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Personal profile


Silvia’s research focuses on the role of mast cells in tissue homeostasis and pathogenesis. Currently, she is most interested in dissecting the role of mast cells in regulating interactions between innate and acquired immunity.


Silvia Bulfone-Paus is an Italian immunologist who studied Medicine at Turin University where she graduated in 1989. She went on to study Genetics at Yale University (PhD: 1994). Silvia’s first academic appointment was at the Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Immunology, in 1994 as a senior scientist. Here, she became Deputy Director in 1996 and Assistant Professor in 1999. In 2000 she was appointed Full Professor at the University of Lübeck and Director of the Department of Immunology and Cell Biology at the Research Centre Borstel. From 2006-2008, she served as Managing Director of the Centre. Professor Bulfone-Paus is a member of the Division of Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Sciences and has joined in 2013 the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR).

Research interests

Mast cells are powerful effector cells that play an important role in allergies, autoimmunity, inflammation and protective antibacterial and antiparasitic immune responses. Widely distributed throughout the body with a particular prevalence at sites in contact with the environment, such as skin, gut and airways, activated mast cells release a high number of preformed and newly synthesized mediators. These include cytokines, chemokines, histamine, serglycin proteoglycans and several mast cell specific proteases. This plethora of molecules enables mast cells to control both homeostasis in tissues as well as the initiation and maintenance of appropriate, selective, and effective immune responses.

Mast cells are critically involved in several skin disorders including both acute and chronic inflammatory processes. Our current research is therefore focused on understanding the mechanisms and requirements for selective secretion of mast cell mediators so as to control mast activation in pathological conditions. Our goals are 1) to investigate selected mechanisms and mediators which de-activate mast cell activation and degranulation; 2) to identify meanings and outcomes of mast cell interactions with other immune cells in disease; 3) to understand the functional significance of mast cell heterogeneity in tissue remodelling and disease chronicity. The characterization of mast cell-driven pathways in inflammation should enable to identify means of influencing acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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