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Research Group Dr. rer. nat. Hanna-Mari Baldauf

From innate immunity factors to a small animal model for HIV-1

Areas of investigation

HIV has become one of the most devastating pandemic in recorded history. Currently over 36.9 million people are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 and about 1.2 million died last year. No protective vaccine against HIV is in sight and currently available pharmacotherapies can only partly control, but not cure infection. The thus imperative development of alternative strategies against HIV is hampered by the lack of small animal models that are highly permissive to infection.

An immunocompetent, permissive small animal model would be valuable for the study of HIV-1 pathogenesis and for the testing of drug and vaccine candidates. An alternative approach to the widely used HIV xenotransplant models has been the identification and surmounting of species-specific barriers that HIV encounters along its replication cycle in cells from small animals. These species-specific barriers are either due to missing cellular co-factors, which HIV-1 hijacks at different steps of its life cycle for efficient replication, or due to the presence of restriction factors, which block HIV-1 replication at different steps.

In my laboratory we want to understand how innate immunity factors work in a species-specific context - identifying thereby signaling pathways, motifs responsible for their mode of action and how they are antagonized by the virus. Building on our work on innate immunity factors as well as our observation that rabbits as a species display fewer blocks to HIV-1 replication than mice or rats (Figure 1), we want to develop a fully permissive transgenic rabbit model for HIV infection.

Figure 1: Summary of the efficiency of steps in the HIV-1 replication in primary cells of human, rat, mouse and rabbit origin. Schematic representation of consecutive steps in the HIV-1 replication cycle and the ability of primary cells (T = T-cells; M = macrophages) from the respective species to support these steps (√ = efficient; x = inefficient or completely blocked). Yellow boxes indicate blocks in the rabbit species.


Awards and Fellowships

2014-2018            PhD Fellowship of the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal: Patrícia Pereira
2013                      Postdoctoral prize in Virology of the Robert Koch-Foundation: Hanna-Mari Baldauf
2012                      Travel scholarship of the Graduate Academy of the University of Heidelberg: Hanna-Mari Baldauf
2011-2012            Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg: Hanna-Mari Baldauf
2011                      Travel scholarship of the Graduate Academy of the University of Heidelberg: Hanna-Mari Baldauf
                               (née Tervo)
2010                      DAAD Short-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship: Hanna-Mari Baldauf (née Tervo)
2009                      “Early Stage Researcher” award from the German AIDS Society (DAIG): Hanna-Mari Baldauf
                              (née Tervo)


2019                     Münchener Universitätsgesellschaft
2018                     Else-Kröner-Fresenius Foundation
2018                     Wilhelm-Sander-Foundation
2017-2018           Friedrich-Baur-Foundation
2016-2017           LMUexcellent Junior Research Fund
2013-2015           University Hospital Frankfurt, research fund for junior researchers

Current Group Members

Hanna-Mari Baldauf, PhD
E-Mail: baldauf(at)mvp.uni-muenchen.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 78022

Fabian Kriesel, PhD student
E-Mail: kriesel(at)mvp.uni-muenchen.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 78123

Ramya Nair, PhD student
E-Mail: nair(at)mvp.uni-muenchen.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 78123

Augusto del Pozo Ben, technical assistant
E-Mail: delpozoben(at)mvp.uni-muenchen.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 78068

Former lab members

Madeleine roll (Master student, now: PhD student, LMU)

Patricia Pereira (PhD student, now: Postdoc, University of Dundee)

Job positions

Currently no funded positions available.


Follow this link to PubMed


Dr. Hanna-Mari Baldauf
Max von Pettenkofer Institute, Virology
National Reference Center for Retroviruses
Faculty of Medicine
LMU München
Feodor-Lynen-Str. 23
81377 Munich, Germany

Tel.: 089-2180-78022