Department of Immunology
University of Tübingen
Auf der Morgenstelle 15
72076 Tübingen
Phone: +49 (0) 7071 29 80995, Fax: +49 (0) 7071 29 5653

Research Interests:
My research interest is the treatment of influenza with compounds inhibiting cellular targets that are a prerequisite for viral replication. These compounds can either used as single drugs or in combination with existing antiviral drugs like oseltamivir. In the areas of disease treatment and prevention, the use of existing drugs in combination has become an important complement to the continued development of new therapeutic agents. Hyperactivation of the Ras-dependent Raf/MEK/ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is frequently observed in human malignancies. Components of the MAPK pathway are viewed as attractive candidates for the development of targeted therapies of cancer. Substances inhibiting MEK are in a current state of clinical evaluation in cancer.

In our previous work, we were able to demonstrate that influenza virus replication is dependent on Raf/MEK/ERK signaling pathway activity and that inhibition of this pathway leads to reduction in viral titer. In the resent work, financed in part by the FluResearchNet, we found that MEK-Inhibitors that were already used in clinical trails showed IC50 levels against influenza virus in the nM range and that combination increased the antiviral capacity of oseltamivir in cell culture. No tendency of resistance was found for MEK-inhibitor treatment. Moreover, combination therapy was also successful in a mouse animal model.

Based on these results a patent application was written. Moreover, this highly innovative therapy approach was recently (July 2013) honored with the main prize at the "Science2Start" (BioRegio STERN) competition for scientific ideas with commercial potential (