Precise and timely pollen forecast thanks to new automated pollen sampler

One in seven people living in Germany, which means about 12 million people in total, suffers from symptoms of pollen allergies ranging from allergic rhinitis through hay fever to anaphylactic shocks. The symptoms appear with the beginning of the flowering season of the respective allergenic plants. That is why allergic patients are dependent on daily updated information about pollen dispersal in order to precisely adjust their medication and plan possible outdoor activities.

The pollen exposure in the city of Augsburg is subject of a CK-CARE research project which takes place at the University Centre for Health Sciences (UNIKA-T). The results from this research project should provide a more detailed view of local pollen allergen exposure. Its chief aim is to enable doctors and allergic patients to use preventive and therapeutic treatments in the best possible way.

Since the beginning of April 2015, pollen exposure has been measured by means of the BAA500 automatic pollen sampler from the company Hund, which is installed at the Bavarian Environment State Agency (LfU) adjacent to the University of Augsburg. This sampler draws in the surrounding air and afterwards counts the pollen contained therein with a precision of over 90 percent.

Until now, airborne pollen have been measured with conventional pollen traps. These traps draw in the surrounding air and fix the pollen contained therein on an adhesive tape. The corresponding tapes are prepared by hand after the sampling. Following this, the pollen have to be counted manually under an optical microscope. This process is time consuming and must only be performed by trained staff. Due to the time consuming tape preparation and the ensuing counting, relevant data can be provided within one day after the sampling at the earliest, though normally within ten days. Therefore, when using the conventional traps, any pollen forecast has to be built upon data that is several days old.

The new automated pollen sampler provides relevant data within three hours after the sampling took place and the resulting forecasts are considerably more adequate.

Annual Report CK-CARE 2023

CK-CARE’s work has global resonance and, thanks to this strong position, significant projects in clinical allergy research were again launched or catalysed in the reporting year. CK-CARE’s working methods were sharpened in terms of medical translation and a strengthening of research capacities on the medical campus in Davos was defined in order to increase CK-CARE’s performance.

Annual Report 2023

CK-CARE’s work now has global resonance and, thanks to this strong position, significant projects in clinical allergy research were again launched or catalysed in the reporting year. CK-CARE’s working methods were sharpened in terms of medical translation and a strengthening of research capacities on the medical campus in Davos was defined in order to increase CK-CARE’s performance.

Kühne-Foundation Annual Report 2023

“Entrepreneurial success should go hand in hand with the promotion of  the common good. The Kühne Foundation fulfills this task. With a variety of programs and projects, the founder and the Kühne Foundation also assume their socio-political responsibility.”

The activities were significantly expanded, particularly in the area of logistics. In addition, the new focus area of climate action was established, and the first projects were launched.

Prof. Dr. h.c. Klaus-Michael Kühne

 

How flexible are neutrophils to opposing signaling?

Paola Martinez Murillo a postdoctoral researcher in Pierre-Yves Mantel’s group from CK-CARE obtained a Spark grant from the SNSF to investigate the effect of opposite signals on neutrophil biology in atopic dermatitis.

Spark is a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) funding scheme aiming to support projects that show unconventional thinking and introduce a unique approach. The Spark is highly competitive and supports projects based on promising ideas of high originality. CK-CARE was recognized as an eligible institution in June 2023 by the SNSF, opening new funding opportunities for the CK-CARE researchers.

This project aims to understand how two opposing signals: eczema dysregulated immune environment (Th2 response) and bacterial colonization (Th1 response) impact neutrophils function.

Neutrophils are tiny but powerful immune cells in our blood that fight off bacteria and viruses. They live for only 2-3 days and can quickly respond to infections. Neutrophils can adapt to different situations thanks to their genetic instructions (RNA). Our body’s reversible changes in reading DNA, called epigenomic modifications, are crucial for a functional immune response.

Eczema, a chronic skin condition, happens when various factors like genetics, skin damage, and immune reactions go haywire. People with eczema have neutrophils that do not work as well in fighting bacteria, making them more prone to infections.

This study addresses a knowledge gap in neutrophil adaptation to an allergic milieu, by evaluating neutrophil adaptation to anti-bacterial response in a type 2 immune response dominated context such as atopic dermatitis using transcriptional and epigenomic profiling along with comprehensive analysis of neutrophil functionality (netosis, phagocytosis, ROS-production, bactericidal activity, chemotaxis). Building upon in-vitro stimulation insights, then we will aim for a comprehensive analysis of neutrophil functionality in atopic dermatitis patients treated or not with Dupilumab.

Environmental exposure and sensitization patterns in a Swiss alpine pediatric cohort

The level of environmental exposure throughout life may contribute to the prevalence of allergic sensitization and allergic disease. The alpine climate has been considered a healthy climate with little allergen exposure and pollution. We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate local environmental exposure and concomitant prevalence of allergic sensitization among local school children born and raised in an alpine environment.

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Spatial transcriptomics combined with single-cell RNA-sequencing unravels the complex inflammatory cell network in atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder affecting up to 3%–5% of adults and 20% of children worldwide. The pathophysiology of AD involves various factors including host genetics, altered skin barrier function, and immunological abnormalities.