Luciana Berod is a graduate in Biochemistry with a specialisation in Molecular Immunology and Microbiology from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). She started her research career at the Institute for the Study of Humoral Immunity, in Prof. Margni’s reproductive immunology laboratory. In 2003, she moved to Germany where she obtained her PhD from the University of Jena working on the role of PI3Kgamma and SHIP1 in autoimmunity in the laboratory of Thomas Kamradt. She subsequently worked as a Postdoc in Tim Sparwasser’s group at the Institute of Infection Immunology (Twincore) investigating the role of fatty acid metabolism for T-cells and dendritic cells. In 2016, she was awarded the Jürgen Wehland Prize for Young Scientists for her contributions to the field of Immunometabolism. In 2020, Dr. Berod was appointed Associate Professor of Immunomodulation at the University Medical Center Mainz, where she leads the Immunometabolism of Autoimmunity and Infection group.

Research profile

Our immune system works in an orchestrated manner to protect us against pathogens and foreign substances. Failure of this system leads to chronic infection, autoimmune diseases,, or cancer. In our group “Immunomodulation” at the Paul Klein Center for Immune Intervention at the UMC, we investigate how immune cells can be influenced by changes in metabolism and how metabolic pathways can be targeted for therapeutic purposes.

Main research questions:

  • How fatty acid metabolism modulates cell fate decisions in T cells
  • How metabolic changes influence posttranslational protein modifications
  • What is the role of Tregs and DCs in autoimmune diseases (e.g. celiac disease, EAE)
  • How do pathogens modulate the metabolism of immune cells during infection

Additionally, we study how metabolism influences posttranslational modifications in immune cells and thus influences immune cell function. The focus of our work is the balance between regulatory T cells and inflammatory T cells and their activation by dendritic cells in different infection, cancer, and autoimmune disease models. In this context, we have previously demonstrated that the development of Th17 cells depends on de novo fatty acid synthesis (FAS), and that this pathway has therapeutic potential in autoimmune diseases and GvHD. In addition, we showed that activation of the FAS pathway in T cells also has implications during infection, in which excessive protective immune responses can lead to unwanted tissue destruction. Recently, we published new studies on how fatty acid metabolism influences other immune cell subsets such as Tregs or dendritic cells.

Positions and training


W2-University Professor for Immunomodulation, Institute for Molecular   Medicine, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

2014 – 2019

Group Leader. Institute of Infection Immunology, TWINCORE, Hannover Medical School (MHH), Germany


  • Description of PI3Kγ as a regulator of T cell migration and function during EAE
  • Discovery of Soraphen A, a natural compound targeting ACC1, with therapeutic potential for the treatment of Th17-mediated autoimmunity
  • Characterization of off-target effects of etomoxir and the role of fatty acid oxidation on immune cells

Selected links

Selected links


IMB profile