In Germany, one in 12 infants is born prematurely, 10% of these infants are born before the 32nd week of gestation. Prematurity is the second-most common cause of child mortality during the first five years and one of the main reasons for lifelong disabilities. Both the occurrence of prematurity itself and the emergence of complications in premature infants are in many cases closely related to an inadequate response from the immune system. Dr. Natascha Köstlin-Gille and her research group are investigating the distinctive characteristics of the immune system and its interaction with the microbiome during pregnancy and the neonatal period. To this end she combines basic immunological analyses with modern high-throughput methods, systems biology approaches and clinical research. The aim of the “Perinatal Immunology” professorship is to develop preventive and therapeutic approaches toward immunological/inflammatory complications during the perinatal period, and thus prevent early-phase impairments, control priming processes on an individualized basis, and improve long-term health.