Mission Statement

“Bringing together state-of-the-art high-throughput functional genomics and computational analysis approaches to uncover the roles of the complement system in kidney disease”

— Tilo Freiwald, MD

Team Members

MD student

Maja Gunkel

 

 

Post Doc

Yubing Guo, PhD

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MD student

Julius Jäger

 

 

MD student

Götz Rövenstrunk

 

 

Research

© Chauss et al. 2022, Nature Immunology; © Yan et al. 2021, Science Immunology; © Created with BioRender.com

Tissue inflammation is a key determinant of kidney fibrosis and progressive loss of organ function.  Defective control and deregulation of the complement pathways is a hallmark of a broad range of kidney diseases leading to fibrosis, including C3 glomerulopathy, haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), lupus nephritis, and ANCA-associated necrotising glomerulonephritis. These are all diseases in which complement targeting therapies are being developed.

Complement proteins are present both within the circulation and made locally by kidney cells because these are sites inaccessible to plasma-circulating complement. Currently approved pharmaceuticals only target the complement that is present within the circulation. We believe that elucidating the local and intracellular, as opposed to systemic, complement functions will lead to a better understanding of the specific causes and consequences of complement activation in related diseases. We and others have shown that these non-canonical functions of complement fundamentally shape immune and non-immune cell function and metabolism. Improved knowledge of the role of the complement system in kidney-specific inflammation will provide a rationale to further target and personalise anti-inflammatory kidney therapeutics as well as inform the need for intracellular and local drug delivery.

Our lab routinely employs state of the art multi-dimensional single cell genomic methodologies and has computational expertise that allows us to handle big data challenges by bringing machine learning and AI to bench and bedside. Through our international partnerships we share the latest innovations and bring exchange opportunities at other top institutions to our trainees. Our role as co-founder of the medical knowledge platform AMBOSS highlights our commitment to mentorship and training in the medical field.

The Freiwald lab is committed to promotion of practices that support diversity and inclusion in clinical science.

The Freiwald lab is always looking for scientists (PhD, PostDoc) and technicians to unravel mechanisms and translate the role of the innate immunity′s complement system in inflammatory kidney disease. Please get in touch with your CV via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Tilo Freiwald, MD

Junior Group Leader

III. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)
Martinistr. 52
20246 Hamburg, Germany

CV

Current Position
since 2022 Junior group leader supported by the BMBF iSTAR Advanced Clinician Scientist program
since 2022 Physician, III. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Prof. Dr. T. B. Huber

University Training
 2004 - 2011

Study of Medicine, University Hamburg, Germany. Clinical rotations at King’s College London, Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty Istanbul University and Stadtspital Waid Zurich
Academic qualifications
2020 - 2022- 2020

DFG Fellowship at Immunoregulation Section and Laboratory for Complement and Inflammation Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA (Dr. B. Afzali/NIDDK and Dr. C. Kemper/NHLBI)

2018 - 2020

Postdoctoral Fellowship at Immunoregulation Section and Laboratory for Complement and Inflammation Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA (Dr. B. Afzali/NIDDK and Dr. C. Kemper/NHLBI) 

2009 - 2014

MD thesis, Institute of Immunology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Prof. Dr. F. Haag

Previous professional career

Clinical postgraduate education:

2018 Nephrology fellow at the III. Department of Medicine, University Hospital Frankurt, Germany
2018 Board Certification for Internal Medicine
2017

Board Certification for Emergency Medicine

2013 - 2018

Physician, III. Department of Medicine, University Hospital Frankurt, Germany

Scientific postgraduate education:

2020 - 2022

DFG Fellowship at Immunoregulation Section and Laboratory for Complement and Inflammation Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA (Dr. B. Afzali/NIDDK and Dr. C. Kemper/NHLBI)

2018 - 2020

Postdoctoral Fellowship at Immunoregulation Section and Laboratory for Complement and Inflammation Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA (Dr. B. Afzali/NIDDK and Dr. C. Kemper/NHLBI)

2012 - 2013

Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of AMBOSS GmbH

Selected awards and honors
since 2022 - 2020

Spokesperson BMBF iSTAR Clinician Scientists Hamburg

2022

Orloff Science Award from the NIH for work on complement biology

Selected publications

1.

C5a-licensed phagocytes drive sterilizing immunity during systemic fungal infection.
Desai JV, Kumar D, Freiwald T, Chauss D, Johnson MD, Abers MS, Steinbrink JM, Perfect JR, Alexander B, Matzaraki V, Snarr BD, Zarakas MA, Oikonomou V, Silva LM, Shivarathri R, Beltran E, Demontel LN, Wang L, Lim JK, Launder D, Conti HR, Swamydas M, McClain MT, Moutsopoulos NM, Kazemian M, Netea MG, Kumar V, Köhl J, Kemper C, Afzali B, Lionakis MS. Cell. 2023 Jun 22;186(13):2802-2822.e22. 

2.

Systematic single-cell pathway analysis to characterize early T cell activation.
Bibby JA, Agarwal D, Freiwald T, Kunz N, Merle NS, West EE, Singh P, Larochelle A, Chinian F, Mukherjee S, Afzali B, Kemper C, Zhang NR. Cell Rep. 2022 Nov 22;41(8):111697.

3.

Autocrine vitamin D signaling switches off pro-inflammatory programs of TH1 cells.
Chauss D*, Freiwald T*, McGregor R*, Yan B*, Wang L*, Nova-Lamperti E, Kumar D, Zhang Z, Teague H, West EE, Vannella KM, Ramos-Benitez MJ, Bibby J, Kelly A, Malik A, Freeman AF, Schwartz DM, Portilla D, Chertow DS, John S, Lavender P, Kemper C, Lombardi G, Mehta NN, Cooper N, Lionakis MS, Laurence A, Kazemian M, Afzali B. Nat Immunol. 2022 Jan;23(1):62-74.

4.

Mitochondrial C5aR1 activity in macrophages controls IL-1β production underlying sterile inflammation.Mitochondrial C5aR1 activity in macrophages controls IL-1β production underlying sterile inflammation.Mitochondrial C5aR1 activity in macrophages controls IL-1β production underlying sterile inflammation.
Niyonzima N, Rahman J, Kunz N, West EE, Freiwald T, Desai JV, Merle NS, Gidon A, Sporsheim B, Lionakis MS, Evensen K, Lindberg B, Skagen K, Skjelland M, Singh P, Haug M, Ruseva MM, Kolev M, Bibby J, Marshall O, O'Brien B, Deeks N, Afzali B, Clark RJ, Woodruff TM, Pryor M, Yang ZH, Remaley AT, Mollnes TE, Hewitt SM, Yan B, Kazemian M, Kiss MG, Binder CJ, Halvorsen B, Espevik T, Kemper C. Sci Immunol. 2021 Dec 24;6(66):eabf2489.

5.

SARS-CoV-2 drives JAK1/2-dependent local complement hyperactivation.SARS-CoV-2 drives JAK1/2-dependent local complement hyperactivation.
Yan B*, Freiwald T*, Chauss D*, Wang L*, West E*, Mirabelli C, Zhang CJ, Nichols EM, Malik N, Gregory R, Bantscheff M, Ghidelli-Disse S, Kolev M, Frum T, Spence JR, Sexton JZ, Alysandratos KD, Kotton DN, Pittaluga S, Bibby J, Niyonzima N, Olson MR, Kordasti S, Portilla D, Wobus CE, Laurence A, Lionakis MS, Kemper C, Afzali B, Kazemian M. Sci Immunol. 2021 Apr 7;6(58):eabg0833.

6.
7.

CD4+ T cell lymphopenia predicts mortality from Pneumocystis pneumonia in kidney transplant patients.
Freiwald T, Büttner S, Cheru NT, Avaniadi D, Martin SS, Stephan C, Pliquett RU, Asbe-Vollkopf A, Schüttfort G, Jacobi V, Herrmann E, Geiger H, Hauser IA. Clin Transplant. 2020 Sep;34(9):e13877.

8.

Aberrant type 1 immunity drives susceptibility to mucosal fungal infections.
Break TJ, Oikonomou V, Dutzan N, Desai JV, Swidergall M, Freiwald T, Chauss D, Harrison OJ, Alejo J, Williams DW, Pittaluga S, Lee CR, Bouladoux N, Swamydas M, Hoffman KW, Greenwell-Wild T, Bruno VM, Rosen LB, Lwin W, Renteria A, Pontejo SM, Shannon JP, Myles IA, Olbrich P, Ferré EMN, Schmitt M, Martin D; Genomics and Computational Biology Core, Barber DL, Solis NV, Notarangelo LD, Serreze DV, Matsumoto M, Hickman HD, Murphy PM, Anderson MS, Lim JK, Holland SM, Filler SG, Afzali B, Belkaid Y, Moutsopoulos NM, Lionakis MS. Science. 2021 Jan 15;371(6526):eaay5731.

9.

Diapedesis-Induced Integrin Signaling via LFA-1 Facilitates Tissue Immunity by Inducing Intrinsic Complement C3 Expression in Immune Cells.
Kolev M, West EE, Kunz N, Chauss D, Moseman EA, Rahman J, Freiwald T, Balmer ML, Lötscher J, Dimeloe S, Rosser EC, Wedderburn LR, Mayer-Barber KD, Bohrer A, Lavender P, Cope A, Wang L, Kaplan MJ, Moutsopoulos NM, McGavern D, Holland SM, Hess C, Kazemian M, Afzali B, Kemper C. Immunity. 2020 Mar 17;52(3):513-527.e8.

10.

Pattern recognition as a concept for multiple-choice questions in a national licensing exam.
Freiwald T, Salimi M, Khaljani E, Harendza S. BMC Med Educ. 2014 Nov 14;14:232.

* Represents equal contributions as co-first or co-senior authors.

Funding

News

Open Positions

We are looking for highly motivated and ambitious postdocs, PhD students, master students, and student research assistants.

July 9, 2024 | Seminar
Open Positions

We are constantly looking for highly motivated, talented and team-oriented researchers to join our team ...

Martinistraße 52
Campus Research N27
20246 Hamburg Germany
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University Medical Center Hamburg - Eppendorf