University of Heidelberg

Multi-scale modeling of innate immune responses to viral infections

ImmunoQuant is a research project within the e:bio - innovation competition on systems biology and is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). ImmunoQuant involves 19 project partners, of those 12 partners are affiliated with the BioQuant center.

ImmunoQuant is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Thomas Höfer and Prof. Dr. Roland Eils. The project term is Mai 2013 – April 2016.


Announcement in

Article in issue 09 July 2015 (english) and Ausgabe 09 Mai 2015 (german): "ImmunoQuant: the race between viral infection and innate immune response"



Objective of the ImmunoQuant project is the quantitative description of the interaction between virus replication and the innate immune response. The following three main hypotheses are under investigation:

  1. The relative kinetics of viral infection (replication and spread) and the innate immune defense (IFN production, paracrine spread and cellular response) determine the outcome of the tug-of-war between virus and and innate immune system.
  2. Cell-to-cell heterogeneity is crucial for understanding the normal functioning of innate immunity and viral interference therewith.
  3. Lytic versus persistent infection strategies of the virus are linked to the specific viral countermeasures against the host’s innate immune defense.

The research focus lies on the study of the human pathogens DENV and HCV, exemplifying different strategies of immune evasion and of HIV-1, for which intrinsic and innate immunity mechanisms are becoming an exciting new area of research.

In order to characterize the quantitative extent, mechanic sources and functional consequences of cell-to-cell heterogeneity due to intrinsic stochasticity in molecular interactions and “extrinsic” cell differences, the methodological focus centers on live-cell imaging, high-resolution microscopy, flow cytometry and single-cell based mathematical modeling.



The project is structured into eight work packages, WP1 to WP8, and into four main research areas: The recognition of virus (WP1, WP2), the induction of the anti-viral state (WP 3, WP4, WP5), host-cell survival vs. death decision (WP6) and tug-of-war between innate immune response and viral spread (WP7, WP8).



Contact: E-Mail (Last update: 14/06/2018)