Petra Zieglmayer, M.D. (Kursleitung)
is an ENT-specialist, graduated at the Vienna University Clinic. The past 25 years she acquired extensive expertise in clinical allergology and immunology, when conducting clinical trials with particular focus on development of new antiallergic pharmaceutical as well as immunotherapeutic compounds and preparations. She is a regular contributor to courses in Austria and abroad and has published widely in clinical research and teaching. Currently she is the Head of the Vienna Challenge Chamber research group, Court surveyor for challenge chamber systems and Lecturer at the Medical University Vienna and the Karl Landsteiner University in Krems.
Rudolf Valenta, M.D.
is Professor for Allergology at the Medical University of Vienna and board certified specialist in Pathophysiology as well as Immunology.
He is amongst others Head of the group “Molecular Immunopathology” at the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, MedUniVienna, Austria, a standing Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and speaker and co-ordinator of the FWF-funded special research program F46 “Towards prevention and therapy of allergy”. His main areas of research are molecular and cellular allergology.
Winfried Pickl, M.D.
is board certified immunologist and head of the Division of Cellular Immunology and Immunohematology at the Institute of Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. He has critically contributed to the molecular and functional characterization of T cell activation antigens and monocyte-derived dendritic cells. Dr. Pickl is amongst others speaker of the PhD-program Molecular, Cellular and Clinical Allergology, and deputy-speaker of the Danube Allergy Research Cluster ‘Towards cure of allergy’, and serves as member of the Clinical Immunology and the Education Committee of the Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology.
Early scientific activities focused on IgE-mediated allergies and in particular on the mode of materno-fetal interaction with emphasis on allergic sensitization (1993-1996). On an ex-vivo placenta model experimental data support the idea of an early materno-fetal allergen-cross talk (1998-2005). Early fetal allergen-exposure could be shown to mature the fetal allergen-specific T cell responses towards a Th1-driven response, suggesting a potential way to tolerize the fetal immune system by early allergen exposure (2006-2012). Based on these experimental observations clinical studies have been started to elucidate the early and preventive effect of allergen-specific immunotherapy in young children (2005-ongoing). The first placebo-controlled, sensitization-preventive sublingual immunotherapy trial was implemented (2008-2012). Immuno-modulatory effects in actively treated children were detected (2014). A confirmatory placebo-controlled trial has been launched and is currently under investigation (2018-2022). A particular research focus emerged from observations on lung transplanted children and adolescents. Despite strong T cell-focused immunosuppression, IgE-mediated sensitizations and allergies were observed very often (20%). In cross-sectional, prospective and immunological studies the particular Th2-driving capacity of tacrolimus could be shown (2006-2014). Food allergy diagnosis is a demanding process, often necessitating an oral food-challenge for confirmation. New biomarkers are needed which might predict clinical relevance of certain food IgE sensitizations. The role of the high-affinity FcERI and of basophil activation tests (BAT) is studied in vitro and in various types of IgE- and non-IgE-mediated allergies (2007-2021) in order to delineate possible biomarkers. Covid-19 infection also affects children. In a recent large cross-sectional study on 2069 schoolchildren in Vienna during the first pandemic period a PCR-prevalence of 0.1% (n=2) and a seroprevalence of 1.3% (n=26) was observed. The role of SARS-CoV-2 antibody and T cell response persistency is currently studied.
Wolfgang Weninger MD
Professor Wolfgang Weninger received his M.D. from the University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria in 1991, where he also trained in clinical dermatology and venereology at the same institution. From 1999-2003 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA where he studied the mechanisms of immune cell trafficking to the skin. He was then recruited as an Assistant Professor to the Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. In 2007, he became the Raymond E. Purves Professor of Dermatology at the University of Sydney, where he headed the Department of Dermatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia. He also led a research group at the Centenary Institute for Cell Biology and Cancer Medicine. In 2018, Professor Weninger became the Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. His clinical and research interests relate to the understanding of the cutaneous immune system in health and disease. Professor Weninger’s group is internationally renowned for using high-end imaging technology, such as intravital multi-photon microscopy, to interrogate immune cells behavior in inflammatory and malignant skin diseases. He has discovered and functionally characterized several leukocyte populations, including dermal group 2 innate lymphoid cells and dermal gamma-delta T cells. Professor Weninger is the recipient of numerous competitive grants and national and international awards. His work has been published in leading journals such as Cell, Nature and Science.
Christine Hafner, M.D.
is Associate Professor of Dermatology and deputy head of the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital St. Pölten, Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences, Austria. Throughout her academic and clinical career Dr. Hafner had a special interest in experimental dermato-oncology and in parallel has also focused on clinical aspects of molecular allergology. She has authored several publications on the characterization and diagnostic use of allergen components and their application in molecular testing. She is a certified clinical study investigator, and part of her scientific work is performing clinical research in allergic patients where she focuses on bringing laboratory results to clinical application.
Ursula Widermann, MD, MSc, PhD
is Professor for Vaccinology, Medical Specialist for Immunology and Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.She is among other things the Head of Centre for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Head of Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine and Head of Outpatient Clinic for Vaccination, Travel- and Tropical Medicine, Member of the Supreme Board of Health of the Austrian Ministry of Health, Member of the National Immunization Committee (NITAG) of the Austrian Ministry of Health, Chair of the Vaccine Committee of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS), President of the Austrian Society of Vaccination, permanent guest of STIKO (permanent Vaccination Committee) at the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, Member of the working group Travel Medicine/STIKO. Her main areas of research are development of new vaccines and vaccination strategies against infectious diseases, allergies and cancer, immunological characterization of vaccine responsiveness and vaccination failures, preclinical and clinical testing (Phase I – IV) of new vaccine candidates and adjuvant systems, host-pathogens interaction and microbiota-host interaction.
Barbara Bohle, PhD
is full Professor for Cellular Allergology at the Medical University of Vienna (MUV). Since 2011, she is the Head of the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research (IPA) at the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna.
The main focus of her scientific work is the characterization of allergen-specific T lymphocytes and antigen-processing cells as well as the elucidation of the pathophysiology of secondary food allergy. She is an awardee of several prestigious international research awards.
Prof. Bohle has extended experience in academic teaching and congress organization and regularly serves as board member for several national and international scientific organizations and societies.
Assoc. Prof. Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Birgit Linhart
is a biologist by training and currently employed as Associate Professor at the Medical University of Vienna. As such, she is involved in teaching of students and scientific research. Working at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research for twenty years, her scientific focus was initially on pollen allergens and the development of new approaches for improved diagnosis and treatment of grass pollen allergy. More recently, she extended her research interests to food allergy and basic mechanisms of allergic disease and tolerance induction.
Prof. MD. Erika JENSEN-JAROLIM
is an internationally recognized allergy expert, specialized in Clinical Immunology. She was a University Professor for Pathophysiology and Head of Institute for Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University Vienna, Austria and held offices in the University council and senate. To date Prof. Jensen-Jarolim is a double appointed Professor for Comparative Medicine at Medical University Vienna and vetmeduni Vienna, interuniversity Messerli Research Institute Vienna. Amongst other functions, she chairs the Working group of AllergoOncology in the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), and is a Board member of EAACI Interest Groups Allergen immunotherapy; Comparative Allergology Prof. Jensen-Jarolim has published in over 230 scientific publications on Allergy and Immunology in PubMed and lectures in various programmes internationally.
Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber, PhD
is Associate Professor at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Throughout her academic career her research interests are focusing on molecular allergology, including identification of food allergens, their interaction with immune cells and elucidating the underlying molecular mechanisms. Furthermore, also studies about vaccine development and adjuvant formulation are another recent research focus. Dr. Hoffmann-Sommergruber is lecturing in immunology courses as well as lecturing on vaccine development for infectious diseases at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, (BOKU), Vienna. She has authored a number of publications on food allergen characterization, allergy diagnosis and food safety, cloning of molecules for diagnosis, coordinated and participated in EU projects and in national research consortia within this research topic.
Mirela Curin, PhD
is a dedicated researcher at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Her research is focused on allergen characterization with a view on developing efficient diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. She has significantly contributed to the molecular and immunological characterization of allergens from furry animals and house dust mites and is also engaged in preclinical development of recombinant hypoallergenic vaccines for allergen specific immunotherapy. Dr. Curin is a Lecturer at the Medical University of Vienna and a Trainer at the International Network of Universities for Molecular Allergology and Immunology.
Peter Errhalt M.D.
is board certified pulmonologist and head of the Department of Pneumology at University Hospital Krems,
Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences.
In 2006, he developed a new department of Pneumology in the former State Hospital Krems where he established a sleep lab, a bronchoscopy unit, a lung-function lab, an outpatient clinic for severe chronic obstructive diseases including asthma, an outpatient clinic for interstitial lung diseases and an inpatient ward with 27 units.
The Department of Pneumology in Krems is responsible for the diagnosis of pulmonary diseases and for treatment-proposals for 15 referring hospitals with a special focus on lung cancer, pleural diseases, tuberculosis, interstitial lung diseases and severe obstructive lung diseases including asthma.
Since 2013, the former State Hospital Krems became teaching hospital for the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences and Peter Errhalt is Associate Professor for Pneumology at the University Hospital Krems.
Karin Pfisterer PhD
is a Senior Scientist at the Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Vienna. She is investigating regulatory pathways that preserve homeostasis in mammalian tissues and how this balance is disrupted during pathological processes. During her academic career Karin Pfisterer specialized in basic and skin immunology, T cell signalling, and cell migration. She studied Genetics/Microbiology at the University of Vienna, Austria, and completed her MSc studies with research on skin immune homeostasis at the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the Department of Dermatology. She performed her PhD thesis in Immunology at the Molecular Immunology Unit of the Medical University of Vienna. Karin Pfisterer contributed to the understanding how skin cells regulate T helper cell differentiation and showed that endosomal trafficking is essential for T cell activation. During her postdoctoral training at the Randall Centre for Cell & Molecular Biophysics at King’s College London she was involved in a highly multidisciplinary project investigating cell migration and cell-matrix interactions in 3D using superresolution microscopy. Karin Pfisterer also performed research as visiting scientist at the Advanced Imaging Centre at the Janelia Research Campus, USA.
She was teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at King’s College London and is currently mentoring and teaching students at the Medical University of Vienna.
DI Bernhard KRATZER, PhD
has been trained in biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna and studied the production and purification of recombinant antibodies in mammalian cell culture. Various internships in major pharmaceutical companies deepened his knowledge on biotechnological production and purification processes. During the PhD thesis in the laboratory of Prof. Winfried F. Pickl at the Institute of Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, he developed novel virus-like nanoparticle based allergy vaccine as well as skills in virus biology and functional characterization of leukocyte populations and animal experimentation. Currently, as a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Institute of Immunology he further develops such allergy vaccines and investigates the immunological of COVID-19 on the human immune system.
Julia Eckl-Dorna M.D. PhD
Julia Eckl-Dorna has been the head of the Allergy Research Laboratories at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the General Hospital Vienna since 2017. After obtaining her M.D. degree at the Medical University of Vienna, she continued her PhD training in basic B cell immunology at the laboratory of Facundo Batista in London. Her postdoctoral training in the group of Verena Niederberger-Leppin enabled her to combine her interests’ in clinical and basic immunology which has since resulted in several high impact publications. Her research interests include various aspects of the role of the low affinity receptor for IgE (CD23) in allergen presentation as well as the nasal epithelial barrier function. Furthermore, Julia has played an important role in clinical studies investigating the newly developed grass pollen vaccine BM32, where her main focus has been on investigating the B and T cell responses to the vaccine. Her current research interest is focussed on investigating sites and mechanisms of human IgE production.
Katarzyna Niespodziana, PhD
was born in 1983 in Koszalin, Poland. From 2002 to 2007 she studied biotechnology at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk, in Poland. After graduating in 2007, she came to Vienna and joined the international PhD program "Inflammation and Immunity" at the Medical University of Vienna. For her doctoral thesis she received two prestigious awards: "Award of Excellence 2011" from the Austrian Minister of Science and "Clemens von Pirquet Award" from the Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology (ÖGAI). Furthermore, she was nominated by the Austrian Academy of Sciences as one of the best young Austrian researchers for the participation at “64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting” in Lindau, Germany. Katarzyna has made important contributions to the field of rhinovirus (RV) research and is the author of three international patent applications. Her long-term work on the development of a microarray for the diagnosis of RV infections was supported by the FP7 European Research Program. From 2016 to 2020 Katarzyna conducted a stand-alone project granted by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
Susanne Vrtala, Ph.D.
Susanne Vrtala is Associate Professor and Head of the “Immunotechnology group” at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. She is PI of a project within the Danube Allergy Research Cluster. Susanne Vrtala is author on several publications in the field of allergy research. Her main research areas are the production and characterization of recombinant house dust mite allergens for new diagnostic and therapeutic concepts. For her research, she obtained several international research awards like the Allergopharma Award and the PhARF award from Phadia (Thermo Fisher Scientific).
Prof. Dr. Thomas Wekerle
is currently Professor of Transplantation Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna. After graduating from medical school, he trained both in Vienna and Boston (Harvard Medical School, laboratory of Dr. Megan Sykes) and was certified as clinical immunologist in 2006. Since 2000 he is leading a research group at the Department of Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna which has a long-standing interest in investigating ways to induce immunological tolerance in organ transplantation and in IgE-mediated allergy. The goal of his research is to avoid the problems and risks associated with lifelong treatment with immunosuppressive drugs in the setting of organ transplantation and to permanently tolerize the immune system towards selected allergens in the setting of allergy. In both settings cell therapy-based approaches are being investigated as promising strategies. Thomas Wekerle is Principal Investigator of the WWTF Life Science Project “Combination cell therapy for immunomodulation in kidney transplantation”, Editor-in-Chief of Transplant International and Coordinator of the Research Platform Transplantation at the Medical University of Vienna. Thomas Wekerle has been awarded several national and international awards, among them the Young Investigator Award of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the American Society of Transplantation. He has published more than 140 scientific articles.
Franz Trautinger, M.D.
is Professor of Dermatology and Venereology at the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems, Austria, and chairman of the Department of Dermatology and Venereology at the University Hospital of St. Pölten, Austria. He is founding head of the Karl Landsteiner Institute of Dermatological Research in St. Pölten, Austria, and chair of the Commission of Scientific Integrity and Ethics at his university.
Franz Trautinger is an expert in clinical and experimental dermatology and his oeuvre covers a broad range of interrelated topics in the field, including photodermatology, dermato-oncology, and immunodermatology. His main interest is in clinical and translational research.
Univ.-Prof. Heimo Breiteneder PhD
is Professor of Medical Biotechnology at the Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, and Head of the Division of Medical Biotechnology at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research of the Medical University of Vienna. Heimo Breiteneder is a world-renowned expert in Molecular Allergology. Besides his busy teaching schedule, Heimo Breiteneder’s main interests focus on the recombinant production of nature-identical allergens as well as hypoallergens for vaccine formulations and on the interactions of allergens with the innate immune system.
Flicker Sabine, PhD
Is private lecturer for Allergology at the Medical University of Vienna. She has been working in the field of allergy with her main focus on monoclonal allergen-specific antibodies for nearly 25 years. Recently, allergen-specific nanobodies from camels captivated her interest. Her research is centered on the molecular, immunological and structural characterization of allergen-specific antibodies and nanobodies to develop antibody/nanobody-based treatment and prevention strategies for allergy. She authored numerous publications on the role of antibodies in allergy and enjoys supervising PhD and Master students for many years.
Wolfgang R. Sperr M.D.
is Professor of Medicine in the Division Hematology and Hemostaseology at the Department of Internal Medicine I of the Medical University of Vienna.
His clinical and research interests are myeloid neoplasms including mastocytosis, acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and chronic myeloid leukemia. He is member of the Steering comity of the European Competence Network of mastocytosis (ECNM) and coordinator of the ECNM-registry.
Klaus Hackner, M.D.
is a board-certified pulmonologist and clinical researcher and is currently employed at the Department of Pneumology at University Hospital Krems. His research focuses on lung cancer therapy and screening methods (e.g. by canine scent detection or ‘liquid biopsy’) interventional pulmonology, interstitial lung diseases, and sleep-disordered breathing. He has authored a number of publications and book chapters in his scientific fields of interest. Next to his clinical position, Klaus Hackner is chairman of the task force for interstitial lung diseases and orphan lung disease of the Austrian Society of Pneumology. He is a specialist in sleep medicine and completed the European diploma for adult respiratory medicine of the European Respiratory Society.
Klaus Hackner is lecturer for respiratory medicine at the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences.
Valentin Tomazic, M.D.
was born in Graz and graduated from the Medical University Graz in 2008, he became a research fellow under Prof. H. Stammberger in November 2008 until May 2009. He started his Residency at the ENT-University Hospital Graz, Dept. of General ORL Head and Neck Surgery in May 2009. He started his PhD-studies in 2011/12 and did my „Habilitation“ for Otorhinolaryngology in 2012. He is a Member of the ERS and EAACI. Since 2014 and junior board member of the ERS. In December 2014 he obtained an Assistant Professorship at the Medical University of Graz and since 2017 he is Associate Professor. In 2016 I obtained a research fellowship from the EAACI and spent 6 months at the AMC Amsterdam with Prof. W.J. Fokkens and Dr. C.M. van Drunen focusing on the impact of the genome and proteome of nasal epithelium and mucus in allergic rhinitis.
In June 2014 he got elected Vice president of the Junior Member Board of the ERS until July 2016. From March 2015 he was representative of the ENT-section in the JM WG of the EAACI and since 2018 he is a member of the ENT-section Board of the EAACI. From July 2018 until June 2019 he spent a year at the University of Toronto doing a clinical fellowshjp in Rhinology and Skull Base with Prof. Ian Witterick.
He is a member of the organizing committee of the Graz international and national courses on Rhinosurgery, and co-orgnaized Endovienna2012 and the Austrian National ENT Congress in 2013.
Also, he is head of the Graz Interdisciplinary Competence Unit for Rhinoneurosurgery and deputy head of the department if General ORL at the Medical University of Graz. My research interests lie in Rhinology, Endoscopic Sinus and Skull Base Surgery, Oncology, Allergy and Immunology.
Mathias Drach, MD
is board certified pathologist and dermatologist. As a board certified dermatopathologist lies his focus on diagnostic histopathology of inflammatory dermatoses. Clinically, his focus lies on general dermatology in supervising patients in the outpatient clinic.
Johannes Griss, PhD
is a leading consultant of the immundermatological outpatient clinic of the Department of Dermatology at the MUV. He has a Ph.D. in bioinformatics, conducted at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI, Cambridge, UK). During his clinical residency his research focused on the role of B cells in melanoma, after which he did a PostDoc in bioinformatics and developed novel multi-omics pathway analyses to study tumour immunology. His current research focuses on the multi-omics characterisation of autoimmune skin diseaes.
Victoria Garib M.D., PhD
is Professor in Allergology and Immunology, Visiting Professor of Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research at the Medical University of Vienna, international consultant of Ministry for Innovative Development, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, founder of International Network University for Molecular Allergology and Immunology, lectures in various international training programs. Research interests: Mapping of molecular profiles of sensitization and formation of a scale of priorities for the introduction of allergic vaccines, development, and adaptation of methods for standardizing allergens, determination of risk factors for allergy development, development of new forms of diagnosis, prevention of allergies, immunodeficiency states and infections, in particular SARS-CoV-2. She organized over 60 national and international conferences, schools, symposia.
Dr. Peter Maximilian Heil
is a senior consultant at the Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. He graduated from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, where he also received his dermatological training as resident at the Department of Dermatology. After taking the Austrian and European board exam, he attended two fellowships in the US (“Undiagnosed Diseases Program” at the NIH, Bethesda/Maryland, USA, and “Visiting Scientist and Clinician Program” at Mayo Clinic, Rochester/Minnesota, USA). His main clinical and scientific field of interest are autoimmune diseases, in particular connective tissue diseases, for which he founded a dedicated outpatient center at the Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, in 2011.
Waltraud Riegler, M.D.
is a board certified pulmonologist as well as specialist for internal medicine.
After the training in internal medicine, she completed her pneumological training at the Department of Pneumology and Allergy, Ruhrlandklinik, University Hospital Essen, Germany.
Since 2013 she has been a senior consultant at the Department of Pneumology at University Hospital Krems, Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences. She is also a specialist in palliative medicine and in sleep medicine.
Her main clinical field of interest are severe obstructive lung diseases, for which she established an outpatient center at the Department of Pneumology at University Hospital Krems.
Furthermore, she is a lecturer for Pneumology at Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences. Since 2019 Waltraud Riegler is board member of the Austrian Society of Pneumology (ÖGP). She is also member of the European respiratory society (ERS) and the German Respiratory Society (DGP).