Dr. Waaga-Gassers’ areas of interest are (i) transplant immunology, focusing on experimental and clinical transplantation immunology, particularly the modulation of T-cell immune responses that leads to tolerance induction and (ii) cancer immunology to develop T cell mediated clinical strategies against solid cancer.In transplantation immunology she found that the alloimmune response is influenced by a specialized subset of regulatory T cells (Tregs). These cells can modify rejection episodes as they are able to downregulate activated allospecific T cells.

In oncology she is focusing on tumor immune responses. In a renal cancer study she demonstrated T cell specific p33ING1b/p29ING4-anti-tumor immune responses. In further studies, she examined the potential of modulating tumor immune responses by expression analysis of (anti-)apoptotic genes, cytokines, and T cell subpopulations in tumor tissues from patients with colorectal and pancreatic cancer. She is also analyzing the Programmed death(PD)-1/PDL-1/PDL-2-costimulatory pathway as part of the CD28 family that provides inhibitory signaling to T cells and thereby preventing their activation in colorectal cancer. Moreover, her laboratory is also analyzing Toll like receptor(TLR) signaling events in colorectal and pancreatic cancer as potentially relevant pathway to abrogate inflammation-mediated tumor progression. In conclusion, the characterization of the interaction between solid cancer as well as transplanted organs and immune professional cells is the main focus of her research.

 

Publications

Waaga AM, Gasser M, Kist-vanHolthe JE, Najafian N, Muller A, Vella JP, Womer KL, Chandraker A, Khoury SJ, Sayegh MH. Regulatory functions of self-restricted MHC class II allopeptide-specific Th2 clones in vivo. J Clin Invest. 2001; 107(7):909-916.

Waaga-Gasser AM, Grimm MR, Lutz J, Lange V, Lenhard SM, Aviles B, Kist-van Holthe JE, Lebedeva T, Samsonov D, Meyer D, Hancock WW, Heemann U, Gasser M, Chandraker A. Th2 cell transfer regulate allospecific immune responses and abrogate chronic allograft rejection early after kidney transplantation. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009; 20(4):820-830.

Grimm M, Kim M, Rosenwald A, Heemann U, Germer CT, Waaga-Gasser AM*, Gasser M*. Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 expression on CD133+ cells in colorectal cancer points to a specific role for inflammation-induced TLRs in tumourigenesis and tumour progression. Eur J Cancer. 2010; 46(15):2849-2857.  

Tsaur I, Gasser M, Aviles B, Lutz J, Lutz L, Grimm M, Lange V, Lopau K, Heemann U, Germer CT, Chandraker A, Waaga-Gasser AM. Donor antigen-specific regulatory T-cell function affects outcome in kidney transplant recipients.Kidney Int. 2011; 79(9):1005-1012.

Kim M, Grimmig T, Grimm M, Lazariotou M, Meier E, Rosenwald A, Tsaur I,Blaheta R, Heemann U, Germer C-T, Waaga-Gasser AM*, Gasser M*. Expression of Foxp3in Colorectal Cancer but not in Treg Cells Correlates with Disease Progression in Patients with Colorectal Cancer. PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e53630.

Appointments

Professor of Molecular Oncology and Immunology, Department of Surgery I, University of  Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany

Visiting Professor in Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

 

Education

1984 – BSc, Biology, University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany

1986 – MSc, Microbiology, University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany

1990 – PhD, Immunology, Transplantation Immunology, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany

 

Awards & Honors

1996 – Young Investigator Award, American Society of Transplant Physicians, ASTP

1997 – Young Investigator Award, American Society of Transplant Physicians, ASTP

2000-2003 – Board Member, Basic Science Committee, American Society of Transplantation

2004-2006 – Deputy Co-chair of the International Community of Practice for the AST

2006-2009 – Board Member, Basic Science Advisory council, American Society of Transplantation

 

Contact

Phone: 617-525-8010 / ++49-931-201-31715
Fax: 617-732-5254 / ++49-931-201-31729
E-Mail: waaga-gasser@chirurgie.uni-wuerzburg.de
awaaga@partners.org