Sandra Wieser received the 2015 ACTERIA Doctoral Prize at the 4th ECI in Vienna
Mag. Sandra Wieser, PhD (Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research) was awarded the ACTERIA Doctoral Prize 2015 by EFIS for the work "Characterization of novel allergens involved in IgE-mediated wheat allergy".
Nominees for the ACTERIA Prizes awarded by EFIS are painstakingly evaluated and the winners selected by a prestigious jury of eminent scientists in the field, among them a Nobel laureate. – Congratulations !
The ACTERIA Doctoral Prize carries a cash award of € 15,000 plus the possibility of financing of € 50,000/year for three-year research projects.
Sandra Wieser (Pahr), 29, studied Genetics/Microbiology at the University of Vienna and performed her Diploma Thesis (2008-2010) as well as her PhD Thesis (2010-2014) entitled “Characterization of novel allergens involved in IgE-mediated wheat allergy” at the Department of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research, Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Medical University of Vienna. Sandra Wieser graduated from the Medical University of Vienna (MUW) and obtained her PhD in Immunology under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Rudolf Valenta.
She is author or co-author on 12 research articles in Clinical and Experimental Allergy (2012), Journal of Immunology (2012), Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2013), Amino Acids (2013), Methods (2014), Allergy (2014), PLOS One (2014), Pediatric Allergy and Immunology (2015, 2015) and in the top journal of allergy research, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2013, 2013, 2014).
Additionally, she contributed to a review (Gastroenterology) and to an international patent. Up to now, Sandra Wieser’s research activity focused on the development of novel diagnostic tools for wheat-induced allergies. Based on the route of entry, wheat proteins can induce respiratory allergy and also wheat food allergy, which can lead to severe and life-threatening anaphylactic reactions in sensitized patients. As diagnosis of wheat allergy requires improvement, Sandra Wieser established serological tests based on purified recombinant wheat molecules to specifically identify patients suffering from wheat-induced diseases. By means of a discovery approach, Sandra Wieser screened a wheat seed cDNA library with allergic patients’ IgE antibodies and isolated several IgE-reactive cDNA clones. The analysis of the DNA sequences allowed her to identify hitherto unknown important wheat allergens, to express them as recombinant proteins, to purify and characterize them regarding biochemical, biophysical and immunological properties.
In particular, she could demonstrate that alpha purothionin and low molecular weight glutenin are important serological marker allergens to specifically diagnose wheat food allergy. Sandra Wieser then created a microarray-based component-resolved diagnostic test comprising a comprehensive set of wheat allergens which allows testing with extremely small serum samples towards a large panel of wheat allergens. The wheat allergen array represents a precise in-vitro diagnostic tool to specifically identify wheat allergic patients and to distinguish the various clinical manifestations of wheat allergies.
In the future, Sandra Wieser aims to develop new specific immunological treatment strategies for wheat-induced hypersensitivity disorders.
The prize was formally awarded at a specially organized Plenary Lecture Session on the 4th European Congress of Immunology held September 6 – 9, 2015 in Vienna: http://www.eci-vienna2015.org
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