Dr. Dr. Philipp Schommers, specialist and clinician scientist at the Clinic I for Internal Medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne and the Faculty of Medicine as well as associated with the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, has received funding from the renowned Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation (DFG). His research on "Characterization of HIV-1 antibody resistance in patients and its influence on viral fitness" will be funded with a total of approximately 2.3 million EUR over the next six years .
The Emmy Noether Program gives particularly qualified young scientists the opportunity to lead a junior research group on their own responsibility and thus qualify for a university professorship.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic has claimed more than 35 million victims since it first became known. Worldwide, about 700,000 of the 38 million people currently infected die each year. Despite effective therapies, it has not been possible to contain the pandemic. Hopes are therefore pinned on new antibodies against HIV, which are being intensively researched. In the future, these antibodies could be given to patients as therapy or prophylaxis. In addition, a new generation of HIV vaccines is currently being tested that are intended to elicit such antibodies.
The translational research Emmy Noether junior research group of Dr. Dr. Schommers is developing new methods to identify and predict resistance to antibodies in HIV-infected patients. The planned project is therefore of great importance for future therapies of HIV patients with broadly neutralizing antibodies. In addition, it can decisively help to improve future HIV vaccines designed to induce protective anti-HIV antibodies and to predict their efficacy. In addition to laboratory work, the scientist's group will also work to improve the clinical applicability of antibody therapies for infectious diseases such as HIV and COVID-19. "Antibodies have already revolutionized the therapy of cancer and autoimmune diseases. We are just noticing a similar revolution in the control and prevention of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. With the help of DFG funding under the Emmy Noether program, we hope to improve the applicability of antibodies against HIV as well," said Dr. Dr. Schommers.
About - Emmy Noether Program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)
The renowned Emmy Noether Program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), German Research Foundation) offers outstandingly qualified young scientists the opportunity to qualify for a university professorship by independently leading a junior research group over a period of six years (after successful interim evaluation after the third year). For a successful application, the researchers must be able to demonstrate excellent publications in addition to an outstanding doctorate, so that they are already internationally visible in their field. The funds are initially granted for three years and are in prospect for three additional years.
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