Mathias Heikenwälder, German Cancer Research Center, Germany
Talk Title: Involvement of immune cells in NASH and NASH-HCC transition

Mathias Heikenwälder

I am a trained molecular biologist and microbiologist, with expertise in immunology and a strong link to translational research evoked by 10 years of work and expertise in a Pathology Institution (Clinical Pathology, University Hospital Zurich). Since October last year I am Division head at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg focusing on the link between chronic inflammation and cancer, with the main focus on liver cancer.

Our laboratory aims at understanding the different immune signatures of chronic inflammatory human diseases using relevant mouse models - with the final aim to generate valid models of chronic inflammation induced tissue damage and cancer, potentially used for pre-clinical research. Thus, we focus on comparative studies of tissue specimen of human patients and animal models, recapitulating human disease on a histo-pathological and pathophysiological level. We engage in classical molecular biology techniques complemented with sophisticated ways to receive as much information from tissue samples through histology (e.g. light microscopy/ immune fluorescence/ FISH/ in situ hybridization), other in vivo imaging techniques (e.g. MRI) as well as through FACS analyses of tissue homogenates. At the same time we are also interested in the systemic functional effects of pathologies and the interplay between several affected non-lymphoid tissues and the immune system.

Finally, testing several therapeutic compounds in a single use but also combinatorial fashion is one of our goals employing established and stratified pre-clinical mouse models.

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