für Innere Medizin II Innsbruck

(Infektiologie, Immunologie, Tropenmedizin, Rheumatologie, Pneumologie)
Medizinische Universität Innsbruck

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MitarbeiterInnen Infektiologie und Immunologie

Leiter: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Günter Weiss


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Günter Weiss
ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Rosa Bellmann-Weiler
Clinical studies: evaluation of biomarkers, bedside tests and new therapeutic approaches for infectious diseases. Basic research: Role of cytokines and iron homeostasis in infection with the intracellular pathogen C. pneumoniae Installation of a biobank for diseases in infectiology and immunology.
BMA Sylvia Berger  Sylvia.Berger@i-med.ac.at I'm involved in a lot of different projects in the lab especially focusing on host pathogen interaction. My mostly used techniques are ELISA, Westernblot and rtPCR.

Natascha Brigo


Mag. Biol. Egon Demetz PhD
I am investigating the role of hepcidin, the master regulator of iron metabolism of mammals, in the progression of infectious diseases caused by bacteria in different models.
My second research interest is the investigation of the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis (e.g. models of lipid-inducible atherosclerosis and hereditary hemochroma-tosis).
My third area of interest is imaging of cells in vivo. Using different transfection techniques (e.g. lentiviral vectors), prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells are manipulated to produce fluorescent or bioluminescent signals which can be traced in living organisms.
BMA Sabine Engl Sabine.Engl@i-med.ac.at I am in the laboratory team of Prof. G. Weiss as a BMA since 1998.
I am a technical assistent in projects dealing mostly with Clamydia pneumoniae infection and NRAMP function. In addition I am in charge of the administrative work in our lab.
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Gernot Fritsche gernot.fritsche@i-med.ac.at My scientific interest is focused on the interplay between iron and immunity. My recent work was focused on Nramp1, a resistance gene involved in innate immunity that confers protection against intracellular bacterial pathogens. We investigate the underlying mechanisms by which Nramp1 contributes to host defense against intracellular bacteria.
Dr. Philipp Grubwieser
Dr. David Haschka david.haschka@i-med.ac.at As a MD/PhD student my main research interest is the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and the influence of an infection on the iron metabolism of the host and the pathogen. The striking feature of this Gram-positive and facultative intracellular pathogen is its ability to escape the endosome/phagosme after internalization or phagocytosis and gain access to the cytoplasm and therefore iron sources like ferritin.

BMAs Christiane Heim




Our research interest is in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) and in atherosclerosis development in mice. We recently published studies in mice showing that liver-selective thyromimetics promote the reverse transport of cholesterol from macrophages back to the liver, thereby inhibiting atherosclerosis formation.  Moreover, in a translational approach, we validate different candidate genes identified by human GWAS analysis for their potential to promote the RCT and to protect from atherosclerosis in mice. An additional area of interest is the development of novel therapeutics to treat bacterial sepsis. In this regard, we use a mouse model of gram-negative septicemia to identify novel compounds aimed at influencing the migratory efficiency of neutrophils, resulting in early bacterial clearance at sites of infection.
Richard Hilbe
Denise Hopfauf
  Ass.-Prof. Dr. Katharina Kurz Katharina.kurz@i-med.ac.at My scientific studies focus on cellular immune activation and interferon-g- (IFN-g) mediated biochemical pathways in patients with infectious or chronic diseases. Tryptophan depletion by IDO-activation in human monocytes/macrophages represents an important mechanism to inhibit the growth of pathogens and the proliferation of T-lymphocytes. Furthermore IFN-g induces monocytes to release the pteridine neopterin (by the enzyme GTP-cyclohydrolase I). The aim of my studies is to better characterize the role of IFN-g mediated pathways in chronic diseases and infections and investigate the relationship between tryptophan metabolism and iron metabolism in patients with anemia of chronic disease.
Dr. Sabine Koppelstätter
We are interested in the diverse function of a special iron transporter (DMT-1) in different organ systems.
In another study I investigated the effects of Nifedipine in infection models and could show that Nifedipine enhances host resistance to intracellular pathogens via limitation of iron availability by stimulating ferroportin expression.
Mag. Dr. rer. nat. Anna-Maria Mitterstiller

Dr. rer. nat. Christa Pfeifhofer-Obermair

My main scientific interest is the influence of iron on T cell function during an infection with Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium. Thereby I am focused on the expression of the negative regulatory protein Tim-3 on different T helper cell subsets. Furthermore my research focuses on the iron mediated suppression of CD8+ T cells and the influence on therapeutic approaches in a mammary carcinoma model.

BMA Markus Seifert markus.seifert@i-med.ac.at My projects are mostly focusing on the pathophysiology of ACD and iron dependent host pathogen interaction.
I am trained in a broad range of laboratory methods such as RT-PCR, WesternBlotting, Immunohistochemistry, FACS and different other immunological methods.
PD Dr. Thomas Sonnweber thomas.sonnweber@i-med.ac.at I did my doctoral thesis on the impact of iron substitution therapy on the iron status and immune effector function of circulating monocytes in dialysis patients. Since then I investigated the role of iron homeostasis in several pathological conditions such as the anemia of chronic disease or high fat diet induced obesity. In my most recent research projects I am trying to elucidate the adaption of iron homeostasis during hypoxic challenge and the role of iron metabolism in Staphylococcus aureus infection.
Dr. Andrea Schroll PhD 
I am interested in the regulation of lymphocyte functionality and expression  in different infection models and their modification by the iron status.
In addition I am interested in the role of iron in IL-17 mediated immune functions. Finally Neutrophil gelatinase-asscoiated licpocalin (NGAL) or 24p3 has attracted my attention. NGAL is a 21 kDA protein of the lipocalin superfamily produced by different cells types. We are interested in the characterization of functions of Lcn2 and investigate the role of Lcn2 in chemotaxis and the importance of Lcn2 in autoimmunity and infectious disease.
PD Dr. Ivan Tancevski ivan.tancevski@i-med.ac.at Any therapy promoting the transport of excessive cholesterol back to the liver for eventual removal via the feces is expected to prevent atherosclerosis. This mechanistic concept is called reverse cholesterol transport (RCT), and involves atherosclerotic plaque macrophages, plasma HDL, and cholesterol receptors/transporters expressed in the liver. We have been the first to show that liver-selective thyroid hormone analogs promote the RCT thereby reducing the atherosclerotic burden. A second area of research in our laboratory has resulted in the identification of a novel therapeutic approach for lipid-lowering drugs to activate the innate immunity, resulting in early clearance of bacteria from sites of infection, leading to a significant higher survival in bacterial sepsis. 
Assoz.-Prof. PD. Dr. Igor Theurl, PhD
Anemia of chronic disease (ACD) is the second most prevalent anemia worldwide and in an inpatient setting even the most prevalent one, often found in patients suffering from cancer and chronic inflammation.
We have been investigating the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms during the last years. Finally our research led to evaluation and identification of an effective ACD therapy. During my research fellow ship at the Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical school my work was focused on the origin and development of iron recycling macrophages in different tissue with a special emphesis on the regulation of ferroportin expression.
Continuing this work I am focusing at the moment on the impact of ferroportin expression in tumor progression and outcome.
Lara Valente de Souza



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