Skin Immunology & Immunotherapy of Skin Tumours

Within my research group, we pursue several aspects of cutaneous and general immunology research. Our projects centre on cellular immunology, with a focus on dendritic cells and regulatory T cells. 

Dendritic cells: master controls of adaptive immunity

Due to their versatile role, dendritic cells (DC) are interesting immunotherapeutic targets to treat autoimmune and allergic diseases, or to mount profound and sustained anti-tumour responses. We work to testmulti-functionalised nano-vaccines for their ability to activate DC and stimulate DC-mediated T cells, as well as to test candidate vaccines in tumour mouse models. 

ß2 integrins: leukocyte adhesion molecules with multiple immune functions

We study the roles that β2 integrins play in maintaining tolerance and how their dysregulation contributes to autoimmune disease in order to discover therapeutic treatments. For this purpose, we recently generated a mouse strain with a floxed CD18 gene locus, which will enable us to study the distinct roles of β2 integrins in DC, Treg and neutrophil cells.

Tumour immunotherapy

Tumours can be recognised and destroyed by the immune system, but often manage to escape destruction. Using murine melanoma models and patient-derived tumour samples, we work to understand key elements of the interaction between the immune system and tumours and develop anti-cancer immunotherapeutic strategies using nanoparticle-based approaches or by modulating the tumour microenvironment with β2 integrins.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2022: Adjunct Clinician, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz
  • Since 2007: Director (W3), Dept. of Dermatology, University Medical Center (UMC), Mainz
  • 2003 – 2007: Director (C4), Dept. of Dermatology, University of Essen Medical Center
  • 2000 – 2003: Professor (C3) for Dermatology and Dermato-Oncology, University of Münster
  • 1998 – 1999: Heisenberg scholarship: Visiting Scientist at the “Skin Disease Research Center”, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University, Boston
  • 1992 – 1998: Research Associate, later ‘University Assistant’ (C1), ‘Senior University Assistant’ (C2), Dept. of Dermatology, University of Münster
  • 1989 – 1992: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine and MGH-Harvard Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Boston
  • 1987 – 1989: Research Associate, University of Münster


  • 1996: Habilitation, University of Münster
  • 1996: Dermatology, Allergology & Phlebology National Boards (Germany)
  • 1987: Doctoral degree in Human Medicine, University of Münster
  • 1987: Human Medicine, University of Münster

Selected publications by Stephan Grabbe

Klaus T, Wilson AS, Vicari E, Hadaschik E, Klein M, Helbich SS, Kamenjarin N, Hodapp K, Schunke J, Haist M, Butsch F, Probst HC, Enk AH, Mahnke K, Waisman A, Bednarczyk M, Bros M, Bopp T and Grabbe S (2022) Impaired regulatory T cell-dendritic cell interactions contribute to autoimmunity in leukocyte adhesion deficiency type-1.JCI Insight, e162580 Link

Kappel C, Seidl C, Medina-Montano C, Schinnerer M, Alberg I, Leps C, Sohl J, Hartmann AK, Fichter M, Kuske M, Schunke J, Kuhn G, Tubbe I, Paßlick D, Hobernik D, Bent R, Haas K, Montermann E, Walzer K, Diken M, Schmidt M, Zentel R, Nuhn L, Schild H, Tenzer S, Mailänder V, Barz M, Bros M# and Grabbe S# (2021) Density of conjugated antibody determines the extent of Fc receptor dependent capture of nanoparticles by liver sinusoidal endothelial cells. ACS Nano, 15:15191–15209 Link

Sahin U, Oehm P, Derhovanessian E, Jabulowsky RA, Vormehr M, Gold M, Maurus D, Schwarck-Kokarakis D, Kuhn AN, Omokoko T, Kranz LM, Diken M, Kreiter S, Haas H, Attig S, Rae R, Cuk K, Kemmer-Brück A, Breitkreuz A, Tolliver C, Caspar J, Quinckhardt J, Hebich L, Stein M, Hohberger A, Vogler I, Liebig I, Renken S, Sikorski J, Leierer M, Müller V, Mitzel-Rink H, Miederer M, Huber C, Grabbe S, Utikal J, Pinter A, Kaufmann, R, Hassel JC, Loquai C and Türeci Ö (2020) An RNA vaccine drives anti-tumor immunity in patients with checkpoint-inhibition experienced melanoma. Nature, 585:107–112 Link