Picture of Thomas Rudel. Photo: Ole Riemann

Inside the Trojan horse

Thomas Rudel studies the interactions between neutrophils and Chlamydia trachomatis

Neutrophils, white blood cells that act as the immune system's first line of defense, are critical in fighting bacterial infections. When bacteria breach the defenses, inflammatory signals prompt neutrophils to migrate and employ various strategies, such as ingesting bacteria and releasing antimicrobial substances. In Chlamydia trachomatis infections, although neutrophils eliminate most bacteria, they can't completely clear the infection. In fact, they may contribute to chronic inflammation and tissue damage. Chlamydia also has tactics to evade neutrophil attacks, using them as “Trojan horses” to spread the infection to new tissue sites.

Thomas Rudel from the University of Würzburg aims to better understand the interplay between the human neutrophil and Chlamydia trachomatis. In his project at the Single-Cell Center Würzburg, he investigates these interactions at the single-cell level together with Alexander Westermann and Emmanuel Saliba from the Helmholtz Institute Würzburg. Their research findings could form the basis for new diagnostic and treatment methods.

About the Single-Cell Center Würzburg

The Single-Cell Center Würzburg is a joint competence center of the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI) with the Faculty of Medicine of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU), the University Hospital Würzburg (UKW), the Fraunhofer Translational Center for Regenerative Therapies (TLZ-RT), and the Max Planck Research Group at the Würzburg Institute of Systems Immunology (WüSI).

The center’s objective is to analyze and understand diseases at the level of individual cells. In the future, this will enable the earliest possible and most reliable prediction of a disease and how it can be treated in the best possible way.