF), hormonal stimulation
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)?
Own and foreign publications providing background information of the project are available on request.
The student may join a compulsory optional subject including a theoretical and practical part which is held biannually by our department for the medical students of the University Magdeburg
Biweekly seminars and journal clubs take place within the department.

What is the role of the student and what is expected from him/her during the research exchange?
The student should be highly interested in reproductive and immunological processes. Basic knowledge regarding mammalian reproduction and immunology is desirable. The student will be provided with his/her own small project. This project will be part of a main project studying the hormonal influence on immune cell populations. Thus, the specific scientific question of the student´s project as well as the implementation of the above mentioned techniques will be based on the time point and the length of the research. At first, the student will learn and perform the methods mentioned above and later will be able to work independently on her/his small project.

What should be the outcome of the student
What is the aim of the project?
In this regard, the project aims to investigate the factors and mechanisms behind this interaction between pregnancy hormones and different immune cell populations during pregnancy. In particular, the influence of human chorionic gonadotropin, estrogen and progesterone on the viability, phenotype and functionality of special T cell subpopulations and Dendritic cells will be studied.
What techniques and methods are used?

What techniques and methods will be used?
Using human and murine sample material, the following immunological as well as molecular biological methods will be applied:
Flow Cytometry, Protein isolation, -quantification and Western Blot, Tissue embedding (cryo und Paraffin, Immunohistochemistry, Immunohistology, Immunofluorescence, ELISA, Hormone Measurements, DNA Isolation (from cells and tissue), RNA Isolation (from cells and tissue), Classic PCR, Quantitative PCR, (SybrGreen and TaqMan Probe), Transduction and Transfection (Retrovirus), Isolation of cell populations (Treg, DCs, CD4+ cells), Cell culture (cell lines and primary cultures), Proliferation assays, Migration assays, siRNA transfection, Murine models for miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, pseudo-pregnancy, In vivo experiments (mouse): i.p., i.v. injections, immunization, cell transfer, blood pressure measurement, measurement of physiological parameters, gene therapy, in vitro fertilization (IVF), hormonal stimulation
What is the role of the student?
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?

What is the role of the student and what is expected from him/her during the research exchange?
The student should be highly interested in reproductive and immunological processes. Basic knowledge regarding mammalian reproduction and immunology is desirable. The student will be provided with his/her own small project. This project will be part of a main project studying the hormonal influence on immune cell populations. Thus, the specific scientific question of the student´s project as well as the implementation of the above mentioned techniques will be based on the time point and the length of the research. At first, the student will learn and perform the methods mentioned above and later will be able to work independently on her/his small project.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
<br>Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)? <br>Own and foreign publications providing background information of the project are available on request. <br>The student may join a compulsory optional subject including a theoretical and practical part which is held biannually by our department for the medical students of the University Magdeburg <br>Biweekly seminars and journal clubs take place within the department.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Basic knowledge about reproductive and immunological processes is desirable. Advanced knowledge about laboratory work is absolutely required!! For the use of students considering participating in the project, further information can be found from the following articles: Human chorionic gonadotropin as a central regulator of pregnancy immune tolerance. (2013) Schumacher A, Heinze K, Witte J, Poloski E, Linzke N, Woidacki K, Zenclussen AC. J Immunol.;190(6):2650-8. Regulatory T Cells are Baby's Best Friends. (2013)Teles A, Zenclussen AC, Schumacher A. Am J Reprod Immunol.;69(4):331-9. Pregnancy: tolerance and suppression of immune responses. (2011) Leber A, Zenclussen ML, Teles A, Brachwitz N, Casalis P, El-Mousleh T, Jensen F, Woidacki K, Zenclussen AC. Methods Mol Biol.;677:397-417. Human chorionic gonadotropin
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
No
Hours
8
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
Articles
- Human chorionic gonadotropin as a central regulator of pregnancy immune tolerance. (2013) Schumacher A
- Heinze K
- Witte J
- Poloski E
- Linzke N
- Woidacki K
- Zenclussen AC. J Immunol.;190(6):2650-8
- Regulatory T Cells are Baby's Best Friends. (2013)Teles AZenclussen AC
- Schumacher A. Am J Reprod Immunol.;69(4):331-9