Ilaria Dorigatti’s project „Where ether lipid metabolism meets immunology: a role for PEDS1“

SZABO-SCANDIC is funding Ilaria Dorigatti's research on deciphering the molecular regulatory role of an enzyme in ether lipid metabolism in the haematopoietic and lymphoid system with the Immunis 2022. It is already known from the literature that defects in related enzymes in the same metabolic pathway are the cause of the human peroxisome-related disease rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (RCDP). There are several experimental models that could be used to study the human symptoms.

In the current phase of this project, we have so far been able to provide support with products from our suppliers Corning, Falcon and Santa Cruz. In addition to cell scrapers, various filter systems (syringes and bottle tops) have been used. These materials were used for the collection and purification of cells prior to flow cytometric analysis and for carrying out enzyme activity studies.

The data obtained so far from this study is very promising and we look forward to continuing to support the project.


Sarah Spöck’s project „TET activity safeguards against autoimmune lymphoproliferation“

As part of the Immunis sponsorship, Innsbruck scientist Sarah Spöck has also been funded since 2021 in her work on researching the role of Ten Eleven Translocation (TET1-3) enzymes in the immune system. With the help of preclinical mouse models, the scientist and her colleagues were able to gain new insights that point to important functions of TET enzymes in the body's antibody-producing immune cells, the B cells.

Their results show that the loss of TET enzymes in B cells cancels out important control mechanisms that guarantee that no antibodies are formed that are directed against the body itself. An increased number of antigen-activated B cells, so-called germinal centre cells, could be detected without immunisation by an exogenous antigen. These germinal centre cells form plasma cells that secrete IgG autoantibodies, which were detected in the serum. The scientist was thus able to show that TET enzymes play a central role in the prevention of antibody-mediated autoimmunity. In addition, a lack of TET enzymes appears to impair immune reactions against exogenous antigens, leading to a fatal combination of autoimmunity and immunodeficiency.

These results are particularly relevant as a loss of TET enzymes in immune cells in humans is observed more frequently with increasing age and is associated with diseases of the immune system. The next step is to investigate whether there is a connection between the lack of TET enzymes and the development of autoimmune diseases in humans. Such a finding could significantly improve the targeted treatment of affected patients. We are excited about future results and look forward to further collaboration and support!

SZABO-SCANDIC has sponsored this project with the following items:


Of all the submissions for the Immunis 2021 and 2022, the projects of the students from the Medical University of Innsbruck were successful. Which university will win the big sponsorship prize this year? The submission for the Immunis Sponsorship for Young Science 2024 is still possible until 30 June!