Most of all, I would like to thank Prof. Wolfgang Uckert for providing me with this interesting project, being my supervisor and guiding me through the ups and downs of a Ph.D. life. He gave me the opportunity to present my data on many occasions, the freedom it took to develop my own ideas and the perception how to be a responsible group leader. Prof. Thomas Blankenstein always had an open door to discuss the latest results, paper drafts and future projects. The first idea of this safeguard has been brought up by Dr. Jehad Charo who also supported me with many helpful comments.

The whole Uckert lab: thanks for all scientific theoretical and practical support, but much more for the fun we had in and outside of the lab. Our Ph.D. students Mario Bunse, Matthias Leisegang, Simone Reuss and Daniel Sommermeyer – keep remembering our motto! See you in Ph.D. paradise! Lilian Stärck – thanks for many winter lifts. Kordelia Hummel (Germany’s next Top-TA), Martina Grabbert (who helped me through all the animal experiments), Irmgard Küttner (now an antibody production expert), Uta Fischer and Janina Hauchwitz all put their technical skills into this project. Thanks also to Nicole Scheumann for teaching me supervising and being my best diploma student ever.

Furthermore, thanks to Shabnam Shalapour for showing me how to make excellent immunohistology. Also, many people from the Blankenstein group gave me helpful suggestions and a good time.

I am grateful for the constant support of my parents who I know I can always rely on and who made this work possible by many means.

Finally, Flo – thanks for being so close while being so far.

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