Video portrait Hector Fellow Prof. Dr. Ralf Bartenschlager
Cellular Effect of Viruses — From Hepatitis C Virus Research to SARS-COV‑2
Understanding how viruses work and how to treat them is one of the major goals of Prof. Dr. Ralf Bartenschlager's research. He is Director of the Department of Molecular Virology at the Centre for Infectious Diseases at the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg and Head of the Division of Virus-Associated Carcinogenesis at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. For his research, he received the prestigious Robert Koch Award in 2015, the Lasker Award in 2016, and in 2017, he was awarded the Hector Science Award.
Together with his team, Prof. Bartenschlager investigates the replication strategies and immunobiology of medically important hepatitis viruses, flaviviruses (dengue virus and Zika virus) and SARS coronavirus‑2. He succeeded in developing cell culture models for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), with which the viral replication cycle could be reproduced in vitro for the first time. These models formed the basis for the development of antiviral drugs against HCV that eliminate the virus in more than 95% of those treated.
Due to the Corona pandemic, the team around Prof. Bartenschlager has adapted the research and put the main focus on SARS-COV2 research. The long-term goal of the research is to develop broad-spectrum viral medication and the associated treatment of viral diseases.
Yannick Stahl is doing his doctorate at Heidelberg University Hospital and is funded by the Hector Fellow Academy. Together with Ralf Bartenschlager, he is investigating the pathogenesis of the SARS-COV2 virus and novel host cell factors that promote virus replication.
Prof. Bartenschlager is member of the Hector Fellow Academy (HFA). The young science academy sees itself as an interdisciplinary network for cutting-edge research and it supports innovative research beyond the borders of institutes and fields of research. The Hector Fellow Academy paves the way for interdisciplinary projects between well renowned professors from the STEM fields as well as medicine and psychology. Furthermore, the HFA is committed to the promotion of young scientists. The academy offers funded doctoral positions for ambitious young scientists under supersvision of a Hector Fellow. Through the connection of excellent researchers from different fields of research, the Hector Fellow Academy provides new impulses for innovative projects, sociopolitical discourse and the solution of global challenges. At the same time, it strengthens Germany as a center for science. Since 2020, the HFA also awards the Hector Research Career Development Award. This prize is awarded to W1 assistant professors and junior research group leaders to support them on their way to a professorship.