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Portrait Hani Harb

In my tenure I have worked extensively with the lung. Asthma, COPD and lung infections were the main diseases that I have been focusing on. In that regard, I have worked on the role of T-cells in the pathogenesis of lung inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, I specialize in Epigenetic regulation and Regulatory mechanisms of tolerance in the lung. Our biggest finding is Notch4 in Regulatory T-cell (Treg) identified in both Asthma and Viral lung infections, which is now being considered in pre-clinical studies as a new therapy for various lung inflammatory diseases.

Currently our lab in Dresden focuses on tolerance mechanisms in the lung and liver. Furthermore, we investigate rare, newly-discovered human pathogens and their pathological mechanisms in the body both on innate and adaptive immune responses. In details, we try to investigate the role of particulate matter, a massive pollutant, on developing mal adaptive immune reaction later in life or transgenerationally via epigenetic changes. Moreover, we try to understand tolerance mechanisms in the lung affected by extracellular vesicles (EVs) in various diseases, namely Asthma, COPD and viral lung infection. In addition to that, we try to investigate mechanisms by which rare human pathogenic bacteria can influence our immune system leading to disease. For that, we are currently working with different bacterial species namely, Roseomonas mucosa, Wohlfahrtiimonas chitiniclastica and Chryseobacterium indologenes.

Liver-wise, we try to understand the contribution of Treg cells in the pathogenesis of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). For that we employ both mouse models as well as human studies to investigate that and the role of dietary intervention on tolerance breakdown and re-establishment.

Hani Harb Research: Figure

Future Projects and Goals

  • The role of microbiome and virome sensing in the lung in homeostasis and infection
  • The Role of Regulatory T-cells in the pathogensis of Post COVID-19 syndrome
  • Holding the fort: Microbiota components in controlling human pathogens
  • The epigenetics of the particulate matter in the lung: The long-lasting effect of pollution on maladaptive trained immunity
  • Role of Tolerance mechanisms in NAFLD and Diabetes

Methodological and Technical Expertise

  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP)
  • Flowcytometric analysis and FACS cell sorting
  • Extracellular Vesicles characterization, isolation and analysis
  • Mouse models of various diseases and tissues
  • T-cell analysis

Currently Recruiting

Hani Harb is recruiting in the PhD Summer Selection 2024 (call is closed)

Open Project
  • Host-microbial crosstalk along the gut-liver axis in metabolic disease
    Preferred Course of Study/Expertise of Candidate: Microbiome, immunology and liver physiology
    → Detailed information as PDF

    This project will be conducted through collaboration between TUD, the University of Zurich, and ETH Zurich. It is part of the International Research Training Group Metabolic and Endocrine Drivers of Infection Susceptibility (IRTG3019). Within this collaboration, students will have the opportunity to obtain a joint certificate from TUD and the universities in Zurich.


since 2022
Junior Professor (W1), Institute for Medical Microbiology and Virology, TUD Dresden University of Technology

Medical Affairs Manager (Scientific Advisor), AstraZeneca Germany

Junior Research Group Leader, Psychoneuroimmunology (PI: Dr. Eva Peters), Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany

Instructor in Pediatrics/Junior Research Group Leader (PI: Dr. Talal Chatila), Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Research Fellow, Asthma and Immunology (PI: Dr. Talal Chatila), Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Postdoctoral Fellow, Asthma and Epigenetics (PI: Dr. Harald Renz), Philipps University Marburg, Germany

PhD, Immunology and Epigenetics (Dr. Harald Renz) Philipps University Marburg, Germany

Msc./Diploma in Infectious Diseases and Immunology (Humanbiologie), Philipps University Marburg, Germany

Bsc in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Amman University, Amman, Jordan

More Information

Selected Publications

Benamar M, Harb H, Chen Q, Wang M, Chan TMF, Fong J, Phipatanakul W, Cunningham A, Ertem D, Petty CR, Mousavi AJ, Sioutas C, Crestani E, Chatila TA
A common IL-4 receptor variant promotes asthma severity via a Treg cell GRB2-IL-6-Notch4 circuit
Allergy 77(11):3377–3387 doi: 10.1111/all.15444 (2022)

Harb H, Benamar M, Lai PS, Contini P, Griffith JW, Crestani E, Schmitz-Abe K, Chen Q, Fong J, Marri L, Filaci G, Del Zotto G, Pishesha N, Kolifrath S, Broggi A, Ghosh S, Gelmez MY, Oktelik FB, Cetin EA, Kiykim A, Kose M, Wang Z, Cui Y, Yu XG, Li JZ, Berra L, Stephen-Victor E, Charbonnier LM, Zanoni I, Ploegh H, Deniz G, De Palma R, Chatila TA
Regulatory T Cell Notch4 Switch Governs lung inflammation in Viral Infection
Immunity 54(6):1186–1199.e7 doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2021.04.002 (2021)

Harb H, Stephen-Victor E, Crestani E, Benamar M, Massoud A, Cui Y, Charbonnier LM, Arbag S, Baris S, Cunnigham A, Leyva-Castillo JM, Geha RS, Mousavi AJ, Guennewig B, Schmitz-Abe K, Sioutas C, Phipatanakul W, Chatila TA
A regulatory T cell Notch4-GDF15 axis licenses tissue inflammation in asthma
Nat Immunol 21(11):1359–1370. doi: 10.1038/s41590-020-0777-3 (2020)

Azza Abdel-Gadir, Emmanuel Stephen-Victor, Georg K. Gerbe, Magali Noval Rivas, Sen Wang, Hani Harb, Leighanne Wang, Ning Li, Elena Crestani, Sara Spielman, William Secor, Heather Biehl, Nicholas Dibendetto, Xiaoxi Dong, Dale T. Umetsu, Lynn Bry, Rima Rachid and Talal A. Chatila
Microbiota Therapy Acts Via a Regulatory T Cell MyD88/RORγt Pathway to Suppress Food Allergy
Nat Med 25(7):1164–1174. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0461-z (2019)

Xia M, Harb H, Saffari A, Sioutas C, Chatila TA
A Jagged1-Notch4 Molecular Switch Mediates Airway Inflammation by Ultrafine Particles
J Allergy Clin Immunol 142(4):1243–1256.e17 doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.03.009 (2018)