Ballmer-Weber Barbara

Group Leader

Prof. Dr. med. B. Ballmer-Weber

Name of the Institution

Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology
University Hospital Zürich


Gloriastr. 31


8091 Zürich


+41-44-255 39 76


Group Members

Semra Uyulmaz, MD,
Claudia Lang, MD,
Nora Gräni, MD,
Peter Bures, MD,

Cuhat Irène, technician,

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract

Our research activities are focused on food allergy, in particular pollen related food allergy. We are particularly involved into the identification and molecular characterisation of important cross-reactive allergens, and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic methods based on recombinant allergens. Allergen based or component resolved diagnosis in food allergy is a major topic of our research group. Another important aspect of our research activity is risk assessment in food allergy in regard to genetic modified foods/novel foods but also threshold doses (minimal allergen doses to induce an allergic reaction) of plant and animal food allergens. We are and have been involved in five EU sponsored projects on food allergy.

Main Fields of Research, Keywords

Pollen related food allergy, recombinant allergens, cross-reactivity, threshold dosis, immunotherapy, epidemiology of food allergy, diagnosis of food allergy.

Special Techniques and Equipment

Methods established in our group include molecular biology, different detection methods and quantification of specific IgE such as CAP and EAST, furthermore IgE immunoblotting and cell release assays as histamine release, cellular antigen stimulatory test (CAST). Our main focus is in clinical research, where we have established methods to perform double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges (DBPCFC), determination of threshold levels for food, and matrix comparisons.

Education and Training

We offer training access for clinical research in food allergy, in particular handling of DBPCFCs.

Selected Publications

Ballmer-Weber BK, Fernandez-Rivas M, Beyer K, Defernez M, Sperrin M, Mackie AR, Salt LJ, Hourihane JOB, Asero R,  Belohlavkova S, Kowalski M, de Blay F, Papadopoulos NG, Clausen M, Knulst AC,  Roberts G, Popov T,  Sprikkelman AB, Dubakiene R, Vieths S, van Ree R, Crevel R, Mills C. How much is too much? Threshold dose distributions for five food allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015; 135: 964-71.

Ballmer-Weber BK, Lidholm J, Fernández-Rivas M, Seneviratne S, Hanschmann KM, Vogel L, Bures P, Fritsche P, Summers C, Knulst AC, Le TM, Reig I, Papadopoulos NG, Sinaniotis A, Belohlavkova S, Popov T, Kralimarkova T, de Blay F, Purohit A, Clausen M, Kowalski ML, Asero R, Dubakiene R, Barreales L, Clare Mills EN, van Ree R, Vieths S. IgE recognition patterns in peanut allergy are age dependent: perspectives of the EuroPrevall study. Allergy 2015, 80: 391-407.

Fernandez-Rivas M, Barreales L, Mackie AR, Fritsche P, Vázquez-Cortés S, Jedrzejczak-Czechowicz M, Kowalski ML, Clausen M, Gislason D, Sinaniotis A, Kompoti E, Le TM, Knulst AC, Purohit A, de Blay F, Kralimarkova T, Popov T, Asero R, Belohlavkova S, Seneviratne SL, Dubakiene R, Lidholm J, Hoffmann-Sommergruber K, Burney P, Crevel R, Brill M, Fernández-Pérez C, Vieths S, Clare Mills EN, van Ree R, Ballmer-Weber BK. The EuroPrevall outpatient clinic study on food allergy: background and methodology. Allergy 2015; 70:576-84.

Ballmer-Weber BK, Skamstrup Hansen K, Sastre J, Andersson K, Bätscher I, Ostling J, Dahl L, Hanschmann KM, Holzhauser T, Poulsen LK, Lidholm J, Vieths S. Component-resolved in vitro diagnosis of carrot allergy in three different regions of Europe. Allergy 2012; 67(6): 758-66.

Mackie A, Knulst A, Le TM, Bures P, Salt L, Mills ENC, Malcolm P, Andreou A, Ballmer-Weber BK.High fat food increases gastric residence and thus thresholds for objective symptoms in allergic patients. Mol Nutr Food Res 2012, 56:1708-14

Bublin M, Pfister M, Radauer C, Oberhuber C, Bulley S, Dewitt AM, Lidholm J, Reese G, Vieths S, Breiteneder H, Hoffmann-Sommergruber K, Ballmer-Weber BK. Component-resolved diagnosis of kiwifruit allergy with purified natural and recombinant kiwifruit allergens.J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;125:687-94.

Ballmer-Weber BK, Holzhauser T, Scibilia J, Mittag D, Zisa G, Ortolani C, Poulsen LK, Vieths S, Bindslev-Jensen C. Soybean allergy in Europe. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007; 119: 1489-1496.

Gubesch M, Theler B, Dutta M, Baumer B, Mathis A, Holzhauser T, Vieths S, Ballmer-Weber BK. Allergenic potential of novel food: clinical and molecular investigation of exotic vegtables (water spinach, hyacinth bean and Ethiopian eggplant). Allergy 2007, 62: 1243-50


EU; Müller-Gierok Allergy foundation; Industry funding


Link to "Forschungsdatenbank" of the University