Appointment of Enikö Kallay, Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber, Peter Steinberger, Susanne Vrtala, Stefan Wagner und Julia Walochnik as Associate Professors with June 1, 2012
Assoc. Prof. Enikö Kallay is the head of the Tumourpathology group at the Department of Pathology and Allergy Research at our Centre. She had graduated in Biochemistry at the University of Bucharest in 1981. She began her career at the Department of Pathophysiology in 1991 as a research technician. In 1999 she received her Dr. rer. Nat. degree in biochemistry at the University of Vienna and in 2004 her “Venia docendi” in “Experimental Pathophysiology”. In 2007 she had spent one year at the Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Oxford University, as a Marie Curie Fellow (Inter-European Fellowship, FP6). After her return to Vienna in 2008, she had received her first faculty position as “Assistant PostDoc” at the Department of Pathology and Allergy Research.
Her main research interest is to understand and unveil biochemical and molecular mechanisms of the anti-tumourigenic effects of vitamin D and dietary calcium in colon cancer. Currently, the 6 PhD students in her group are studying the genetic and epigenetic mechanism behind the regulation of the vitamin D system and the calcium sensing receptor in tumour formation.
Assoc. Prof. Kallay has widespread international research contacts and is a recognized specialist in colorectal tumour prevention. Currently she is coordinating an Initial Training Network “Multifaceted-CaSR” (www.multifaceted-casr.org), funded by the EU FP7. In this Network 11 excellent early stage researchers are trained by specialists from the Universities of, Oxford, Cardiff, Florence, Amsterdam, Amiens, and the MedUni Wien. One of Enikö’s main goals is the education, support and mentorship of young researchers.
Assoc. Prof. Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber was born in Vienna, and holds a MSc and PhD degree in Molecular Biology from the University Vienna. As a Post-doc she joined group of Profs. Dietrich Kraft and Otto Scheiner at the Department of Experimental Pathology (now Dept of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research), and with an EMBO short term fellowship she went to the SIAF (Swiss Inst. of Asthma and Allergy Research) Davos and received the venia docendi in 2000. Since then she is heading the research group Molecular Allergology and established several national and international collaborations on the characterisation of food allergens and their application in patient tailored diagnosis and improved allergenic risk management. Karin Hoffmann-Sommergruber has coordinated an EC project on apple allergy in Framework 5 (SAFE) and was responsible of the allergen library in the EC project EuroPREVALL. Recently, she was actively involved in reassessing the guidelines on the assessment of allergenicity of genetically modified foods established by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and is currently chairing the Food Allergy Interest Group of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). Her main scientific interests are to study the molecular mechanisms of the allergic immune response and to transfer the knowledge into improved diagnostic and preventive measurements for the allergic patients and to train young and interested students.
Peter Steinberger has studied Biology in Graz and Vienna and did his Ph.D. under the supervision of Rudolf Valenta at the University of Vienna (1992-1996). Following postdoctoral studies with Carlos Barbas 3rd at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California (1996-1999), he joined the group of Walter Knapp at the Institute of Immunology. Since 2007 he heads the research group “Immune Receptors and T cell activation” at this institution. His research focuses on receptor-ligand interaction and the regulation of T cell responses.
Dr. Susanne Vrtala, born 1967 in Vienna, Austria, studied Biology/Genetics at the University of Vienna. She obtained her PhD in 1994 at the Department of General and Experimental Pathology and her Venia docendi in 2001. Currently, Dr. Vrtala works at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, where she is head of the group “Immunotechnology”. Since 2009 she is director of the “Christian Doppler Laboratory for the development of allergen chips”. She is author on more than 100 publications and 11 patent applications. She received several international scientific awards, including the PhARF award in 2007. End of May 2012, she obtained the Associate Professorship after fulfilling the criteria for the qualification agreement.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Stefan Wagner was born in Dornbirn and studied biochemistry at the University of Vienna. In 1995 he started his diploma thesis at the Department of General and Experimental Pathology (now department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research) in the field of allergy research. He continued his work at the department for his PhD thesis and had a research stay during this time at the ETH Zurich. In 2000, he started as a postdoc his work on the development of cancer vaccines at the Department of Pathophysiology. With his APART scholarship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences which he was granted in 2005 he returned to allergy research and during this time he had a research stay at the Amsterdam Medical Center. In 2008 he received his venia docendi in allergology/immunology and since then he is the head of the research group “Experimental Immunobiology” at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research with special focus on allergy and cancer research. Beside his research and teaching Assoc. Prof. Dr. Stefan Wagner is holding the position of the Quality Manager at his department and in this position he is responsible for the establishment and maintaining of a quality management system.
Julia Walochnik was born in 1973 in Berlin and studied biology in Vienna. From 1997-2000 she performed her PhD thesis at the Department of Medical Parasitology, Clinical Institute of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology at the University of Vienna. Her thesis was dedicated to the finding of potential virulence factors in Acanthamoeba and was awarded with the Gerhard-Piekarski-Price. Since 1999 she has been the group leader of the research unit “Molecular Parasitology”, specialized in the classification, cell biology and pathomechanism of amoebae and the immunobiology and treatment of protozoan infections. In 2004 she habilitated for Medical Parasitology and in 2010 she became Assistant Professor at the Institute for Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Centre for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna. Julia Walochnik is board member of the Austrian Society of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology (ÖGTP), the German Society for Parasitology (DGP) and currently vice president of the Network of Biological Systematics (NOBIS) and she is reckoned as one of the leading scientists in the field of facultatively pathogenic amoebae.
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