15 June 2017 - PRESS RELEASE

Hector Award HIV goes to HPI scientists

Prof Marcus Altfeld and Dr Angelique Hölzemer from the Heinrich Pette Institute (HPI) have been honoured with the "Hector Award HIV 2017”. Both scientists also work at the DZIF research field HIV.

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Prof Marcus Altfeld (left), Dr Angelique Hölzemer (centre) with Prof Georg M. N. Behrens at the award ceremony in Salzburg© Deutsch-Österreichischer AIDS-Kongress

The award honours the scientists’ joint work in the field of HIV research: they investigate how natural killer cells (NK cells) respond to HIV-1 infected cells. They showed that altered HIV-1 peptides can inhibit NK cells, a mechanism which the HIV virus can potentially avoid immune recognition. In addition, together with colleagues from Harvard Medical School, the two scientists identified the ligand for an activating NK cell receptor which has been unknown for a long time. It is associated with slower disease progression from HIV-1 infection to AIDS.

Prof Marcus Altfeld has been head of the HPI Department “Virus Immunology” since 2013, and is Professor at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). He conducts research at the DZIF research field "HIV". Dr Angelique Hölzemer is a physician in specialty training at the UKE’s I. Medical Clinic and Polyclinic and guest scientist at the “Virus Immunology” Department. She is being supported by an MD/PhD stipend from the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).

“I am very pleased about the acknowledgement our joint work has received and that our research is making stepwise contributions to further understanding protective immune responses during HIV infection,” says Prof Marcus Altfeld about being honoured with the Hector Award. Dr Angelique Hölzemer adds, “Many immunological factors which can positively influence the course of HIV infection are still unknown. We hope that a better understanding of these will contribute to developing new treatment strategies. This award is certainly a motivation.” The “Hector Science Award HIV 2017” from the foundation  “H. W. & J. Hector Stiftung” is worth 20,000 euro.

Contact

Prof Marcus Altfeld
Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology
T +49 40 480 51-22
E-mail

Dr Angelique Hölzemer
Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology
T +49 40 480 51-22
E-mail



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