Congratulations - Student of the Year 2012

7 December 2012
This year two PhD students are awarded the title „Student of the Year“ by the University Medical Centre Hamburg: Lida Victoria Mancke and Moritz Peiseler. Peiseler is a PhD student of the Collaborative Research Centre 841 (CRC 841). He belongs to Professor Christoph Schramm`s group. Peiseler receives the award for his publication FOXP3+ regulatory T cells in autoimmune hepatitis are fully functional and not reduced in frequency. This publication resulted from a cooperation with the group of PD Dr. Johannes Herkel. In his thesis Peiseler investigates the role of regulatory T cells during autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). The immune system of patients suffering from AIH mistakenly attacks the liver. This causes an inflammation that can lead to liver cirrhosis if it is not treated. In other autoimmune diseases certain cells of the immune system, so called regulatory T cells seem to be impaired. These cells can suppress attacks of the immune system that are directed against one’s own body. In his publication Peiseler demonstrates that in AIH regulatory T cells are unexpectedly fully functional. Their frequency is also not reduced. In fact Peiseler`s results suggest that the frequency of regulatory T cells increases with the degree of inflammation: AIH patients with active disease had more regulatory T cells than reconvalescent AIH patients.

Lida Victoria Mancke carries out her doctoral thesis in the group of Professor Dr. Maura Dandri, principal investigator in the CRC 841. She was awarded the title “Student of the year” for her publication Humanized chimeric uPA mouse model for the study of hepatitis B and D virus interactions and preclinical drug evaluation. In this publication she describes the establishment of a mouse model which allows investigating infections with hepatitis delta virus (HDV) for the first time in vivo. HDV is a defective virus that can only replicate with the help of hepatitis B virus (HBV). Patients chronically infected with HBV and HDV develop faster liver cirrhosis compared to patients infected with HBV only. Five percent of chronically with HBV infected patients suffer from such a co-infection. So far there are no specific drugs to treat HDV-infections. The mouse model allows testing new therapeutic approaches. Moreover it enables researchers to investigate how those two hepatitis viruses interact with human hepatocytes and their defence mechanisms.