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Start up grant 2020

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Start up Grant 2020 to Andreas Heinzel


Andreas Heinzel from the Department of Internal Medicine III at MedUni Vienna (Clinical Division of Nephrology and Dialysis) has been awarded the first Start up Grant 2020 following independent evaluation by the Frogging Platform Transplantation Board.

About the awarded project
In the course of Andreas Heinzel's project, which was made possible by the Startup Grant of the Research Platform Transplantation, the general T-cell receptor repertoire against human polyomavirus 1 (BKV) will be explored. Specifically, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from kidney transplant recipients who have had recent BKV reactivation will be obtained and stimulated in vitro with BKV antigens. The antigen-responsive cells are subsequently analyzed using modern sequencing techniques to decipher the sequences of the T-cell receptors. These sequences will then be used to compare the BKV specific T cell repertoires of different subjects and to identify any shared (general) receptors.

Deciphering this general repertoire will allow new approaches for differential diagnosis of BK nephropathy and T cell mediated rejection and serve as a basis for BKV specific immune surveillance. Furthermore, the existence of such a public repertoire would be an important piece of the puzzle for the use of virus-specific cell products from third parties for the treatment of persistent viral infections.

About the person
Andreas Heinzel was born in Salzburg and graduated with a Master of Science degree from the FH Upper Austria Faculty of Computer Science, Communication and Media in Hagenberg. Currently Heinzel is working and studying in a PhD program at the Department of Clinical Nephrology and Dialysis at MedUni Vienna.