8.30 – 9.00 Friedrich feuerhake - Digital Pathology enables integration of spatial immune cell patterns into systems medicine

Computational pathology approaches to detection, quantification, and spatially resolved evaluation of immune cells have significantly broadened the scope and the predictive potential of biopsy-based scoring of immunological responses. Beyond the immediate advantage of increasing robustness and scalability, there are new opportunities for standardization and for discovery of biologically relevant immune cell patterns. A particular medical need for such innovative approaches is the comprehensive spatial profiling of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in cancer. The lecture will address the current state of computer-assisted evaluation of inflammatory changes in the context of different pathological conditions. It will provide examples of interpreting the “snapshot” of a biopsy in the context of mathematical models that reflect dynamics of underlying disease mechanisms. Computational pathology is an enabling technology that paves the way for large-scale analysis of immune cell densities, their spatial patterns, and comprehensive distance metrics. This can be integrated into systems immunology approaches in cancer and transplantation medicine.

CV Friedrich Feuerhake, M.D., is head of the Digital Pathology group, associate professor, and attending neuropathologist at the Department of Pathology Hannover Medical School, Germany. His medical training included Internal Medicine, Microscopic Anatomy, Surgical Pathology and Neuropathology in Hanover, Munich, and Freiburg, Germany. His scientific interest in immune responses to cancer started during his postdoctoral fellowship at the Lymphoma Group of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, where he was involved in the identification of a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma subtype characterized by a “Host Response” signature. His research focus is on translational biomarker research. In a former position (2008-2012) as head of the Experimental Pathology team at Roche Pharma Research and Development, Munich, Germany, he was involved in discovery and development of tissue-based companion biomarkers prototypes and explored innovative approaches facilitating immune cell evaluation in immuno-oncology in industry-driven projects. Since he returned to academic research in 2012, he has been working in different disease-overarching projects to integrate computational pathology into systems medicine approaches to transplantation, immunology, and cancer research and coordinates a national and European systems medicine consortium.