Christoph Scheiermann

Prof. Christoph Scheiermann

How the circadian cycle influences immunity

022 379 57 47

During my PhD I discovered that a leukocyte adhesion molecule performed an unexpected function in peripheral nerves (Scheiermann et al., Science 2007). In my postdoc, I demonstrated that circadian rhythms govern the migration of immune cells (Scheiermann et al., Immunity 2012; Scheiermann et al., Nat. Rev Immunol. 2013). These accomplishments allowed me to secure two grants from the German (DFG, Emmy-Noether 2012) and Swiss (SNF, Ambizione 2012) research foundations and I became assistant professor at the LMU Munich. Here, we could show that cellularity in lymph nodes exhibits a circadian rhythm, which strongly impacts the strength of the adaptive immune response (Druzd et al., Immunity 2017). Further, we could demonstrate circadian rhythms to impact both innate and adaptive leukocyte trafficking patterns (de Juan et al., Circulation 2019; He et al., Immunity 2018). Together, these works were honored with several awards such as the ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants and allowed me to obtain an associate professorship at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. We are now taking our studies further to target rhythmicity in immune responses through vaccination (Holtkamp et al., Nature Immunology 2021; Scheiermann et al., Nat. Rev. Immunol. 2018; Wang et al., Sci Immunol. 2022) and cancer immunotherapy.

Our research focuses on two major axes, circadian rhythms in the immune response and the neural control of the immune system. For the aspect of circadian rhythms, we are developing novel therapeutic leads to target the immune system in a rhythmic manner such as in the case of vaccinations. We are further elucidating in mechanistic detail the generation and maintenance of rhythmicity over long time periods. We are specifically focusing on dendritic cells at epithelial barrier sites. For the aspect of neural control, we are investigating how central as well as peripheral nervous system (CNS/PNS) responses influence immune cell behavior in peripheral tissues. We are focusing on the sympathetic nervous system and its control of the lymph node in this context. We combine circadian rhythms and neural control of immunity in current and future cancer projects.


  • Holtkamp SJ, Ince LM, Barnoud C, Schmitt MT, Sinturel F, Pilorz V, Pick R, Jemelin S, Mühlstädt M, Boehncke WH, Weber J, Laubender L, Philippou-Massier J, Chen CS, Holtermann L, Vestweber D, Sperandio M, Schraml BU, Halin C, Dibner C, Oster H, Renkawitz J and Scheiermann C. Circadian clocks guide dendritic cells into skin lymphatics. NAT IMMUNOLOGY [Cover] 2021 22:1375-1381.
  •  He, W., Holtkamp, S., Hergenhan, S.M., Kraus, K., de Juan, A., Weber, J., Bradfield, P., Grenier, J., Pelletier, J., Druzd, D., Chen, C., Ince, L., Bierschenk, S., Pick, R., Sperandio, M., Aurrand-Lions, M., and *Scheiermann, C. Circadian expression of migratory factors establishes lineage specific signatures that guide the homing of leukocyte subsets to tissues. IMMUNITY. 2018 49:1175-1190.
  •  Wang C, Lutes LK, Barnoud C and Scheiermann C. The circadian immune system. SCIENCE IMMUNOLOGY 2022 7.
  • Druzd, D., Matveeva, O., Ince, L., Harrison, U., He, W., Schmal, C., Herzel, H., Tsang, A., Kawakami, N., Leliavski, A., Uhl, U., Yao, L., Sander, L., Chen, C., Kraus, K., de Juan, A., Hergenhan, S., Ehlers, M., Koletzko, B., Haas, R., Solbach, W., Oster, H. and Scheiermann, C. Lymphocyte circadian clocks control lymph node trafficking and adaptive immune responses. IMMUNITY. [Cover] 2017 46:120-132.