Young Investigator Awardees 2007
Christoph Steininger born 1973 in Steyr, Austria; MD, DTM&H, Specialist registrar in Internal Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of basic and clinical virology. His research on respiratory viruses and CMV focused on the potential leakage of viral genome from the periphery to the CNS in encephalitis patients. He further demonstrated the presence of CMV in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with the Guillain-Barré syndrome and showed that intragenic recombination of CMV may be common in patients with advanced HIV-infection, resulting in new CMV strains with altered biological properties.
Christoph Steininger’s research is focussed primarily on CMV infections in patients with severe disorders of the immune system, including solid-organ transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients. CMV may cause serious, life-threatening disease in these patients, but employs also multiple mechanisms to evade and modify the host’s innate and specific immunity. As a result, the susceptibility to other opportunistic infections is increased in patients with active CMV infection. Understanding the complex interaction between virus and host is essential for the effective prevention and management of CMV-related diseases. Christoph Steininger combines virological and immunological with clinical studies to further elucidate these interactions. The evaluation of interactions between virus and host is also the main topic of his studies of influenza virus infection. Oncovirology has become recently a complementary area of Christoph Steininger’s interest. In particular, he is determined to elucidate the role of viral infections, including CMV, in hematological malignancies.