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On the Path to a Professorship

Molecular medicine specialist Maike Hofmann is receiving a scholarship from the Wrangell Habilitation Programme

Freiburg, Jan 28, 2019

On the Path to a Professorship

Maike Hofmann. Photo: Klaus Polkowski

Freiburg molecular medicine specialist Dr. Maike Hofmann has won the support of the Margarete von Wrangell Habilitation Programme for Women. Over the next five years, the researcher will establish her own project and complete her post-doctoral lecturing qualification. In total, the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts is providing her with 360,000 euros. The program’s aim is to support young academics on the path to becoming a professor.

For her post-doctoral lecturing qualification project, Hofmann is researching how so-called killer cells of the human immune system control hepatitis viruses. These cells are a group of white blood cells that have cell-damaging characteristics. They have a key role in the control of infections with hepatitis viruses. With 300 million affected people, this form of hepatitis is a major global health problem. Chronic infections with hepatitis viruses can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Killer cells, which are also known as cytotoxic lymphocytes, play a key role in the immune response to hepatitis viruses and liver cancer. They adapt functionally to the virus infection, the cancer and the liver tissue. While this prevents liver damage, it leads to inefficient elimination of hepatitis viruses and liver cancer by the immune system. So it is hoped that a deeper understanding of the adaptation of the killer cells will contribute to new therapeutic approaches and diagnostic biomarkers for chronic hepatitis and liver cancer.

Dr. Maike Hofmann
Department of Medicine II
Freiburg University Medical Center
Tel.: +49 (0)761/270-35091