Welcome to the website of our research laboratory for reproductive biology and placenta immunology!


The placenta is a completely transient 5 in 1 organ. It performs the actions of the lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines and glands. All in order to ensure a proper metabolic supply of the fetus.

A normally developed and functioning placenta is essential for the growth and development of the fetus. A poorly developed placenta is often associated with higher perinatal morbidity and mortality caused by preterm delivery, pre-eclampsia and other severe pregnancy associated disorders. The development of a haemochorial placenta involves the invasion of extravillous trophoblast cells into the uterine wall and the remodelling of the uteroplacental vessels. (Zygmunt 1998)

During pregnancy, immune homeostasis is crucial for pregnancy maintenance. Local and systemic immune adaptations facilitate the implantation and later the accommodation of the growing fetus. These adaptations include the promotion of uterine vascular remodeling and the induction of immune tolerance. Both maternal lymphocytes and fetal derived cells including trophoblast establish a complex interaction to balance the inflammatory environment providing protection against pathogens and the necessary cytokine milieu that allows local structural modifications during placentation. (Heusler 2021)

The unfulfilled wish for a child affects many couples. A common reason for this is a proximal tubal occlusion. In close cooperation with the Institute for Implant Technology and Biomaterials e.V. and the University of Rostock, we are working on the development of a fallopian tube stent to enable a natural pregnancy.


Yours sincerely,

Damián Muzzio and Marek Zygmunt

Congress of the Society of Reproductive Investigation (SRI) in Brisbane 2023

At the end of March our team attended the congress of the Society of Reproductive Investigation (SRI) in Brisbane, Australia. As every year, this meeting was a wonderful opportunity to discuss our science and to get in contact with the best investigators in the field.


  • 27.9.23 - Selina Steinberg and Laura Bergmann are our last two interns from the Bachelor's programme Human Biology this year. They too will now join us for two weeks.
  • 18.9.23 - Today our new doctoral student Jessica Jank started in our lab. She is supported by the Domagk-Scholarship programme and is investigating the effect of trophoblast PD-L1 induction on leucocyte function.
  • 11.9.23 - Emma Dreher and Chantal Lindemann started the second round of Human Biology internships this week.
  • 9.9.23 - Today we congratulate Chiara Hall on defending her Master's thesis. After nine months of work under the supervision of Dr. Normann she could finish her thesis "Transfection of trophoblasts with SARS-CoV-2 accessory proteins - functional and immunological effects".
  • 28.8.23 - This year we are again welcoming interns from the bachelor's programme Human Biology to our laboratory. Luise May and Marlene Holtkotte will accompany us for two weeks.
  • 2.6.23 - Today, Dr. Katrin Packhäuser was awarded a doctoral prize by the Universitätsfördergesellschaft as part of the festive conferral of academic degrees. She was one of four award winners out of 144 doctorates. We are very happy and congratulate her!
  • 8.5.23 - Today we congratulate Dr. Martha Eckhardt on the defence of her dissertation! She was a Domagk fellow in our lab for her MD from 2017 to 2018. She presented her work at the 2018 SRI conference in San Diego and published it as first author in the journal Frontiers in Immunology in 2021 (Low Abundance Fusobacterium Nucleatum Supports Early Pregnancy Development - An In Vitro Study).
  • 18.4.23 - This week, our two new Master students Karoline den Oudsten and Leonie Schröder started their work in our lab. They are human biologists who will work on macrophages and the bacteria-induced effects on their cytokine release.
  • 27.2.23 - Today we congratulate Dr. Friederike Fiß! She was in our laboratory from 2011 to 2012 for the practical part of her doctoral thesis and, after several years of working in the field of oncology, received her doctorate with magna cum laude.
  • 1.2.23 - After finishing her lab work with us last December and achieving her Master of Science, we now welcome back Hannah Wein as a PhD student in our lab. Over the next few years, she will be working intensively on the role of the microbiome in pregnancy.
  • 14.11.22 - Chiara Hall is a biochemist who is now joining our team for her master thesis. She is investigating the influence of SARS-CoV-2 proteins on human trophoblasts.
  • 7.11.22 - Lea Rihm is our new doctoral student. Supported by the Domagk-Scholarship programme, she will study the role of progesterone receptors in the microbial homeostasis in the fallopian tube.
  • 28.10.22 - Today we congratulate Dr. Rebekka Einenkel, who received her PhD after successfully defending her thesis. After completing an internship in our lab, she was our PhD student and worked here from 2017 to 2020. It was a great time together!
  • 10.10.22 - In the last six weeks, three groups of interns from the bachelor’s program Human Biology worked in our lab to get some practical insights into lab work.
  • 5.10.22 - We are happy to announce that our former student Dr. Imke Bommer has successfully defended her MD thesis with magna cum lade. Congratulations!
  • 3.10.22 - Last week we participated in the network meeting reproduction in Oldenburg. It was a great opportunity to finally meet again and exchange the latest findings with colleagues from our field of research. Many thanks to Professor Plösch for the successful organization.
  • 23.9.22 - Today we would like to proudly congratulate Dr. Katrin Packhäuser on the successful defense of her MD thesis summa cum laude. We have enjoyed her time with us very much!
  • 29.7.22 - Today our new paper “Oxygen regulates ILC3 antigen presentation potential and pregnancy-related hormone actions” was published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology! The first author is Rebekka Einenkel, who worked in this project during her PhD thesis.
  • 11.7.22 - Last week we met with our colleagues and collaborators of the Department of Biology and Pathology of Human Reproduction (Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Olsztyn) in Bialystok, Poland. We exchanged our latest research results, covering multiple female pathologies and physiological reproductive processes. We thank Prof. Andronowska, Dr. Sztachelska, NAWA (Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange) and TBR (Society for Reproductive Biology) for making this possible.
  • 27.6.22 - Charlotte Mittag is a human biologist who starts her bachelor’s thesis about the role of early pregnancy factors on the expression of PD-L1 on trophoblasts. She completed an internship in our lab in 2020.
  • 2.5.22 - For the next months Hannah Wein from Bavaria joins our team and to work on her master thesis about the regulation of PD-L1 expression on trophoblasts by the microbiome.
  • 8.4.22 - The Science Day of Medicine took place in Greifswald. We used this opportunity to present the work in our laboratory to interested medical students. Furthermore, current and future doctorate students were able to exchange their experiences.
  • 18.3.22 - This week our laboratory was represented at the Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI) Congress in Denver. We were there with three posters and a talk and even won a President’s Presenter’s Award. It was great to exchange ideas about reproductive biology with so many experts!
  • 28.2.22 - Half a year ago our publication "Low Abundance Fusobacterium nucleatum Supports Early Pregnancy Development - An In Vitro Study" was published in Frontiers in Immunology. Check it out if you are interested in the impact of bacterial colonization of the reproductive tract on pregnancy development!
  • 7.1.22 - Today, our former doctorate students Carolin Fröhlich and Anne Tischler successfully defended their MD theses. Congratulations!
  • 4.1.22 - Today we startet with a recently awarded research 3-year project obtained by Dr. Damián Muzzio though the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (German Research Foundation).