Head of research group
Viral zoonosis and adaptation
Heinrich Pette Institute
Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology
Martinistraße 52
20251 Hamburg
Phone: +49 (0) 40 48051 315

Research Interests:

Molecular determinants of influenza virus interspecies transmission and pathogenesis
Our major research interest is to understand how avian influenza viruses cross species barriers and transmit to humans where they can lead to high fatality rates. Since pathogenesis is a multigenic trait, we focus on the identification and characterization of viral and host factors which mediate enhanced virulence in the mammalian host. In the past, we have identified human-type signatures in the viral polymerase and cellular nuclear import factors as crucial determinants of avian-mammalian transmission and pathogenesis in mammals. A particular emphasis here lies on the relevance of viral and host factors to cause disease in the respiratory tract, as the main target organ of influenza virus infection and replication. We are also interested in the identification of viral determinants facilitating further transmission among mammals by using special animal models.