We want to elucidate differences in the innate immune system of variable vertebrate hosts. In particular, we are interested in the influence of the host-specific defence mechanisms on the capability of viruses to switch hosts.

We use cell culture models from multiple vertebrate species and reverse genetic systems for coronaviruses (MERS and SARS-Coronavirus) to characterize and compare functions of distinct viral proteins in different host settings.

Our long-term goal is to identify crucial virus- and host-related factors that influence virulence, pathogenicity and transmissibility of viruses. By establishing a reporter cell-based screening platform we want to enable a high-throughput in-vitro risk assessment of yet uncharacterized viruses.

Methods we perform in the lab: Generation of primary and immortalized cell cultures, generation of reporter cell lines by CRISPR/Cas9, luciferase promoter assays, variety of transcriptome/ proteome analyses (e.g. real-time PCR, Interferon bioassays, ELISA, Immunofluorescence assays, Immunoprecipitations, FACS, SDS-PAGE and Western blotting).




Group leader (Staff scientist)
Dr. Marcel A. Müller

PhD students
Dipl.-Biol. Daniel Ritz
MSc Jan Papies
MSc Andrea Sieberg

MD students
BSc Robert Wollny

MSc Schwiedhard Hoffstall
MSc Eva-Maria Klein

Dr. Daniela Niemeyer
Dr. Benjamin Meyer
Dr. Susanne Biesold
Dr. Tasnim Suliman
MSc Hanna Roth

Max Tschischka
Ute Winke

External collaborators
Prof. Friedemann Weber, University of Gießen
Prof. Georg Kochs, University of Freiburg
Prof. Alexander Pfeifer, University of Bonn
Prof. Volker Thiel, Dr. Ronald Dijkman, Bern, Switzerland
Prof. Stephan Becker, Dr. Verena Krähling, University of Marburg
Prof. Stefan Pöhlmann, Dr. Markus Hoffmann, DPZ, Göttingen
Prof. Georg Herrler, TIHO Hannover
Prof. Susan Baker, Loyola University, Chicago, USA