Professor Arturo Zychlinsky, PhD

Professor Arturo Zychlinsky, PhD

Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin,

Arturo Zychlinsky is Director of the Department of Cellular Microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin. He studied chemistry, bacteriology and parasitology at the Instituto Politecnico Nacional in Mexico City and received his PhD in immunology from the Rockefeller University, New York City. He performed his his postdoctoral studies in the lab of Philippe Sansonetti at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. From 1993 to 2001 he was a Professor at the Skirball Institute and Department of Microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine.

In addition to research on the inflammasome and the link between immunity and development, one main research line of the Zychlinsky lab is the role of neutrophils in immune defense. The Zychlinsky lab discovered neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), a novel mechanism by neutrophils to fight pathogens. NETs are structures made of chromatin and specific proteins that are released from the neutrophil after a unique cell death programme. They allow neutrophils to trap and kill even large microorganisms such as fungi. However, NETs also may trigger autoimmune responses if their formation and removal is not properly regulated. The Zychlinsky lab showed that in some groups of patients with lupus, antibodies are made against NETs, preventing their efficient removal after an infection and resulting in autoimmune reactions. There is also strong evidence that in patients with lupus, both insufficient NET removal and excessive NET formation leads to an accumulation of NETs and exacerbation of the disease.



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