zu sehen ist das Logo der Arbeitsgruppe, ein Virus mit dem Schriftzug "MCI", daneben steht "Laboratory of Molecular and Clinical Infection Biology"
© AG Gerold


Research Interest

Research Group Molecular and Clinical Infection Biology

The research group "Molecular and Clinical Infection Biology" aims to understand the underlying biochemical principles of an infection of host cells by viruses. The core of our studies is to study the invasion and replication of viruses in host cells. With the help of high-resolution quantitative protein analysis, we investigate protein interactions during the virus life cycle. In recent years we have characterized protein interactions during infection with the chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) as well as with emerging insect-borne viruses. These studies were also expanded to include the new SARS-CoV-2. In the long term, the identification of host factors can be used to develop anti-infectives and help understand why viruses infect different tissues and hosts.

The new emergence of viruses poses a global challenge that is being accelerated by anthropogenic changes in ecosystems. For example, virus-transmitting mosquito species have been able to spread to Europe as a result of climate change. Using mosquito-borne viruses such as the chikungunya virus and newly emerging viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, we shed light on protein networks that are involved in virus infection. For this we use proteomic techniques. Our work aims to identify similarities and differences between so-called zoonotic viruses, i.e. viruses that are transmitted between animals and humans. This will provide new starting points for the development of antiviral drugs and the understanding of host and tissue tropism, which ultimately contributes to the risk assessment of transmission routes, disease processes and the pandemic potential of viruses.

Project Leader

In 2020 Gisa Gerold was appointed Professor of Biochemistry - with a focus on Molecular and Clinical Infectious Diseases - at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. As a member of the Institute for Biochemistry and the Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses (RIZ), her team investigates viruses that transmit from animals to humans and cause significant pathology. The focus is on mosquito-borne viruses of the alphavirus genus, arenaviruses that cause haemorrhagic fever and gastrointestinal viruses such as noroviruses. Methodically, the team around Gisa Gerold, who received her Diploma in Biochemistry at the Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen with a research stay at Montana State University, uses state-of-the-art proteomics approaches to discover new host factors of emerging viruses. These studies ultimately allow an assessment of host range, tissue tropism and potentially resulting pathology.

Gisa Gerold in addition holds a guest Associate Professor position at the Wallenberg Center for Molecular Medicine (WCMM) and the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Virology at the Umeå University, Sweden. There her team pursues collaborative projects on virus host interactions of human pathogenic arboviruses and adenoviruses. Gisa Gerold received international recognition through prizes and fellowships. For her three year postdoctoral work at the "Center of Hepatitis C" at Rockefeller University, New York, USA under the direction of Professor Charles M. Rice, she obtained independent scholarships from the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Human Frontiers Science Program Organization (HFSPO) and the German Liver Foundation. She was awarded the Robert Koch Prize for postdocs in virology in 2017. Her doctoral thesis achievements at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany under supervision of Professor Arturo Zychlinsky, were awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society.

Gisa Gerold is an advisory board member of the German Society for Virology (GfV) and organized GfV workshops and conferences including the “Cell Biology of Viral Infection” workshop and since 2021 the “One Health and Zoonotic Virus” workshop of the GfV. Since 2020 she heads an interdisciplinary and cross-institutional consortium of computer scientists, virologists and biochemists funded by the state of Lower Saxony. She is a member of the German Society for Virology, the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Robert Koch Society.

Zu sehen ist die Arbeitsgruppe unter der Leitung von Prof. Gisa Gerold
© AG Gerold