Becher, Burkhard

Immunologists have been studying for decades the human immune system during homeostasis, infection and diseases such as cancer. Nowadays, technologies such as multi-dimensional polychromatic flow cytometry as well as the most recent technology of mass cytometry allow us to get a snapshot of an immune response even within a rather small amount of sample. In addition, the introduction of un-supervised high dimensional data analysis offers a toolbox to study immune responses in a more un-biased fashion. The use of this approach carries the potential of identifying and characterizing known new cell populations also within the myeloid compartment at both phenotypic and functional level that could serve as prognostic factor during treatment of cancer.


Human cancer patients (leukemia and melanoma)
Mouse models of melanoma, glioblastoma and gastrointestinal cancer

Major cell types studies & key scientific question(s)

Role of myeloid cells during the immunotherapy of cancer.
Defining diagnostic markers to predict therapeutic outcome during immunotherapy.

Technology used:

Conditional gene-targeted mice, unique mice with targeted myeloid cells. Mouse models of melanoma and gastrointestinal cancer
Mass cytomerty (>40 parameters)
Polychromatic flow cytometry (16 parameter)
High dimensional data analysis, dimensionality reduction

Selected publications

Becher B, Schlitzer A, Chen J, Mair F, Sumatoh HR, Teng KW, Low D, Ruedl C, Riccardi-Castagnoli P, Poidinger M, Greter M, Ginhoux F, Newell EW. 2014. High-dimensional analysis of the murine myeloid cell system. Nat Immunol.15:1181-1189.

Levin AM, Bates DL, Ring AM, Krieg C, Lin JT, Su L, Raeber ME, Bowman GR, Novick P, Pande VS, Kohrt HE, Fathman CG, Boyman, O, Garcia, KC. Exploiting a Natural Conformational Switch to Engineer an Interleukin-2 Superkine. Nature. 2012 Mar; 484(7395): 529-33.

Codarri L, Gyülveszi G, Tosevski V, Hesske L, Fontana A, Magnenat L, Suter T, Becher B: RORγt drives production of the cytokine GM-CSF in helper T cells, which is essential for the effector phase of autoimmune neuroinflammation. Nat Immunol 2011, 12:560–567.

Hartmann FJ, Khademi M, Aram J, Ammann S, Kockum I, Constantinescu C, Gran B, Piehl F, Olsson T, Codarri L, Becher B: Multiple sclerosis-associated IL2RA polymorphism controls GM-CSF production in human TH cells. Nat Commun 2014