Disease Mechanisms, Immunology, Pathogens
Exploiting the wide range of expertise and model systems at the Vienna BioCenter, researchers ask how certain mutations lead to disease, how organisms defend themselves against pathogens and malignant cells, and how we can use this knowledge to develop better therapeutics and improve agriculture.
Rapid advances in deep-sequencing and functional genetic tools have fundamentally changed the way we can study physiological processes as well as disease models and mechanisms in complex organisms.
One of the greatest challenges for the next decade will be to translate these complex datasets into a better mechanistic understanding of disease.
Scientists at the Vienna BioCenter study how errors in signaling pathways, protein quality control, ubiquitination, autophagy, and other biological processes lead to ageing and diverse diseases including neurodegenerative disease, metabolic disease, autoimmune disease, myopathies, and cancer.
The genetic complexity, heterogeneity, and plasticity of human cancers pose daunting challenges for the development of effective therapies. At the Vienna BioCenter, functional genetic screens (using e.g., CRISPR/Cas9-, advanced RNAi-, and degron-based technologies) are used to probe the vulnerabilities of cancer cells and identify targeted therapies. However, targeted therapies are often rendered useless by the emergence of drug-resistant clones; therefore, the mechanisms associated with tumor relapse are also under investigation. Novel insights here may lead to more effective combinatorial or sequential targeted therapies that circumvent resistance.
Immune systems protect their host from harmful intruders such as pathogenic microorganisms. Immunology research at the Vienna BioCenter investigates how the many different types of specialized immune cells develop from their progenitors and how they are able to generate the vast repertoire of antibodies that keep our bodies free from infection. The more primitive innate immune response is also being studied. Pathogen research includes the mechanisms of viral infection (in particular of the virus responsible for the common cold), human fungal pathogens, and plant pathogenesis.
Researchers in these fields are supported by several dedicated Core Facilities. The Preclinical Phenotyping Facility uses comprehensive behavioral tests and physiological assays to characterize phenotypes of genetically modified animal models relevant to human diseases. The Preclinical Imaging Facility provides comprehensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), focusing on in vivo mouse imaging, while the HistoPathology Facility offers tissue processing, sectioning, and staining to enable the complete analysis of diseased tissues.
|Baccarini||Max Perutz Labs||Deciphering the MAPK pathway in vivo|
|Belkhadir||GMI||Plant cell signalling at the interface of growth and defences|
|Blaas||Max Perutz Labs||Early interactions of viruses with host cells|
|Busslinger||IMP||Stem cell commitment in haematopoiesis|
|Clausen||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of protein quality control|
|Dagdas||GMI||The role of autophagy in plant development and stress tolerance|
|Decker||Max Perutz Labs||Host responses and innate immunity to bacteria|
|Elling||IMBA||Functional genomics in embryonic stem cells|
|Foisner||Max Perutz Labs||Lamins in nuclear organization and human disease|
|Fuchs||Max Perutz Labs||Stress response in simple epithelia|
|Haubensak||IMP||Circuit mechanics of emotional behaviour|
|Knoblich||IMBA||Brain development and disease|
|Kovarik||Max Perutz Labs||Signaling and gene expression in inflammation|
|Kowalski||Max Perutz Labs||Molecular and structural biology of picornaviruses|
|Kuchler||Max Perutz Labs||Host-Pathogen Interactions & Mechanisms of Drug Resistance & Fungal Pathogenesis|
|Leonard||Max Perutz Labs||Structural Biology of Lipid-Activated Signal Transduction|
|Martens||Max Perutz Labs||Molecular Mechanisms of Autophagy|
|Martinez||Max Perutz Labs||Biochemistry, physiology and disease of the tRNA splicing pathway in mammalian cells|
|Obenauf||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of metastasis and drug resistance|
|Ogris||Max Perutz Labs||PP2A enzyme biogenesis and monoclonal antibodies|
|Pavri||IMP||Molecular mechanisms of antibody diversification|
|Penninger||IMBA||Modeling human disease|
|Skern||Max Perutz Labs||Interactions between viruses and cells|
|Swarts||Max Perutz Labs||Tree-ring genomics|
|Van der Veeken||IMP||T cell differentiation and function|
|Versteeg||Max Perutz Labs||Ubiquitin-mediated regulation of immune signaling|
|Zuber||IMP||Finding and probing cancer drug targets using advanced RNAi technologies|