Research on adaptive immunology

Adaptive immunology

Research in immunological response of livestock to infectious diseases is primarily applied in the monitoring of the health status of animals, in disease surveillance, and in vaccine development.

In the field of adaptive immunology we develop and test methods, which can be used for immunological diagnosis of infections and to characterize the adaptive immune response of the infected host. The adaptive immune response reacts with intruding bacteria, parasites, and viruses and is able to build a defense that specifically remembers infections and provides effective protection from new infections.

Diagnostics and vaccines

Our work is concerned with developing diagnostic tests as well as vaccines based on antibodies and cell-mediated responses to infection. We are also working with determining which measurable immunological parameters that are correlates of effective protection from diseases.

These immunological correlates of protection may be used to assess the efficacy of new vaccines without challenging experimental animals with the disease or to test new vaccine formulations designed to induce a particular type of immune response in pigs or humans. In collaboration with University of Copenhagen, Department of Systems Biology at DTU and American researchers, the group is in the world lead in the detection of virus-specific cytotoxic T cells in regular blood samples from pigs (
read more about the tetramer project). In collaboration with Center for Cancer Immune Therapy at Herlev Hospital we also apply our technology to quantify the development of cytotoxic T cells against human cancer antigens following different vaccine formulations using the pigs as a large animal model for human vaccine development (see the CANVACPIG Project

Prevention and welfare

The research results will be used to develop effective vaccines against the PRRS virus and the Lawsonia intracellularis bacterium. These common infections are causes significantly reduced welfare in pigs all over the world. New vaccines will increase animal welfare and reduce the use of antibiotics (see Lawsonia project and PIGVAC project).

Another focus is paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) which is a widespread chronic inflammatory disease of the gut infecting cattle. The researchers also work on developing a prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine against this disease (see project on Paratuberculosis).

Micro-particles that bind antibodies

In another line of research we aim to develop a new method for chemical binding of antigens to micro-particles. Each micro-particle is covered with e.g. an antigen from a bacterium and therefore binds the specific antibody against this bacterial antigen in a blood sample. Each particle has a specific fluorescent color code, by which it can be distinguished from particles covered with other antigens in the same sample. With this method one can quickly analyze for a number of different infections, serotypes or host proteins in a single sample.

The Hybridoma Laboratory In our Hybridoma Laboratory we develop and produce monoclonal antibodies that are used in diagnostics and research or delivered to customers. Read more about the Hybridoma Laboratory here.


Gregers Jungersen
DTU Bioengineering
+45 35 88 62 34
18 OCTOBER 2018