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Research Group PD 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 (Tervo and Keppler, J. Virol. 2010).

Based on our previous finding that SAMHD1, an innate immunity factor acting against HIV in resting CD4 T cells (Baldauf, Pan et al., Nat.Med. 2012; Baldauf et al., PNAS 2017), is also metabolizing cytarabine in AML cells (Schneider, Oellerich, Baldauf et al., Nat.Med. 2017; Figure 2), we are currently evolving strategies to manipulate SAMHD1 in leukemic cells in order increase the chemosensitivity of cytarabine.

Figure 2: High expression of SAMHD1 reduces the efficiency of cytarabine in AML cells by hydrolyzing Ara-CTP into its inactive form – based on Schneider, Oellerich, Baldauf et al., Nat.Med. 2017. (graphical abstract by Ramya Nair selected for the BioRender competition finals).

Awards and Fellowships

2021                      Mentee in the "Momente"-mentoring program of the LMU
2020                      2nd poster prize at Interact Munich 2020: Ramya Nair
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)


2021-2022          Wilhelm Sander-Foundation
2020-2023           DFG
2020-2021           LMUexcellent Investment Fund
2020-2021            DAAD PPP Programm
2019-2020           Verein zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Forschung an der Medizinischen Fakultät der LMU
                             München e. V.
2019                     Münchener Universitätsgesellschaft
2018-2021            Else-Kröner-Fresenius Foundation
2018-2020            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, PD
E-Mail: baldauf(at)mvp.uni-muenchen.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 78022

Adrian Fröhlich, Master student
E-Mail: Froehlich(at)mvp.lmu.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 78123

Pauliina Junttila, Master student
E-Mail: junttila(at)mvp.uni-muenchen.de
Phone: +49 89 2180 78123

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

Luca Schelle, PhD student
Phone +49 89 2180 78123
E-Mail: schelle@mvp.uni-muenchen.de

Former lab members

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

Patricia Pereira (PhD student, now: Technical Application Specialist, ThermoFisher Scientific)

Alejandro Salinas (Master student)

Putri Soedarsono (Bachelor student, now: quality control, preomics)

Lu Zhang (Master student)

Sagarika Gosh (intern)

Caroline Kliem (intern)

Margarita Shnipova (intern)

Job positions

Currently no funded positions available.


Follow this link to PubMed


PD Dr. rer. nat. 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

Twitter: @Baldauf_Lab