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Bertram Bengsch
Tobias Böttler
Tobias Flecken
Anna-Maria Globig
Daniel Grimm
Maximilian Heeg
Julia Schmidt
Nathalie Schmidt
Bianca Seigel
Hans Christian Spangenberg
Mario Witkowski
Tayibe Altay
Sandra Hild
Nadine Kersting
Heisenberg-Professur der DFG
SFB 620
Kompetenznetz Hepatitis-HepNet
NIH AIDS Reagent Program
Prof. Dr. H. Pircher
Freiburg (Institute of Immunology)
Dr. Paul Klenerman
Oxford (Nuffield Department of Medicine)
Prof. Dr. F. V. Chisari
La Jolla (Scripps Research Institute)
Dr. Volker Lohmann and Prof. Dr. Ralf Bartenschlager
Heidelberg (Institute of Molecular Virology)
Dr. Jörg Timm
Dr. Sergei Viazov
and Prof. Dr. Michael Roggendorf
Essen (Institute of Virology)
Dr. Susan McKiernan and Prof. Dr. Dermot Kelleher
Dublin (St. James Hospital)
Dr. Barbara Rehermann
Bethlesda (NIH)
Dr. Lukas Weseslindtner and Prof. Dr. Heidemarie Holzmann
Vienna (Institute of Virology)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Baumert
Strassbourg (INSERM Strassbourg)
PD Dr. Georg Kochs
Freiburg (Institute of Virology)
Dr. Arash Grakoui
Atlanta (Emory University)
Dr. Todd M. Allen
Dr. Astrid Iversen
Dr. Andrew Sewell
Cardiff University School of Medicine
Dr. David Price

T cell responses play an important role in the outcome of HBV and HCV infection, e.g. viral elimination versus persistence. However, multiple mechanisms can lead to the failure of the virus-specific T cell response.

These mechanisms include primary T cell failure, T cell exhaustion, the emergence of viral escape mutants, as well as T cell dysfunction. Furthermore, genetic factors such as the individual HLA allele background play an important role in the outcome of infection. Once viral persistence has been established, HBV or HCV infection can progress to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis with an enhanced risk for HCC. Tumor-specific T cells (e.g. AFP-specific T cells) are thought to contribute to cancer control.

The focus of our group is the identification and characterization of virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses during acute and chronic HBV and HCV infection with a special focus on intrahepatic T cell responses as well as the mechanisms of viral persistence (e.g., viral escape, T cell dysfunction, action of regulatory T cells, role of HLA alleles). Furthermore, we study AFP-specific T cell responses in patients with HCC.


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