Prof. Dr. Percy A. Knolle


Molecular Immunology

Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. Knolle (*1962) has his research focus on understanding the regulation of immune responses in the liver. He has discovered mechanistic principles of tissue immunity and how these mechanisms influence immune surveillance or cause immune-mediated tissue damage. As a specialist in internal medicine, his aim is to translate basic research in immunology and tissue immunity into clinical application in the context of infection, cancer and autoimmunity. He is a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Center of Infection Prevention at TUM.

Prof. Knolle studied Medicine at the Universities of Frankfurt, Birmingham (UK), Geneva and Strasbourg, performed his MD at the German Cancer Research Center, and trained as a specialist in Internal Medicine with a focus on Hepatology at the 1st Medical Department at the University Hospital in Mainz. He was a research group leader at the Center for Molecular Biology Heidelberg and was appointed full professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Bonn in 2002, where he founded the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Experimental Immunology. In 2013, he was appointed full professor of Molecular Immunology at the School of Medicine and the School of Life Sciences at the Technical University of Munich. He is the founding director of the Institute of Molecular Immunology at the School of Medicine and Health at TUM.


  • Research Award of the Volkswagen Foundation (2001)

Wratil PR, Stern M, Priller A, Willmann A, Almanzar G, Vogel E, Feuerherd M, Cheng C-C, Yazici S, Christa C, Jeske S, Lupoli G, Vogt T, Albanese M, Mejías-Pérez E, Bauernfried S, Graf N, Mijocevic H, Vu M, Tinnefeld K, Wettengel J, Hoffmann D, Muenchhoff M, Daechert C, Mairhofer H, Krebs S, Fingerle V, Graf A, Steininger P, Blum H, Hornung V, Liebl B, Überla K, Prelog M, Knolle PA*, Keppler OT*, Protzer U*. Three exposures to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 by either infection or vaccination elicit superior neutralizing immunity to all variants of concern. Nature Medicine 2022, 28: 496-503.


Dudek M, Pfister D, Donakonda S, Filpe P, Schneider A, Laschinger M, Hartmann D, Huser N, Meiser P, Bayerl F, Inverso D, Wigger J, Sebode M, Ollinger R, Rad R, Hegenbarth S, Anton M, Guillot A, Bowman A, Heide D, Muller F, Ramadori P, Leone V, Garcia-Caceres C, Gruber T, Seifert G, Kabat AM, Malm JP, Reider S, Effenberger M, Roth S, Billeter AT, Muller-Stich B, Pearce EJ, Koch-Nolte F, Kaser R, Tilg H, Thimme R, Bottler T, Tacke F, Dufour JF, Haller D, Murray PJ, Heeren R, Zehn D, Bottcher JP, Heikenwalder M, Knolle PA. Auto-aggressive CXCR6(+) CD8 T cells cause liver immune pathology in NASH. Nature 2021, 592: 444-449.


Baumann T, Dunkel A, Schmid C, Schmitt S, Hiltensperger M, Lohr K, Laketa V, Donakonda S, Ahting U, Lorenz-Depiereux B, Heil JE, Schredelseker J, Simeoni L, Fecher C, Korber N, Bauer T, Huser N, Hartmann D, Laschinger M, Eyerich K, Eyerich S, Anton M, Streeter M, Wang T, Schraven B, Spiegel D, Assaad F, Misgeld T, Zischka H, Murray PJ, Heine A, Heikenwalder M, Korn T, Dawid C, Hofmann T, Knolle PA*, Hochst B*. Regulatory myeloid cells paralyze T cells through cell-cell transfer of the metabolite methylglyoxal. Nature Immunology 2020, 21: 555-566.


Huang LR, Wohlleber D, Reisinger F, Jenne CN, Cheng RL, Abdullah Z, Schildberg FA, Odenthal M, Dienes HP, van Rooijen N, Schmitt E, Garbi N, Croft M, Kurts C, Kubes P, Protzer U, Heikenwalder M, Knolle PA. Intrahepatic myeloid-cell aggregates enable local proliferation of CD8(+) T cells and successful immunotherapy against chronic viral liver infection. Nature Immunology 2013, 14: 574-583.


Limmer A, Ohl J, Kurts C, Ljunggren HG, Reiss Y, Groettrup M, Momburg F, Arnold B, Knolle PA. Efficient presentation of exogenous antigen by liver endothelial cells to CD8+ T cells results in antigen-specific T-cell tolerance. Nature Medicine 2000, 6: 1348-1354.