The European Research Council (ERC) awarded Prof Marcus Altfeld, Heinrich-Pette-Institute (HPI) and University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), an ERC Advanced Grant. This highly endowed grant will be used to investigate the regulation of the function of natural killer cells (NK cells) in greater detail. Professor Altfeld is coordinator of the research area HIV at the German Center of Infection Research (DZIF).
The project entitled "RegNK" (Regulation of NK cell function), which is supported by the ERC Advanced Grant, investigates the binding of NK cell receptors to HLA class II molecules and their influence on human diseases, such as hepatitis B virus infections. HLA class II molecules play an important role for the immune system. For this aim, functional immunological and virological approaches are combined with human organoid systems and proteomics technologies. The knowledge gained in this way should ultimately make it possible to use NK cells for immunotherapeutic interventions against infections and inflammatory diseases.
"If we understand the molecular mechanisms by which NK cells influence the immune response against diseases, new targeted starting points for immunotherapeutic approaches can be developed," said Prof. Marcus Altfeld explaining the project goal. The "RegNK" project is funded over a period of five years.
Prof. Marcus Altfeld has been Head of the Research Department "Virus Immunology" at the Heinrich-Pette-Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf since 2013. Since 2017 he is also director of the Institute of Immunology at the UKE. In 2018 he took over the coordination of the research area HIV at the DZIF.
ERC Advanced Grant
The ERC Advanced Grants are aimed at established, active scientists with an outstanding scientific track record.