Prof. Dr. Torsten Witte participates in RESIST research projects A2 and B2.

My Research Interest in RESIST

My research focus in RESIST is the identification of the role of the gut microbiota in the induction of reactive arthritis, a chronic rheumatological disorder from the group of spondyloarthritis. The longterm aim is the identification of new targets for treatments, that may be more efficacious and more tolerable than the current drugs directed at the blockade of various cytokines. 

In my previous work, I have identified autoantibodies in this disorder that activate the immune system to produce pathogenic cytokines, but also crossreact with microbial antigens. In the collaboration in RESIST with Till Strowig and Alice McHardy, we will identify further microbiota that induce pathogenic autoantibody responses in reactive arthritis and possibly other subtypes of SpA and RA. These discoveries may lead to therapeutic strategies pointing at the normalization of the gut microbiota rather than on immunosuppression. 

Prof. Witte about his scientific work

Prof. Dr. Torsten Witte – Curriculum Vitae

Current Position

  • Since 2008 Full (W3) Professor of Rheumatology, Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, MHH 

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Training

  • 1984 – 1990 Medical School in Göttingen and Hannover

  • 1987 Medical Doctorate (Dr. med.; Supervisor Prof. Dr. med. R.E. Schmidt) 

  • 2000 Certificate of Training in Internal Medicine

  • 2003 Habilitation (Supervisor Prof. Dr. med. R.E. Schmidt)

  • 2007 Certificate of Training in Rheumatology 

Academic and Research Posts

  • 1990 – 1994 Assistant Physician, Dept. of Immunology, MHH

  • 1994 – 1997 Research Associate in Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Division of Immunology, Harvard Medical School, Boston (with E.L. Reinherz, MD) 

  • 1997 – 2000 Assistant Physician, Dept. of Immunology, MHH

  • 2000 Appointment as „Oberarzt“

  • Since 2008 Full (W3) Professor of Rheumatology, Dept of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, MHH 

Other Scientific Roles

  • 2003 – 2009 Speaker of the AG Klinische Immunologie, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Immunologie 

  • 2003 – 2009 Speaker of the AG Immune Vasculitides, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie 

  • Since 2012 Member of the Commission „Laboratory Diagnostics“, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie 

  • Since 2015 Member of the Commission „Student Education“, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie 

Awards and Prizes

  • 2004 “Sicca Award” for the discovery of antibodies against alpha-fodrin as diagnostic markers of Sjögren`s syndrome 

  • 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award of the students of the MHH for outstanding teaching in the 5th year 

  • 2016 Julius-Springer-Award for the best rheumatological educational article in 2014 and 2015 

Recommended Links

For further information about Prof. Witte’s scientific work please check the following links:

10 Selected Publications (of > 239 original publications)

Ahrenstorf G, Low HZ, Kniesch K, Ordonez D, Meyer-Olson D, Ahmad F, Kücherer C, Gunsenheimer- Bartmeyer B, Stoll M, Matthias T, Schmidt RE, Witte T. LILRA3 deletion is a genetic risk factor of HIV infection. AIDS. 2017; 31:25-34. 

Baerlecken NT, Nothdorft S, Stummvoll GH, Sieper J, Rudwaleit M, Reuter S, Matthias T, Schmidt RE, Witte T. Autoantibodies against CD74 in spondyloarthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014; 73:1211-4. 

Baerlecken NT, Linnemann A, Gross WL, Moosig F, Vazquez-Rodriguez TR, Gonzalez-Gay MA, Martin J, Kötter I, Henes JC, Melchers I, Vaith P, Schmidt RE, Witte T. Association of ferritin autoantibodies with giant cell arteritis/polymyalgia rheumatica. Ann Rheum Dis. 2012; 71:943-7. 

Kabalak G, Dobberstein SB, Matthias T, Reuter S, The YH, Dörner T, Schmidt RE, Witte T. Association of immunoglobulin-like transcript 6 deficiency with Sjögren’s syndrome. Arthritis Rheum. 2009; 60:2923-5. 

Kümpers P, David S, Haubitz M, Hellpap J, Horn R, Bröcker V, Schiffer M, Haller H, Witte T. The Tie2 receptor antagonist angiopoietin 2 facilitates vascular inflammation in systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis. 2009; 68:1638-43. 

Werwitzke S, Trick D, Sondermann P, Kamino K, Schlegelberger B, Kniesch K, Tiede A, Jacob U, Schmidt RE, Witte T. Treatment of lupus-prone NZB/NZW F1 mice with recombinant soluble Fc gamma receptor II (CD32). Ann Rheum Dis. 2008; 67:154-61. 

Momot T, Ahmadi-Simab K, Gause A, Gross WL, Gromnica-Ihle E, Peter HH, Manger K, Zeidler H, Schmidt RE, Witte T. Lack of association of mannose binding lectin variant alleles with systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis. 2006; 65:278-9. 

Werwitzke S, Trick D, Kamino K, Matthias T, Kniesch K, Schlegelberger B, Schmidt RE, Witte T. Inhibition of lupus disease by anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies of the IgM isotype in the (NZB x NZW)F1 mouse. Arthritis Rheum. 2005; 52:3629-38. 

Momot T, Koch S, Hunzelmann N, Krieg T, Ulbricht K, Schmidt RE, Witte T. Association of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors with scleroderma. Arthritis Rheum. 2004; 50:1561-5. 

de Seze J, Dubucquoi S, Fauchais AL, Matthias T, Devos D, Castelnovo G, Stojkovic T, Ferriby D, Hachulla E, Labauge P, Lefranc D, Hatron PY, Vermersch P, Witte T. Alpha-fodrin autoantibodies in the differential diagnosis of MS and Sjögren syndrome. Neurology. 2003; 61:268-9. 


  Prof. Dr. Torsten Witte
  Autoimmunität, Klinik für Immunologie und Rheumatologie, Hannover Medical School (MHH)
  Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1
30625 Hannover
  +49 511 532 – 3623