Heisenberg Professorship for CRC 841 Scientist PD Dr. Maura Dandri
24 August 2012
PD Dr. Maura Dandri is awarded a Heisenberg Professorship for viral hepatitis by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The professorship is initially funded for five years by the DFG and subsequently permanently funded by the Medical Department of the University of Hamburg. Professor Ansgar Lohse, Medical Director of the I. Department of Internal Medicine at the UKE and spokesman of the CRC 841 shares the excitement about the award: “The Heisenberg Professorship not only appreciates the outstanding scientific achievements by Dr. Dandri, but also acknowledges the scientific excellence of the research focus “Infection and Inflammation” in Hamburg , especially the CRC 841 ‘Liver inflammation’.”
Dandri investigates the molecular mechanisms that enable hepatitis B viruses to survive in infected liver cells. Moreover she conducts preclinical studies for antiviral drugs to improve therapeutic options for patients with chronic hepatitis. So far research in the field of viral hepatitis was limited by the lack of suitable cell culture systems and animal models. But Dandri’s group managed to establish a mouse model for infections with the hepatitis B virus. In this model system human liver cells populate the murine liver. These mice can then be infected with human hepatitis viruses and develop chronic hepatitis. “The model system offers ideal conditions to improve the understanding of hepatitis viruses. Above all, it is now possible to test new substances against hepatitis viruses in these mice”, explains Dandri.