Biological Sciences


Dr Dietmar Zaiss

Location: Ashworth 2 3.11

Telephone: 651 7780



Group members: Natalie Blair (technician) and Carlos Minutti (Post-Doc MRC funded), Connor Husovsky (RA MRC-CiC funded), Jame McCrae (PhD student - Clinical Research Training Fellow / MRC), Rucha Tillu (PhD students - Darwin Trust) and Felicity MacDonald (PhD student)


currentReader in Immunology, University of Edinburgh / Institute of Immunology and Infection Research
2013 - 2017Lecturer in Immunology and Chancellor's Fellow, University of Edinburgh / Institute of Immunology and Infection Research
2006 - 2013Group Leader, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Immunology)
2002 - 2005Post-Doc, University of Rochester, NY, USA- Dr. Tim Mosmann (Immunology)
1996 - 2000Ph.D., Humboldt University, Berlin - Dr. P-M. Kloetzel (Cell Biology)
1993 - 1996M.Sc. Syracuse University, NY, USA - Dr. John Belote (Cell and Molecular Biology)

Research groupings

No details available


Course Organizer “Clinical Immunology & Haematology” CI&H-3 (co-chaired together with Julia Dorin) for Third-Year / “Junior Honours” students. This course runs during the Spring semester 

Participates in the courses

-           “Molecules, Infection and Immunity” (MII-2) for Second-Year students, which runs during the Spring semester.

-           “Immunology - 3” for Third-Year students, course runs during the Autumn semester. 

-           “Molecular Immunology” and “Immunobiology” for Forth-Year / “Immunology Honours” students, courses run during the Autumn semester.

-           Master Course "Vaccines and Molecular Therapies", during the Spring semester

In addition, organises a weekly, department-internal “Immunology Refresher Training” for post-graduate students & supervises lab-based, scientific 10 weeks “Honours Projects” 

Research interests

The focus of my research is the role of the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF-R) in the regulation of our immune system:

Different types of leukocytes express EGF-R ligands and, complementary, also a number of different leukocyte populations express the EGF-R. For many types of leukocytes, signalling through the EGF-R can be of central importance for their differentiation, survival or optimal functioning. Thereby, the EGF-R signalling pathway plays a central role for the functioning of the immune system.

Leukocytes mainly express two different EGF-like growth factors, HB-EGF and Amphiregulin (AREG). Based on differences in receptor binding characteristics, these EGF-R ligands induce distinct signals through the EGF-R and, consequently, mediate distinct, ligand specific, often antagonistic physiological effects. In consequence, the differential expression of these two growth factors by leukocytes at the site of inflammation has substantial effects on the functionality of the cell populations there, and therefore often determines the outcome of local immune responses.

Since the EGF-R is also expressed by endothelial and epithelial cells, leukocyte-derived EGF-like growth factors represent one of the few cytokines that can not only facilitate communication between leukocytes themselves, but also between leukocytes and the endothelial and epithelial cell layers of inflamed tissues. Also here the two leukocyte-derived EGF-like growth factors, with their antagonistic functions, induce qualitatively different physiological effects and thereby influence the inflammation-associated proliferation and tissue remodelling of inflammed tissues.

The aim of our research is to reveal how and with which physiological effects the immune system uses these two antagonistic EGF-like growth factors HB-EGF and AREG during inflammation; and how the balance between these two growth factors contributes to an efficient clearance of pathogens while containing the homeostasis of the inflammed tissues.

Based on this knowledge we would like to explore possibilities for novel therapeutic interventions to heal immune mediated diseases.

Representative publications


  • Minutti CM, Drube S, Blair N, Schwartz C, McCrae JC, McKenzie AN, Kamradt T, Mokry M, Coffer PJ, Sibilia M, Sijts AJ, Fallon PG, Maizels RM, Zaiss DM (2017) Epidermal growth factor receptor expression licenses T helper-2 cells to function in a T cell receptor-independent fashion. Immunity 47: 710-722


  • MacDonald F, Zaiss DMW. (2017) The Immune System's Contribution to the Clinical Efficacy of EGFR Antagonist Treatment. Front Pharmacol. 8: 575.


  • Minutti CM, Jackson-Jones LH, García-Fojeda B, Knipper JA, Sutherland TE, Logan N, Rinqvist E, Guillamat-Prats R, Ferenbach DA, Artigas A, Stamme C, Chroneos ZC, Zaiss DM, Casals C, Allen JE. (2017) Local amplifiers of IL-4Rα-mediated macrophage activation promote repair in lung and liver. Science. 356: 1076-1080.


  • Bruce D., Stefanski H., Vincent B., Dant T., Reisdorf S., Bommiasamy H., Serody D., Wilson J., McKinnon K., Shlomchik W., Armistead P., Ting J., Woosley J., Blazar B., Zaiss D., McKenzie A., Coghill J. & Serody J. (2017) ILC2 Cell Crosstalk with MDSCs Controls Lower GI Tract Acute GvHD. Journal of Clinical Investigation 127:1813-1825


  • Minutti CM, Knipper JA, Allen JE, Zaiss DM. (2016) Tissue-specific contribution of macrophages to wound healing. Semin Cell Dev Biol.  61:3-11


  • Monticelli LA, Osborne L, Noti M, Tran SV, Zaiss DM, Artis D. (2015) IL-33 promotes an innate immune pathway of intestinal tissue protection dependent on Amphiregulin-EGFR interactions. PNAS 112:10762-7

  • Zaiss DM, Gause WC, Osborne LC, Artis D. (2015) Emerging Functions of Amphiregulin in Orchestrating Immunity, Inflammation, and Tissue Repair. Immunity 42: 216-226.
  • Zaiss DM., van Loosdregt J., Gorlani A., Bekker CJ., Gröne A., Sibilia M., van Bergen en Henegouwen PM., Roovers RC, Coffer PJ, Sijts AJ. (2013) Amphiregulin enhances regulatory T cell suppressive function via the epidermal growth factor receptor  Immunity 38: 275-284  
  • van Loosdregt J., Fleskens V., Fu J., Brenkman AB., Bekker CJ., Pals CE., Meerding J., Berkers CR., Barbi J., Gröne A., Sijts AJ., Maurice MM., Kalkhoven E., Prakken BJ., Ovaa H., Pan F., Zaiss DM., and Coffer PJ. (2013) USP7/HAUSP mediated stabilization of FoxP3 increases Treg suppressive capacity Immunity 39: 259-271
  • van Loosdregt J., Fleskens V., Tiemessen MM., van Boxtel R., Mokry M., Meerding J., Pals CE., Kurek D., Baert MR., Delemarre EM., Gröne A., Sijts AJ., Maurice MM., van Es JH., ten Berge D., Staal FJ., Zaiss DM., Prakken BJ., and Coffer PJ. (2013) Canonical Wnt signaling negatively modulates T regulatory cell function Immunity 39: 298-310
  • Zaiss DM, Yang L, Shah PR, Kobie JJ, Urban JF, Mosmann TR. (2006) Amphiregulin, a TH2 cytokine enhancing resistance to nematodes. Science 314:1746.
  • Schubert D, Schmidt M, Zaiss D, Jungblut P, Kamradt T. (2002) Autoantibodies against GPI and creatine kinase in rheumatoid arthritis. Nature Immunology 3:411
  • Zaiss DM, Standera S, Kloetzel PM, Sijts AJ. (2002) PI31 is a modulator of proteasome formation and antigen processing. PNAS 99:14344-14349