At birth, the newborn's immune system is suddenly exposed to microorganisms, food and numerous other environmental influences. How do the infant's  immune cells prepare for this moment during pregnancy and birth? How do external influences and genetic factors interact to shape the immune system during the first weeks of life? And what are the consequences of disruptive events, such as premature birth or neonatal infections?

PILOT (TRR 359 “Perinatal Development of Immune Cell Topology”) is a transregional Collaborative Research Center, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), that aims to break new ground in understanding the complex adaptations of the early immune system.

PILOT will elucidate the mechanisms underlying immune development in early life and to bridge the gap between these mechanisms and novel therapeutic paradigms so that infants can be offered the best possible start in life.