Systems Biology of Inflammation

Understanding the complex relationships among immune cells with mathematical tools

Thurley group

Dr Kevin Thurley and the Systems Biology of Inflammation group


The mammalian immune response depends on the interaction and collaboration of many, highly individual cells. In particular, a network of interacting lymphocytes is critical for the course of an inflammatory response, which under certain circumstances can become self-sustained and thus evoke chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Recent work has emphasized the need for mathematical analysis in the regulation of immune responses (Thurley et al., PLoS Comp Biol 2015; Hammer et al., Nat Immunol 2018; Thurley, Wu, Altschuler, Cell Systems 2018). We develop and apply mathematical modeling and data analysis techniques to investigate the regulation of immune responses, in close collaboration with physicians and immuno-biologists.

The Systems Biology of Inflammation group is located at the German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ) and funded by the “Leibniz best-minds” program. Visit us at the DRFZ Berlin. An overview of previous publications can be found here.


Dr. Kevin Thurley (Leibniz junior group leader)
Philipp Burt (PhD student, Msc. Biophysics)
Paraskevi Voula Tassopoulou, PharmD (Master student, Charite Molecular Medicine)
Gustav Geißler, Bsc. Physics (Master student, HU Physics)
Lukas Kiwitz (Bacherlor student, HU Biology)


We seek highly motivated students with a background in (bio-)physics, mathematics or systems biology. Bachelor and master students are always welcome, please contact Projects typically include a combination of biological data analysis and mathematical modeling, in particular analysis of single-cell sequencing data, quantitative image analysis, spatial and stochastic modeling techniques, as well as ordinary differential equation models. We closely collaborate with wet-lab immunologists at the DRFZ.

New: PhD positions available. Please feel free to send in applications already (CV and motivation letter required). Details will follow.