Riders on the Storm:

There is increasing evidence that the bacterial composition on pollen grains is not a contamination with random species, in contrast a defined microbiota community colonizes the pollen. We have analyzed birch pollen associated bacteria and found Bacillaceae as the dominant family of culturable bacteria in the pollen microbiota. Individual bacterial strains have the potential to disintegrate the epithelial barrier and foster allergen passage over the epithelium. Pollen allergy is highly prevalent worldwide, however, the mechanisms of allergic sensitization are still not fully understood.  

Pollen-borne bacteria, Epithelial Integrity, and Allergic Sensitization

Several factors are associated with rising frequencies of allergic conditions. A significant association with reduction in microbial exposure and with increased environmental pollution redefines allergy also as a modern lifestyle disease. The mechanisms of allergic sensitization include pollen intrinsic immune-modulatory substances, protease activity, but also microbial compounds associated with pollen are thought to play a role. Therefore we are interested in the pollen borne microbiota on allergy relevant anemophilous tree and grass pollen. We are testing individual isolated strains in the context of epithelial integrity in primary epithelial lung cells and test the allergy adjuvant capacity of select strains in murine sensitization models.

Important publications:

  • McKenna et al., 2017, Int J Mol Sci
  • Abfalter et al., 2016, Plos One
  • Abfalter et al., 2015, Br Microbiol Res J
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    The Austrian Academy of Sciences has awarded Mag. Dr. Daniel Ehrmann, university assistant and doctoral candidate in the Department of German Studies, four year APART-Grant, which he will start on the1. 3. 2021.During this time he will complete his post doctoral thesis project „Aggregation. Relationaliity and the Constellations of Literature (1650 – 1950). Toward a medium range historical model.
    On the 05th March 2021 Univ. Prof. John W. C. Dunlop is holding a lecture on the topic of zum "Swarming Behaviour in Confinement - How curved surfaces influence pattern formation in biology." The lecture will take place at 14:00/ 2 pm online via Webex. The Department of Biological Sciences cordially invites you to attend.
    The project funding programme for research between PLUS and South East Asian partner universities, ASEA-UNINET Call 2021-2022 (Project implementation period: 1st October 2021 - 30th September 2022) is now open.
    Prof. Dr. Jude Lal Fernando, Assistant Professor at the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin, will be holding lectures in SS 2021 on the topic of "Interreligious Relations in Asia" at the Centre for Intercultural Theology in the area of Religious Studies.
    The Project Application BioMat-TEM with the total volume of €1,948 million within the Framework of the Infrastructure funding from the Austrian Research Promotion Agenvy (FFG) has been approved.
    Six researchers from Europe and the USA were recently honored with the prestigious IFIP TC13 Pioneer Award for outstanding contributions on the topic of Human-Computer Interaction worldwide.Among them is the Head of HCI at the PLUS, Prof. Manfred Tscheligi.
    The programme for the summer semester is now online and the courses will be released shortly. We have improved our entrepreneurship courses. Register by the 14th March 2021.
    The Centre for Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religions and the University of Fribourg are organising an interdisciplinary online conference from the 16th-17th April 2021 (Start 16th April 2021 at 14:15).
    The restrictions of the pandemic – not only at the university – are becoming even more testing. Thank to everyone who, despite all the difficulties, has helped to keep the university running as best they can.
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    05.03.21 Swarming Behaviour in Confinement How curved surfaces influence pattern formation in biology.
    09.03.21 Storytelling in der alltäglichen und beruflichen Kommunikation
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