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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 Platform Transplantation Board.

About the awarded project
In the course of Andreas Heinzel's project, which was made possible by the Start-up 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.