The Medical University of Vienna (MUW) with its 650 years’ history is one of the oldest and most important top-level medical research institutions in Europe. It employs 1,800 researchers and 1,600 medical doctors, who are the medical staff of the General Hospital of Vienna, Europe's largest hospital. MUW takes a leading position in research and teaching and is located in the THE-ranking 2014/15 in the category "Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health" on the 49th place worldwide, 14th in Europe and 3rd in the German speaking area.
One of the MUW’s biggest research institutions is the Centre for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology (CePII) that achieves with more than 300 staff members (200 of whom are paid by third-party money) nearly 10% of the research output of the MUW. Hannes Stockinger, one of the main scientists of this project, heads the Centre and one of the subunits of the Centre, the Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology (HAI). HAI is the core partner of MUW in this project, that performs state-of–the-art research in immune cell biology, especially of T-cells and myeloid cells, focusing on modulation of immune responses, infectious biology, in particular, bacterial infections. In respect to the latter activity the Institute is the national reference laboratory for borreliosis and chlamydial infections.
Participants for Medical University of Vienna
Hannes Stockinger has been identifying and characterizing structure and function of a number of surface receptors on T cells and myeloid cells by monoclonal antibodies, the latter have been distributed to the community and used by health care centers, doctors and researchers for the diagnosis and therapy of immunological diseases and leukemias already for decades. Therefore, he is also member of the Cluster of Differentiation (CD) Nomenclature Council. His contribution to the understanding of how GPI-anchored receptor proteins transduce signals across the plasma membrane were fundamental for the identification and characterization of lipid rafts, membrane devices that are now recognized to control signaling across the plasma membrane. Currently, he is focusing on the development of: 1) 2G nanodevices to specifically transport drugs and factors to pathologic cells in immunological diseases, 2) novel assays for the diagnosis of bacterial infections and 3) advanced imaging to analyze the dynamic of receptors and signaling molecules in the immunological synapse of living T cells and antigen presenting cells with the aim to obtain novel insight into the initiation and control of the adaptive immune response and to identify nanostructure-markers for precision medicine. During his scientific carrier he published more than 170 scientific papers including a variety of original papers in the very top journals such as Cell, Science, Nature Methods, Science Signaling and The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Prof. Dr. Gerold Stanek (50% supervisor) – qualified in hygiene, microbiology and preventive medicine – is deputy head of the Institute of HAI and head of the unit Immunology of Infection and Microbiology at HAI. He is a member of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases/ESCMID and current chair of the ESCMID Study Group for Lyme Borreliosis/ESGBOR, as well as board member of the Austrian Society for Hygiene, Microbiology and Preventive Medicine/ÖGHMP. His interest is primarily in laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases including tick-borne diseases with the main focus Lyme borreliosis. A long term project has been risk assessment of Lyme borreliosis which has started as a European Union Concerted Action in Lyme borreliosis/EUCALB and is continued with ESGBOR (LINK: https://www.escmid.org/index.php?id=850 ) where the EUCALB website serves as an information resource of the ESCMID study group ESGBOR. Another aim has been to establish case definitions for Lyme borreliosis in Europe. Such definitions were first published in 1996 and in an amended version in 2011. Stanek was also partner of the EU project BOVAC (development of a prophylactic vaccine and diagnostic markers to prevent and diagnose Lyme Borreliosis specific to Europe and North America).