The laboratory focuses on neuroinvasive and respiratory viral pathogens from the group of rhabdo- and paramyxoviruses. In addition to animal disease pathogens relevant to veterinary medicine, such as the Newcastle Disease Virus, zoonotic pathogens are processed that cause life-threatening diseases in animals and humans. In addition to rhabdo- and paramyxoviruses studies with influenza A viruses, SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens are carried out.
In the laboratory for Molecular Biology of Rhabdo and Paramyxoviruses, the molecular and cellular basis of pathogen replication and pathogenesis is investigated. This includes the functional characterization of viral gene products and genomes as well as their interactions with cellular factors and antiviral host reactions. A particular focus is on research to respiratory and neuroinvasive viral diseases using selected rhabdoviruses, paramyxoviruses and other viral pathogens. This includes the characterization of viral replication mechanisms and the identification of molecular factors that determine the viral pathogenesis from virus infection to the spread in the infected organism to the expression of clinical symptoms. In the field of vaccine research, this knowledge is used to develop new vaccine strategies. On the basis of attenuated paramyxoviruses, vector vaccines are being developed for immunization against various animal pathogens
Key technologies in the laboratory are:
- Reverse genetics systems, which make it possible to specifically produce genetically manipulated, recombinant viruses (Rabies Virus, Henipaviruses, Newcastle disease virus)
- Infection models (conventional cell lines, complex primary cell cultures (e.g. neuron cultures and air-liquid-interphase (ALI) cultures) bronchial epithelial cells of different host species and animal models for the study of viral pathogenesis)
- Advanced imaging methods for the representation of infection processes in cell cultures and tissues (e.g. confocal laser scan microscopy, optically cleared tissues and 3D imaging using light sheet microscopy).