Elvira Mass, University of Bonn, Germany

  • Le 15 September 2023
    Amphi DE
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  • 11h30

Unveiling the Origins and Functional Significance of Tissue-Resident Macrophages during Health and Disease

Unveiling the Origins and Functional Significance of Tissue-Resident Macrophages during Health and Disease

Elvira Mass, PhD
Developmental Biology of the Immune System,
Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute,
University of Bonn


Tissue-resident macrophages are known for their role as professional phagocytes, responsible for monitoring their local environment, removing unfit cells, pathogens, and waste materials, and generating various bioactive molecules and growth factors. These specialized macrophage populations are tailored to the specific needs of their respective tissues. For instance, microglia in the central nervous system contribute to neuronal circuit development, Kupffer cells in the liver participate in the clearance of blood particles and dying red blood cells, and alveolar macrophages in the lungs play a key role in surfactant regulation and the removal of airborne contaminants.

Traditionally, it was believed that all macrophages originated from monocytes, and this view associated macrophages with a primary role in inflammatory pathologies, including degenerative diseases and chronic inflammation. However, recent research has revealed that the majority of tissue-resident macrophages actually originate from yolk-sac progenitors. As a result, especially during inflammatory conditions, a coexistence of yolk-sac- and monocyte-derived macrophages is observed in various tissues. This coexistence raises questions about how to track and study these distinct macrophage populations. Additionally, it prompts studying the implications of having long-lived, yolk-sac-derived macrophages developing together with an organ and persisting throughout an organism's life, while other macrophages have shorter lifespans and are continually replaced by new macrophages from circulating monocytes. In this presentation, I will explore practical examples of how the fates of these different macrophage populations can be traced and discuss the significance of their distinct origins in shaping organ development, function, and responses during inflammatory conditions, such as stroke, fatty liver disease and malaria infection.


Elvira Mass studied biology at the University of Bonn and did her PhD thesis at the Life and Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES) in Bonn. In 2014, she moved to Frederic Geissmann's laboratory at King's College in London and followed him a few months later to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. From there she returned to the LIMES Institute in 2017 as a group leader. In 2019, she became W2 Professor for "Integrated Immunology" at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. In 2020, she switched to a W2 / W3 professorship at the LIMES Institute, and was tenured as a full professor in 2022. Mass has received several awards, including the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize in 2020, the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers in 2021, the German Stem Cell Network Young Investigator Award 2021, and the EMBO YIP award in 2022 for her work on macrophage biology.

Mis à jour le 31 August 2023.