Viruses and their interactions with the host have fascinated me from the earliest days of my scientific career. To me, their simplicity, structural elegance and yet complex modes of replication make viruses one of the most interesting areas of biological research. I have worked on various pathogen related projects in the past ranging from natural competence in pathogenic bacteria to proteins that control host range in poxvirus infection during my diploma thesis at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen. In 2009 I joined the DRS Biomedical Science to work on my doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Klaus Osterrieder. In my thesis I investigated viral immune evasion strategies in Marek’s Disease virus (MDV), a herpesvirus that causes a severe cancer disease in chickens. In addition, I characterized a previously unknown viral nuclear protein called p012. My postdoc project aims at elucidating the function of the novel protein 012 in the replication cycle of the virus.
Currently, my major research interest focuses on Marek’s disease virus (MDV), a herpesvirus that causes a devastating tumour disease in chickens. During my thesis, I was able to identify and characterize a previously unknown MDV protein. I demonstrated that the protein 012 is a novel phosphorylated nucleocytoplasmic shuttle protein essential for viral replication (Schippers et al. JVI, 2015). With financial support from the DRS Honors fellowship I would like to extend my work on p012 with a major focus on revealing its function as a nucleocytoplasmic protein. Various techniques including the generation of recombinant viruses, co-immunoprecipation studies as well as immunofluorescence microscopy will be applied to achieve this goal.
Schippers, T., Jarosinski, K. & Osterrieder, N. The ORF012 Gene of Marek’s Disease Virus Type 1 Produces a Spliced Transcript and Encodes a Novel Nuclear Phosphoprotein Essential for Virus Growth. J. Virol. 89, 1348–63 (2015).