Johanna Knipper

Johanna Knipper, Postdoc

Contact Details


Phone: 0131-650-8685

Location: Office 1.01, Ashworth Laboratories


Research interests

Since I joined Rose’s Lab in September 2016 my main research focus is the role PTPN22 plays in T cell activation its implication for the onset of autoimmunity. The loss of PTPN22 in T cells leads to an expansion of the memory/effector T cell population but does not induce pathology or any signs of autoimmune diseases in mice in steady state. Similarly, a substantial proportion of humans carrying a mutation in PTPN22 never develop autoimmunity although they are predisposed. I’m trying to understand by which mechanism the expanded memory/effector T cell population is kept in check and under which circumstances this balance is challenged.

My undergraduate studies in biology were very broad, ranging from plant genetics over microbiology to zoology. I became mostly fascinated by the complex regulation of immune response and it was clear for me to pursue immunology. During my PhD in Sabine Eming’s Lab at the University of Cologne I investigated the role the innate immune response plays in tissue repair and regeneration after injury. I identified macrophage activated by type 2 immune signals as critical for efficient skin repair. Moving to Edinburgh for my first Postdoc in Matt Taylor’s lab I started working on the functional and phenotypical changes of effector T helper cells in chronic helminth infections, using Microarray and RNAseq analysis to investigate T cell plasticity.

In my career, I have worked with many different models and on different cells types to find answers to the same fundamental questions: What makes a successful immune response, what permits persistent and chronic inflammation and what maintains immunological tolerance.


Main laboratory techniques

  • In vivo animal work, including filarial and gastro-intestinal helminth infections, skin wound models
  • Multicolour flow cytometry
  • In vitro T cell culture and T cell activation assays, Macrophage activation assays, ex vivo skin explants cultures, co-culture systems
  • Histology (Immunohistochemistry on paraffin and cryo embedded skin, spleen, intestine)  
  • Molecular biology techniques (RNA isolation, qPCR, RNAseq…)


Additional activities


Since July 2015

Reviewer for the Journal of Wound Repair and Regeneration


Since January 2015

Supervisor for Honour and Master student projects


Since September 2014

Immunology 3 Tutorials (Providing tutorials for a group of 8-12 students)





Campbell SM, Knipper JA, Rückerl D, Logan N, Minutti CM, Mack M, Jenkins SJ, Taylor MD, Allen JE. Myeloid cell recruitment vs local proliferation differentiates susceptibility from resistance to filarial infection. (submitted)


Minutti CM, Jackson-Jones LH, García-Fojeda B, Knipper JA, Sutherland TE, Logan N, Rinqvist E, Guillamat-Prats R, Ferenbach DA, Artigas A, Stamme C, Chroneos ZC, Zaiss DM, Casals C, Allen JE. Local amplifiers of IL-4Rα-mediated macrophage activation promote repair in lung and liver. 

Science. 2017 Jun 9;356(6342):1076-1080.


Kronenberg NM, Liehm P, Steude A, Knipper JA, Borger JG, Scarcelli G, Franze K, Powis SJ, Gather MC. Long-term imaging of cellular forces with high precision by elastic resonator interference stress microscopy.

Nat Cell Biol. 2017 Jun 19. doi: 10.1038/ncb3561.


Minutti CM*, Knipper JA*, Allen JE, Zaiss DM. Tissue-specific contribution of macrophages to wound healing.

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 Jan;61:3-11. (* Shared first author)


Knipper JA*, Willenborg S*, Brinckmann J, Bloch W, Maaß T, Wagener R, Krieg T, Sutherland T, Munitz A, Rothenberg ME, Niehoff A, Richardson R, Hammerschmidt M, Allen JE, Eming SA. Interleukin-4 Receptor α Signaling in Myeloid Cells Controls Collagen Fibril Assembly in Skin Repair.

Immunity. 2015 Oct 20;43(4):803-16. (* Shared first author)


Willenborg S, Lucas T, van Loo G, Knipper JA, Krieg T, Haase I, Brachvogel B, Hammerschmidt M, Nagy A, Ferrara N, Pasparakis M, Eming SA. CCR2 recruits an inflammatory macrophage subpopulation critical for angiogenesis in tissue repair.

Blood. 2012 Jul 19;120(3):613-25.



Short Biography


since 09/2016

Postdoc on T cell Biology and Autoimmunity

Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh

Research group of Prof. Dr. Rose Zamoyska


08/2013 - 08/2016

Postdoc on Th2 Responses in Helminth Infections

Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh

Research group of Dr. Matthew Taylor


07/2008 – 08/2013

PhD on Tissue Repair, Macrophages and Type 2 Immunity

Department of Dermatology, University of Cologne

Research group of Prof. Dr. Sabine Eming


10/2002 – 03/2008

Studies of Biological Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin

and Master Thesis (Diplom) at DRFZ Deutsches Rheuma Forschungszentrum Research group of PD Dr. Claudia Berek