Competence Center for Molecular Biotechnology

The Competence Center “Molecular Biotechnology” combines the existing expertise in the fields of immunology and signal transduction for the analysis of allergies, inflammatory processes and other signaling pathways. Based on a fundamental understanding of allergies and signaling, proteomics and genomics-based methods, immunological methods, reporter assays, and fluorescence-based analyses are used.

Research Focus

Molecular biotechnology represents one of the most promising research and economic sectors of the 21st century, at the interface between chemistry, biology, genetics and microbiology. The two research groups of the Department Molecular Biotechnology at FH Campus Wien are concerned with the applied aspects of two interesting, highly topical areas of biotechnology:

The working group “Signaling Pathways”, headed by Thomas Czerny, focuses the research questions of analysis and application of pathways. The measurement of pathway activities is essential for many applications. The research group specializes in measuring these activities as sensitively as possible. Cell-based test systems with luciferase-based reporter assays play an important role in achieving this. With this technology, for example, it was possible to establish highly sensitive assays for the detection of sensitizing chemicals (type-4 allergens). Currently, assays are being developed to detect inflammatory contaminants in medical devices and food packaging materials.

The research group "Immunology", headed by Ines Swoboda, is engaged in the research of allergies and other inflammatory reactions. A goal of the working group is to better understand allergy causing molecules (from food, pollen and mold) to develop well-defined, recombinant allergens for a more specific diagnosis and a more effective treatment of allergies with fewer side effects. Another focus is researching the immunomodulatory processes that occur in respiratory epithelial cells when they come into contact with allergens. The knowledge gained will be the basis for developing new strategies for the targeted, specific treatment of allergies. Finally, the working group is also engaged in the research of inflammatory and allergic reactions that can be caused in the human body by medical products.

One focus of the Center of Competence, which brings together the expertise of the Department's two working groups, is the development of new concepts for evaluating the biocompatibility of materials and medical products. The basis for this work is provided by the FFG-funded COIN project “proTect”, in which both -research groups work together. In the medical field, more and more complex materials and medical products are used, which act on the organism, adversely affect the cells’ metabolism and can cause inflammatory reactions or allergic reactions that lead to material intolerances. To prevent this, it is important to test materials and medical products for their biocompatibility. The aim of this project is to develop in vitro test systems for assessing the biocompatibility of materials that will enable the replacement of animal experiments in the future. With the help of microscopic high-content screening, on the one hand classical toxicological parameters are evaluated. Furthermore, using established immunological methods and cell-based tests, materials are analyzed to determine if they can activate the innate or adaptive immune system and trigger inflammatory reactions or allergies. In addition, work is being done to develop a proteomics-based test system that detects the influence of substances on established cell lines by analyzing the protein expression profiles of cells using high-resolution mass spectrometry.

In addition, it is an important goal of the Competence Center to work out new project ideas, to acquire third-party funding and to start cooperations. In particular, their work focuses on the preliminary review of new project ideas in the research laboratories involving bachelor, master and PhD students.

Infrastructure

Research laboratories in the Marxbox at Campus Vienna Biocenter, Helmut-Qualtinger-Gasse 2, 1030 Vienna

Research Team

Researchers


Cooperations

National

  • Research Department - Lohmann and Rauscher, Vienna
  • Dr. Wolfgang Sommergruber – Boehringer Ingelheim, Vienna
  • DI Gabriele Ettenberger and Dr. Christian Kirchnawy OFI (Austrian Research Institute for Chemistry and Technology), Vienna
  • Dr. Christian Harwanegg - MacroArrayDiagnostics GmbH, Vienna
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Keller - Karl-Franzens-University Graz
  • Ass. Birgit Linhart and Ass. Margit Focke - Medical University of Vienna
  • Prof. Ebrahim Razzazi-Fazeli - Veterinary University Vienna
  • Univ. Dr. Doz. Wolfgang Hemmer - Floridsdorf Allergy Ambulatorium
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Franz - Hospital Rudolfstiftung
  • Univ. Dr. Doz. Monika Cartellieri - Kaiser Franz Josef Hospital with Gottfried von Preyer's Children's Hospital
  • Dr. Andreas Glowania - Hospital Hietzing
  • Prof. Dr. Katja Sterflinger - University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna
  • Prof. Dr. Veronika Somoza - University of Vienna
  • Dr. Markus Gorfer - AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology, Tulln

    International

    Dr. Annette Kühn - Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg

    Dr. Santiago Quirce - Hospital La Paz, Madrid, Spain

    Prof. Dr. Andrew Wardlaw - University of Leicester

    Dr. Catherine Pashley - University of Leicester

    Prof. Dr. Andreas Lopata - James Cook University Townsville, Australia

    Dr. Mariona Pascal Capdevila - Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, Spain

    Prof. Dr. Monika Raulf - Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany


      Study Courses

      Molecular Biotechnology

      Master, full-time

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      Molecular Biotechnology

      Bachelor, full-time

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