TP19: Integrated Research Training Group “Immunovirology”Deciphering the determinants and dynamics of hepatitis virus persistence versus control of infection requires a highly interdisciplinary approach encompassing virology, immunology, cell biology, systems biology, bioimaging and clinical hepatology. To meet these demands, talented and specifically trained students and young scientists are of decisive importance. Therefore, we propose the Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) Immunovirology for PhD as well as MD students as an important component for the sustainable success of TRR179. The IRTG will offer special training courses, soft skill seminars and scientific education that include interactive lecture series, laboratory exchanges and annual retreats.
PhD and MD students are educated side by side to promote inter- disciplinary communication between scientists and physicians and to facilitate rapid translation into the clinics. As an important element, the IRTG seeks to attract especially MD students into the research topic of TRR179 and supports their full-time scientific education by providing 12 months-stipends. Excellent young scientists are recruited from within and outside of Europe by an active recruitment process. Selected students are trained using a well-structured programme featuring close supervision paired with fostering of motivation and self-responsibility. Key features of the programme are special training courses, soft skill seminars and scientific education with interactive lecture series, laboratory exchanges and annual retreats. A thesis advisory committee monitors the progress of every student. The purpose of this committee is not only to supervise the scientific work, but also to advise the students in soft-skills required, career-planning and to support them in building up their own scientific network. To connect the three TRR179 locations in Heidelberg, Freiburg and Munich, each student has a team of co-supervisors with complementary expertise from at least one of the other cities in addition to the local supervisor(s). Regular trans-regional events, laboratory exchanges and casted common seminars will be in place to further minimize the geographical separation. In this respect, the IRTG will provide important education and at the same time serve as connecting tie between the doctoral students of the TRR179 locations. The IRTG will also offer a scientific and social basis for an excellent masterclass at the intersection of hepatology, immunology and virology. In addition, to foster gender equality the IRTG offers access to specific local mentoring programmes, coaching and training courses. Flexible support and coverage of additional costs for childcare and for conference attendance are offered specifically to PhD and MD students with children to help them to take advantage of the offers provided by the IRTG.
Virus-specific CD8+ T cell responses in hepatitis B virus/ hepatitis D virus co-infection: mechanisms of failure and strategies for restoration
Role of platelets in control and clearance of hepatitis B virus infection via modulation of liver tissue environment and metabolism
Identification of systems properties determining the dynamics of the hepatitis B virus infection cycle and cross-talk to host cell responses
Viral determinants and innate immunity in persistent hepatitis B virus and hepatitis D virus infections
Role of DNA repair, SUMOylation and nuclear bodies in the formation of the hepatitis B virus cccDNA persistence reservoir
Contribution of innate immune responses to persistence versus clearance of hepatitis C virus and hepatitis A virus infections
Combinatorial knock-down/knock-out strategies to reconstitute antiviral im-munity and eliminate persisting hepatitis B virus cccDNA
Impact of interferon-stimulated genes on virus-specific CD8+ T cells and NK cells in viral hepatitis
Impact of the enteric stage of hepatitis A virus and hepatitis E virus on the outcome of liver infection