Dendritic cell reprogramming in inflammation, infection and ageing

Over the last 12 years, my research has taken me to 5 different countries to study the role of dendritic cells in different diseases. As dendritic cells bridge the innate and adaptive immune system, they are involved in nearly all immunological processes linked to homeostasis, disease and ageing.

Yet, studying dendritic cells is challenging because they represent a small cell population, can be easily activated and induce potent responses. This is why we have invested a lot of effort into using the newest technologies, such as single-cell sequencing, high-dimensional flow cytometry and 3D imaging to study these cells and their interaction with other immune and non-immune cells in great detail. This allowed us to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive rare or poorly-studied diseases and also led us to the discovery that dendritic cells recognise and adapt to their surroundings (even at the steady state), resulting in local immune imprinting circuits that control tissue-specific immunity.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2023: Professor of Dermatological Immunotherapy, Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • 2021 - 2023: Junior Group Leader, Dendritic Cell Biology Lab, Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Phillips University Marburg
  • 2019 - 2021: Project Leader, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, New Zealand
  • 2017 - 2019: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, New Zealand, Group Leader: Prof. Franca Ronchese


  • 2017: PhD in Immunology, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, Supervisor: Prof. Simon Milling
  • 2013: Master of Research (M.res.) Molecular Functions in Disease, University of Glasgow, UK
  • 2012: Bachelor of Science (BSc) Biology, University of Technology Munich, Germany

Selected Publications by Johannes Mayer

Mayer JU, Hilligan KL, Chandler JS, Eccles DA, Old SI, Domingues RG, Yang J, Webb GR, Munoz-Erazo L, Hyde EJ, Wakelin KA, Tang SC, Chappell SC, von Daake S, Brombacher F, Mackay CR, Sher A, Tussiwand R, Connor LM, Ortega DG, Jankovic D, Gros GL, Hepworth MR, Lamiable O, Ronchese F. (2021) Homeostatic IL-13 in healthy skin directs dendritic cell differentiation to promote TH2 and inhibit TH17 cell polarization. Nat. Immunol., 1 (13). Link

Hilligan KL, Tang SC, Hyde EJ, Roussel E, Mayer JU, Yang J, Wakelin KA, Schmidt AJ, Connor LM, Sher A, MacDonald AS, Ronchese F. (2020) Dermal IRF4+ Dendritic Cells and Monocytes License CD4+ T Helper Cells to Distinct Cytokine Profiles. Nat. Commun., 11 (1), 5637. Link

Bosteels C, Neyt K, Vanheerswynghels M, van Helden MJ, Sichien D, Debeuf N, De Prijck S, Bosteels V, Vandamme N, Martens L, Saeys Y, Louagie E, Lesage M, Williams DL, Tang SC, Mayer JU, Ronchese F, Scott CL, Hammad H, Guilliams M, Lambrecht BN. (2020) Inflammatory Type 2 CDCs Acquire Features of CDC1s and Macrophages to Orchestrate Immunity to Respiratory Virus Infection. Immunity, 52 (6), 1039-1056 e9. Link

Giladi A, Cohen M, Medaglia C, Baran Y, Li B, Zada M, Bost P, Blecher-Gonen R, Salame TM, Mayer JU, David E, Ronchese F, Tanay A, Amit I. (2020) Dissecting Cellular Crosstalk by Sequencing Physically Interacting Cells. Nat. Biotechnol., 38 (5), 629–637. Link

Ferrer-Font L, Mehta P, Harmos P, Schmidt AJ, Chappell S, Price KM, Hermans IF, Ronchese F, le Gros G, Mayer JU. (2020) High-Dimensional Analysis of Intestinal Immune Cells during Helminth Infection. eLife, 9, e51678. Link