Ruth Ley receives Advanced Grant from the European Research Council

Dr. Ruth Ley, Managing Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biology Tübingen and the Director of the Department of Microbiome Science, is awarded the Advanced Grant by the European Research Council.

Silent Flagellin in chronic inflammatory and auto-immune disease (SilentFlame)

This funding will enable Ley and her team to investigate how flagellins produced by beneficial gut bacteria interact with the human immune system. Flagellin is the protein building block of the flagellum, a whip-like appendage that allows bacteria to move through their environment. ‘Silent’ flagellin is a new class of flagellin, discovered by Ley’s team, that interacts with the immune system without triggering an inflammatory response. Silent flagellin is linked to chronic inflammatory diseases, including Crohn’s disease (CD) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME): the ERC funding will allow Ley and team to investigate the mechanisms underlying this disease association, with potential therapeutic outcomes.

By studying the interactions of these flagellins and bacterial colonization of the gut in the host’s immune system, Ley hopes to shed light on their antibody response and their role in gut inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Understanding these connections could pave the way for developing new, targeted treatments for chronic inflammatory conditions.

“We are excited to apply advances in bacterial genetics to understand how the immune system responds to normal gut bacteria both in health and chronic inflammatory disease,” explains Ley.