REBIRTH Mitglieder

Förster, Reinhold

Förster, Reinhold, Prof. Dr. med. vet.

Institute of Immunology

Hannover Medical School
Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1
30625 Hannover



R. Förster (*1961), VMD, is W3 Professor and Head of the Institute of Immunology at MHH. He studied Veterinary Medicine in Munich and Cambridge (UK) and obtained his doctorate in veterinary medicine summa cum laude in 1991. After his habilitation at the Free University of Berlin (1998) he was appointed to his current position at MHH in 2001. As internationally acknowledged expert on chemokines his further interests lie in the identification of molecular mechanisms that control the migration of immune cells to and their positioning within lymphoid organs. Further on, in vivo imaging of immunological processes in lymphoid organs by means of 2-photon microscopy has been established in his lab to study complex immune responses.

Biography / About

Date of Birth:August, 1961
Function:Full (C4) Professor of Immunology and Head of Institute of Immunology, Hannover Medical School (MHH)


10/1981 - 09/1982University of Erlangen, Germany; Electronic Engineering
10/1982 - 11/1988Veterinary School, University of Munich, Germany; University of Cambridge, UK
02/1991Veterinary Doctorate (Dr. med. vet.; Supervisor Prof. Dr. med. vet. Anton Mayr)
11/1998Post-doctoral lecturing qualification (Habilitation, supervisor Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Michael Schmidt; Dr. rer. nat. Martin Lipp)

Academic appointments and Research posts:

05/1991 - 12/1993Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Biochemistry, University of Munich
01/1994 - 11/2000Research Associate at the Max-Delbruck-Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany
11/2000 - 10/ 2001Associate Professor for Experimental Surgery and Immunology, University of Erlangen
Since 10/2001Full (C4) Professor of Immunology and Director, Institute of Immunology, MHH
06/2016Offered Full Professor (W3) of Immunology and Head of Max-Planck Research Group, University of Würzburg, Germany (declined)

Other professional activities:

09/1995 - 08/1997Member of MDC’s Scientific Council
09/1997 - 11/2000Member of MDC’s Board of Trustees
07/2002 - 06/2013Board member of the DFG Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) ‘SFB 587: Immunreactions of the Lung in Infection and Allergies’
04/2003 - 06/2013Spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center ‘SFB 621 Pathobiology of the Intestinal Mucosa’
Since 10/2003Spokesperson of the international PhD-Program ‘Infection Biology’
01/2004 - 12/2011Board member of the DFG CRC “SFB 566: Cytokine Receptors and Cytokine-Dependent Signal Paths as Therapeutic Target Structures”
Since 07/2005Spokesperson of the medical thesis program ‘StrucMed’
01/2007 - 12/2014Board member of ‚Deutsche Gesellschaft für Immunologie‘
06/2008 - 05/2016DFG Review Board Member
01/2009 - 12/2013Member of the Executive Committee European Journal of Immunology
Since 07/2010Board member of the DFG CRC ‘SFB 900: Chronic Infections: Microbial Persistence and its Control’
Since 10/2010Spokesperson of the PhD program ‘Dynamic of Host Pathogen-Interactions – DEWIN’ at the Center for Infection Biology (ZIB) Hannover/Braunschweig
Since 07/2011Board member of the DFG CRC ‘SFB 738: Optimisation of Conventional and Innovative Transplants’
Since 12/2014Deputy Coordinator of REBIRTH Cluster of Excellence

Awards and Prizes:

04/1985 - 02/1991Scholar of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation
12/2000The Stifterverband Science Award, Erwin Schrödinger-Preis
12/2001Langener Wissenschaftspreis
07/2003Schunk Preis; Veterinary School; University of Giessen; Germany
04/2012ERC-Advanced grant

Major research interests:

  • 2-photon in vivo imaging
  • Cell migration
  • Lymphoid organ organogenesis
  • Chemokine system
  • Immunetolerance

Selected Publications:

  1. Halle S, Keyser KA, Stahl FR, Busche A, Marquardt A, Zheng x, Galla M, Heissmeyer V, Heller K, Boelter J, Wagner K, Bischoff Y, Schwegmann R, Braun A, Werth K, Uvarovskii A, Kempf H, Meyer-Hermann M, Arens R, Kremer M, Sutter G, Messerle M, Förster R. In vivo killing capacity of cytotoxic T cells is limited and involves dynamic interactions and T cell cooperativity. Immunity. 2016. 44(2):233-45. DOI:
  2. Ulvmar MH*, Werth K*, Braun A, Kelay P, Hub E, Eller K, Chan L, Lucas B, Novitzky-Basso I, Nakamura K, Rulicke T, Nibbs RJ, Worbs T, Förster R**, Rot A** (*,**equal contribution). The atypical chemokine receptor CCRL1 shapes functional CCL21 gradients in lymph nodes. Nat Immunol. 2014. 11;15(7):623-30. cover story. DOI: 10.1038/ni.2889.
  3. Fleige H, Ravens S, Moschovakis GL, Bolter J, Willenzon S, Sutter G, Haussler S, Kalinke U, Prinz I, Förster R. IL-17-induced CXCL12 recruits B cells and induces follicle formation in BALT in the absence of differentiated FDCs. J Exp Med. 2014 Mar 24;211(4):643-51. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20131737.
  4. Wendland M, Willenzon S, Kocks J, Davalos-Misslitz AC, Hammerschmidt SI, Schumann K, Kremmer E, Sixt M, Hoffmeyer A, Pabst O, Förster R. Lymph node T cell homeostasis relies on steady state homing of dendritic cells. Immunity. 2011. 23;35(6):945-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.10.017.
  5. Hammerschmidt SI, Friedrichsen M, Boelter J, Kremmer E, Pabst O, Förster R. Retinoic acid as dominant gut-homing navigator confers intestinal protection following subcutaneous immunization. J Clin Invest. 2011. 121(8):3051-61. DOI: 10.1172/JCI44262
  6. Braun A, Worbs T, Moschovakis GL, Halle S, Hoffmann K, Boelter J, Munk A, Förster R. Afferent lymph-derived T cells and dendritic cells use different CCR7-dependent routes for lymph node entry and intranodal migration. Nature Immunology. 2011. 12(9):879-87. Cover story. DOI: 10.1038/ni.2085.
  7. Halle S, Dujardin HC, Bakocevic N, Fleige H, Danzer H, Willenzon S, Suezer Y, Hammerling G, Garbi N, Sutter G, Worbs T, Förster R. Induced bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue serves as a general priming site for T cells and is maintained by dendritic cells. J Exp Med. 2009. 16;206(12):2593-601. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20091472.
  8. Worbs T, Mempel TR, Bolter J, von Andrian UH, Förster R. CCR7 ligands stimulate the intranodal motility of T lymphocytes in vivo. J Exp Med. 2007. 19;204(3):489-95. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20061706
  9. Kocks JR, Davalos-Misslitz AC, Hintzen G, Ohl L, Förster R. Regulatory T cells interfere with the development of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue. J Exp Med. 2007. 16;204(4):723-34. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20061424
  10. Förster R, Schubel A, Breitfeld D, Kremmer E, Renner-Muller I, Wolf E, Lipp M. CCR7 coordinates the primary immune response by establishing functional microenvironments in secondary lymphoid organs. Cell. 1999. 1;99(1):23-33. DOI:

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