September 2017 Sino-German Virtual Institute for Viral Immunology

Based on the strategy for the China cooperation of the Faculty, the Sino-German Virtual Institute for Viral Immunology (SGVIVI) has been founded at the Medical Faculty, University of Duisburg Essen, in September 2017. Founding Members are the Germanand Chinese TRR60 PIs of the TRR60 2nd Funding Period who signed the agreement individually. The coordination of the SGVIVI will be carried out by Prof. Ulf Dittmer, Director of the Institute for Virology. Cooperating scientists who work on infectious diseases and immunity or who perform research on immune responses against viruses may join the network.
The purpose of the cooperation agreement between the Medical Faculty and the institute members is to continue our successful Sino-German cooperation with an innovative structure and within a legal framework in order to perform collaborative research together and initiate new joint scientific projects beyond the upcoming end of the DFG and NSFC joint funding periods of the TRR60.     
A separate SGVIVI hopemage will be set up soon, information will follow here.

20 June 2017 Joint International Laboratory of Infection and Immunity

At the occasion of the University of Duisburg-Essen Day at Huazhong University, Wuhan, a contract between the universities was signed for the establishment of the "Wuhan-Essen Joint Lab of Infection and Immunity". The lab is located at Wuhan Union Hospital and will form a core part for the continuously successful cooperation with our TRR60 partners in China for the next funding period and beyond. 

October 2015 New TRR60 subproject on HIV vaccines

In October 2015 Prof. Dr. Hendrik Streeck has joined the TRR60 with his subproject "Cytolytic CD4 T cell-mediated viral selection pressure: Defining potential strategies for therapeutic and prophylactic HIV vaccines" (TRR60 subproject B09). The project is designed to determine the mechanisms of cytolytic induction and function of CD4 T cells and their contribution to viral evolution and selection pressure in chronic HIV infection.

October/November 2014 Successful stay in China

In October several members of the group of PI Matthias Epple travelled to Shanghai and Wuhan to intensify their collaboration with the groups of PI Huimin Yan (C5N), PI Youhua Xie (A1) and PI Dongliang Yang (B3). 

Report of Dr. Viktoriya Sokolova, postdoc in C01
Report of Bernhard Neuhaus, PhD student in C01

July 2014 New nanoparticle-based vaccine strategy against retroviral infection

Infectious diseases induced by viruses or bacteria represent a huge challenge for the human body and its defending immune system. Prophylactic immunization with distinct vaccine formulations is the most effective way to protect us against serious infection and its consequences. For some of those pathogens, i.e. for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), there is still no effective vaccine available. An interdisciplinary project during the course of the SFB/TRR60 “Mutual interaction of chronic viruses with cells of the immune system: from fundamental research to immunotherapy and vaccination” now revealed great potential for special calcium phosphate nanoparticles as effective vaccine vehicle against murine retroviral infection. Researchers from the departments of Medical Microbiology, Inorganic Chemistry and Virology were able to impressively demonstrate that prophylactic immunization with calcium phosphate nanoparticles, that were functionalized with the Toll-like receptor ligand CpG and viral antigens, leads to significant protection against acute Friend retrovirus infection. The results indicate that protection is predominantly mediated by vaccine induced virus-specific T cells. Moreover, the work shows that functionalized calcium phosphate nanoparticles are even greatly qualified as therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of chronic retroviral infection. One shot immunization of chronically retrovirus infected mice is sufficient to reactivate virus-specific cytotoxic CD4+ and CD8+ effector T cells which leads to significant drop of the viral load.

In conclusion the results of this study clearly demonstrate that nanoparticulate structures can enhance the efficiency of both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination and therefore should be considered in the development of new vaccine formulations.

Knuschke T, Bayer W, Rotan O., Sokolova V, Wadwa M, Kirschning CJ, Hansen W, Dittmer U, Epple M, Buer J, Westendorf AM: Prophylactic and Therapeutic Vaccination with a Nanoparticle-based Peptide Vaccine Induces Efficient Protective Immunity during Acute and Chronic Retroviral Infection. Nanomedicine [Epub ahead of print]


June-September 2014 Young scientists' exchange in the TRR60

Within the frame of the "young scientists' exchange programme" of the TRR60 PhD student Youchen Xia from PI Dongliang Yang's group (B03) stayed in Essen for three months in the group of PI Jörg Timm and PI Daniel Hoffmann (B01). Youchen Xia worked on the differences of selective mutations within HCV HLA-I restricted epitopes between German and Chinese populations.
Report of Youchen Xia, PhD student in B03


February 2014 TRR60 in Virologica Sinica

Virologica Sinica has dedicated its February 2014 issue to TRR60 topics. This is a special issue on "Chronic viral infections and immunomodulation" organized by PI Mengji Lu (Project B5), with the focus on the interactions of the host immune system with HBV, HCV and HIV. Editor-in-chief of Virologica Sinica is PI Xinwen Chen (A9N).

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