Open Research Projects, Research

Therapeutic goals in IBD or ‘How healthy is an IBD patient in deep remission?

Principle Investigator

Prof. Dr. Britta Siegmund
Dr. Lea-Maxie Haag

Scientific interest within the context of the graduate college:

Based in the Department of Gastroenterology, Infectious Diseases and Rheumatology, our main clinical and research focus is the field of Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Within the treatment of IBD, therapeutic goals have evolved from a control of symptoms to mucosal healing, with deep remission (clinical remission, biomarker remission and mucosal healing) being the ultimate treatment goal.1 Developing a molecular understanding of deep remission is one of our main interests. By investigating states of deep remission – achieved through different treatment approaches – we aim to establish a holistic understanding of disease control in IBD to find answers to the driving question: ‘How healthy is an IBD patient in deep remission?’

Project description:

Introduction: What are necessary and underlying mechanisms leading to deep remission in IBD? Why do some patients achieve this treatment while others don’t? Within this project, we aim to better understand the mechanisms responsible for achieving a sustained deep remission and want to understand how IBD patients in deep remission differ from healthy individuals, especially in terms of their mucosal microenvironment. Therefore, the mandatory prerequisite is to deeply characterize the status of deep remission. The proposed project will be associated to the clinical study ‘InFlame’ (DRKS00031203), which is already running since early 2023. We have developed a ‘mucosa phenotyping pipeline’ with high-throughput methods to analyze e.g. interstitial fluid and mucosal microbiota from biopsies, 3D histology and imaging mass cytometry as well as components of the peripheral immune system via blood samples to comprehensively phenotype IBD patients and healthy individuals. All methods are established and running in the lab. The existing study team and the ongoing recruitment process guarantee intensive support and the provision of all necessary infrastructure.

Work package 1: Identify IBD patients already recruited who are in deep remission and collect clinical information (disease course, treatments, surgical procedures etc.).

Work package 2: Analyse mucosal microbiota (from individuals identified in WP1) at different localisations of the gastrointestinal tract to build a “mucosal microbiota atlas” and finally compare it with healthy individuals.


  1. Zallot C and Peyrin-Biroulet L. Deep remission in inflammatory bowel disease: looking beyond symptoms. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2013; 15(3):315.